It often comes as a surprise to most to find out that William Jennings Bryan actually won the case for the prosecution. "Twenty-first century Americans, many of them, are astounded to learn that Bryan prevailed in Tennessee and that John Scopes was convicted despite the fact that he almost certainly never taught evolution. Mistaken assumptions and oversimplifications concerning the Scopes trial...abound..."  The fact that many faulty beliefs exist about the outcome of the trial is a testimony to how it has been misrepresented and corrupted by historical accounts. In fact, even the reporting at the time of the trial made the event out to be much more than a simple court case. It was as if everyone instinctively knew that the outcome of this trial would be a turning point for American culture as a whole.
It would be difficult to overestimate the impact of "the Monkey Trial" at Dayton, Tennessee, in transforming fundamentalism. William Jennings Bryan's ill-fated attempt in the summer of 1925 to slay singlehanded the prophets of Baal brought instead an outpouring of derision. The rural setting, so well suited to the stereotypes of the agrarian leader and his religion, stamped the entire movement with an indelible image. Very quickly, the conspicuous reality of the movement seemed to conform to the image thus imprinted and the strength of the movement in the centers of national life waned precipitously... The scene at Dayton in 1925 was unsurpassable as a confirmation of this interpretation. Here were the elements of a great American drama—farce, comedy, tragedy, and pathos. Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken in collaboration could hardly have scripted it better. This bizarre episode, wired around the world with a maximum of ballyhoo, would have far more impact on the popular interpretation of fundamentalism than all the arguments of preachers and theologians. 
"Bizarre" is about the best word that one can think of to describe the whole affair. Bryan won the case, but lost in the court of public opinion. As the representative head for fundamentalist Christianity, Bryan confirmed that the media's caricature of the Christian as an ignorant traditionalist was not too far off. When Bryan took the stand as a Bible expert, yet couldn't answer Clarence Darrow's most basic questions, the jig was up. The end of the Scopes Trial marked the beginning of the fundamentalist movement being driven out of the public square. Bible-believing Christians became an endangered species and took what was left of their dignity and hid in their church buildings for the next 50 years.
Just about the time that it seemed that the public had forgotten about Scopes, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee reinvigorated public fascination with the trial with their play, Inherit the Wind. This play—and more importantly, the 1960 screenplay starring Spencer Tracy and Fredric March—has done more than anything actually stated by either Bryan or Darrow to cement the anti-fundamentalist perspective of the trial into the world's collective memory. While the authors of the play never claimed to be giving an accurate representation of the trial—they changed the names of the characters and the town and, in reality, were writing against the McCarthyism of the 1950s—their portrayal of the event has come to be regarded as historical fact nonetheless. Inherit the Wind may very well be one of the best examples of life imitating art.
Not content to allow this public misunderstanding of the Scopes Trial to continue unchallenged, Dr. David Menton decided to compare the historical events of the trial with the dramatized events of the film (the most popular adaptation of the play by far). The results of his tireless research are contained in the DVD, Inherently Wind: A Hollywood History of the Scopes Trial. This 75-minute lecture is a fascinating study of the Scopes Trial and the foundational events that brought it to life. Dr. Menton intersperses numerous clips of the film into his discussion and then gives the historical reality. Using photos, drawings, newspaper accounts, and audio recordings, Dr. Menton gives a clear explanation of the historical event by comparing and contrasting it with the Hollywood account. Viewers will come away from this DVD educated and informed, not only about the Scopes Trial, but about the subversive techniques practiced by Hollywood, the media, and agenda-driven historians.
In an age that is as saturated by visual media as our current one, I can think of no better way to spend 75 minutes than by watching Inherently Wind. It is a crash course in critical thinking and media analysis. Dr. Menton effortlessly weaves theology, history, and science into his talk, showing how important and necessary it is to have a biblical worldview. Kids (10 and up) will be especially helped by this lecture and I can assure you that Dr. Menton is captivating enough to hold even their attention. Parents and grandparents will also be interested to learn just how much they have been wrong about regarding the reality of the Scopes Trial. Because the trial has been such a pivotal moment in the last 100 years of history, it is of the utmost importance that we rightly understand the event. It is also important that we learn the lessons of the trial so that we, and our children, are less prone to repeat the same mistakes. History can be either a pattern or a lesson. Will we learn from history, or will we repeat it?
 Marvin Olasky and John Perry, Monkey Business: The True Story of the Scopes Trial (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2005), 2.
 George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture, Second Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 184-185.