Charles Van Doren vs. the 1994 Quiz Show Dream Team

In 1956-57, TV game-show audiences were riveted to their sets during Charles Van Doren's 14-week reign on NBC's Twenty-One. The bookish champ became an unlikely national hero -- until it was revealed that he had been fed answers to the show's often obscure questions, a scandal dramatized in the new film Quiz Show. Could today's intellectuals handle actual questions asked of Van Doren? Without cheating? Time put these five to the test:

1. Identify the main Balearic Islands.

-- Vos Savant: "Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza." ((correct))

-- Ambrose: "These were the islands surrounding Atlantis?" ((wrong))

-- Hirsch: "Don't know."

-- Rice...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!