Quiz Kids, a popular radio-TV series of the 1940s and 1950s, was created by Chicago public relations and advertising man Louis G. Cowan. Originally sponsored by Alka-Seltzer, the series was first broadcast on NBC from Chicago, June 28, 1940, airing as a summer replacement show for Alec Templeton Time. It continued on radio for the next 13 years. On television, the show was seen on NBC and CBS from July 6, 1949, to September 27, 1956.
The premise involved host Joe Kelly asking questions sent in by listeners and researched by Eliza Hickok. The answers were supplied by a panel of five children, chosen for their high IQs. The first Quiz Kid was six-year-old nature expert Gerard Darrow. For the initial premiere panel he was joined by Mary Ann Anderson, Joan Bishop, Cynthia Cline, Van Dyke Tiers and Charles Schwartz.
Other Quiz Kids of the 1940s were Joan Alizier, Claude Brenner, Geraldine Hamburg, Mary Clare McHugh, war refugee Gunther Hollander and math experts Joel Kupperman and Richard Williams. Panelists rotated throughout the 1940s, but they were no longer eligible to participate once they reached the age of 16. One of the notable Quiz Kids is the Nobel Prize-winning biologist James D. Watson. Others include actor and dialect coach Bob Easton, legendary Hollywood acting coach Roy London, producer Harve Bennett and actress Vanessa Brown.