Whatever Happened to the Quiz Kids?

Perils and Profits of Growing Up Gifted

Non-Fiction - Memoir
413 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite

Whatever Happened to the Quiz Kids? by Ruth Duskin Feldman traces the path followed by the famous Quiz Kids, the protagonists of the popular radio program of the 1940s, the ones who always answered the impossible. A Quiz Kid herself, this book chronicles how she makes her mark at school and home, and the attempts to bring her to the notice of the quiz management team. How she applies to the Quiz Kids program and becomes an instant hit at seven years of age, writes a book introducing concepts of chemistry to children by the age of twelve, and the controversies always surrounding fame are beautifully presented here. Of course, there are also occasions when she gets caught with her foot in her mouth. Once the hostess catches her staring into space and asks, “A penny for your thoughts?” “Oh,” she replies, “I’m just playing a thinking game that I play when I’m bored.”

The author continues with Gerard Darrow, the youngest of the original Quiz Kids, who had spent a good portion of his final years on welfare; Joan Bishop, “Chicago’s Versatile Child Prodigy”; Claude Brenner who was an intriguingly complex personality; Jack Lucal, who became a Jesuit priest; Margaret Merrick, the kid on crutches; Richard Williams, Joel Kupperman, Lonny Lunde, Patrick Conlon, Naomi Cooks, Harvey Dytch, and many others.

Whatever Happened to the Quiz Kids? by Ruth Feldman is written to show more of the human souls safely hiding behind the intellectual image of the Quiz Kids. This book also paints an honest picture of the trials and tribulations in each one's life. It is written dispassionately, but with sympathy, and reading this book leaves one with a lot to cherish.


The book is written dispassionately but with sympathy. Human souls were safely hiding behind the Quiz Kids intellectuals image.