Just a couple more examples of Hollywood rewriting history, both in movies
I thought were entertaining.
Quiz Show - the story of the game show scandal which revealed the games
were rigged to keep popular contestants winning for the sake of ratings.
The story was true. The presentation of it was not. The key figures were
Charles Van Doren, a Columbia professor who made a record run on the game
show Twenty-One and Dick Goodwin, a Harvard lawyer working for a
Congressional committee investigating the game shows. The movie depicts
Goodwin getting involved in the case and becoming acquainted with Van
Doren. In reality Goodwin was still in law school when Van Doren had his
run on Twenty-One. The scandal didn't break until two years later when
Goodwin was fresh out of Harvard Law having graduated first in his
Goodwin went on to become a speech writer and adviser to both JFK and RFK.
His first wife who was portrayed in the film died in 1970 and he married
Delores Kearns-Goodwin who is a frequent TV guest political commentator as
well as in several Ken Burns documentary series, Baseball and The
Roosevelts. Dick Goodwin died within the past few years.
Secretariat - the story of what many believe was the greatest racehorse of
all time. The story line gave the impression that Secretariat saved the
financially troubled horse farm which Penny Chenery took over from her
ailing father by winning the Triple Crown. The reality is the horse that
saved the Chenery farm was Riva Ridge who the year before won two legs of
the Triple Crown. Secretariat's Triple Crown win no doubt was a financial
boon but Riva Ridge had already put the farm on firm financial footing.
To satisfy a tax lien against the farm, she syndicated the breeding rights
to both Secretariat and Riva Ridge for $6 million and $5 million
respectively. Riva Ridge wasn't even mentioned in the movie. Several years
after the movie came out, Chenery admitted to having an affair with
trainer Lucien Lauren who was played by John Malkovich in the movie. It
was a Disney movie. They couldn't have put that in anyway.