Quiz Kids (1949-1956)

Quiz Kids was a radio show that lasted an amazingly long time when you consider that people really don’t like to listen to smart children. But that’s what it was all about: A quiz program with a panel of very bright kids who often seemed more intelligent than most of the adult viewership.

The radio version debuted in 1940, broadcast from Chicago, and continued until 1953. The TV version started in 1949 and lasted until 1956. Both versions were on and off the air multiple times and even changed networks at least once, and the host was changed several times. It was often used as a replacement show, either as a summer replacement or as a quick substitute for something that had to be cancelled in a hurry.

The kids, of course, changed from season to season. The original rules gave sixteen as the maximum age but at times, the producers would decide that younger contestants were more interesting and they’d “retire” a player well before his or her birthday.

The above ticket is from 1956, near the end of the show’s TV run. By this point, it was on Thursday evenings at 10:30 PM, requiring the kids to stay up pretty late. The host then was Clifton Fadiman, a literary figure who gained great prominence in the forties for hosting or occasionally appearing on the panels of game shows. His biggest hit on radio, which he emceed, was Information Please, one of those quiz programs where you really had to know something in order to win. On TV, he hosted many shows but the most popular was This is Show Business.

Quiz Kids was revived several times after, including a 1978 version hosted by Jim McKrell, a 1981 version hosted by Norman Lear and a 1990 version hosted by Jonathan Prince.