The Pulitzer Prize Playhouse

The Ponzi Story

Season 1, Ep 10, Aired 12/8/50
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  • Episode Description
  • Schemer and con man Carlo Ponzi started his own company, the Securities Exchange Company, to promote his scheme he canvassed friends and associates, offering them big payoffs for their cash.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Coleen Gray

  • Quentin Reynolds

  • Blanche Yurka

  • Jonathan Harris

  • Will Kuluva

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Notes (2)

    • The "Ponzi scheme" bilks thousands of Bostonians out of their savings. Italian-born "financial wizard" Charles Ponzi, 38, offers a 50-percent return on investment in 45 days, 100 percent in 90 days, and by late July his Securities and Exchange Co. at 27 School Street is taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars per day. Ponzi says he has found that a 1¢ reply coupon issued in Spain as a convenience by international postal agreement is exchangeable at any U.S. post office for a 6¢ stamp and that he has agents buying up millions of coupons throughout Europe and is making a 5¢ profit on each.

    • The Boston Post received the 1921 Pulizter Prize for their Public Service account and exposure of the operations of Charles Ponzi by a series of articles which finally led to his arrest.

    Trivia (3)

    • Boston's first gold medal went to the old Boston Post in 1921, for exposing the first Ponzi scheme, perpetrated by one Charles Ponzi. One of five Public Service winners tackled a major human rights issue. Three winning papers have focused on the Ku Klux Klan, for example: the old New York World in 1922, the Columbus Enquirer Sun in Georgia in 1926, and jointly in 1953, the Whiteville News Reporter and Tabor City Tribune, North Carolina weeklies.

    • The Boston Globe won its 17th Pulitzer Prize and became one of only a half-dozen active newspapers to have earned three or more Public Service awards over the 86-year history of the prizes.

    • The Boston Post risked not only its reputation but its very existence in a campaign to expose Carlo Ponzi, a man who continued to be adulated even after his armor began to crack. The Boston Post won a 1921 Pulitzer Prize for its work.

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