Scoping Out the Scopes Trial at 81


On the 81st anniversary of the start of the Scopes Trial, American Heritage is running 20 questions on the trial of the century (in a century full of them). A snippet:

Q. So what you're saying is that Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's 1955 play based on the Scopes trial (which was made into a film in 1960), in which a defeated character based on Bryan breaks down and cries on the witness stand, is alternative history?

A. Exactly. The only difference is that if someone writes a play in which the South wins the Civil War, everyone knows it's fiction. With Inherit the Wind, all too many people seem to think it's fact.

Whole bit here.

Indeed, prior to Inherit the Wind, a middlebrow snoozefest to the gills, it was far from clear that the pro-evolution forces had won anything (and of course, Scopes hisself was found guility and fined $100). Last year, Chris Lehmann reviewed Marvin Olasky and John Perry's anti-evolution Monkey Business: The True Story of the Scopes Trial for Reason and wrote in part:

Fear of religion-based persecution spurred most school districts and textbooks to censor any mention of evolution until the 1957 launch of Sputnik jump-started public school science curricula into the 20th century. One biology textbook replaced a frontispiece portrait of Darwin with a diagram of the digestive tract, and Scopes himself was abruptly denied a University of Chicago graduate fellowship in geology. A note from the college president read: "Your name has been removed from consideration for the fellowship. As far as I'm concerned, you can take your atheistic marbles and play elsewhere."

Whole review here.

Questions for fans of the execrable movie version of Inherit the Wind: When it's Frederic March vs. Spencer Tracy in a courtroom, where exactly is the rooting interest?

And who is more highly evolved: Dick York (who played the Scopes character and was the original Derwood on Bewitched) or Dick Sargent (Dum-Dum No. 2 on Bewitched)?