Campus Quiz

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Campus Quiz was a series of academic competitions held in theaters in and around Philadelphia from 1946 to 1947 that featured teams of students from two local high schools competing against each other to answer questions. It was preceded by the Philadelphia Daily News' "Quiz School of the Air" which aired in 1941, but which featured students competing individually rather than as interscholastic teams.



According to a script acquired from the University of Oregon archives by College Bowl Valhalla, the matches featured three rounds. The first two rounds consisted of asking each team a set of directed questions, with points available in some cases for answering at least a certain number right and in other cases needing to get them all right to get points.

The final round, dubbed the "Mental Alertness Round," featured the first use of speedcheck questions available to both teams. There was no buzzer system in use at the time, so participants seem to have had to shout out their answers before the other team.


Teams from a variety of schools in and around Philadelphia appear to have taken part, although there did not appear to be a formal playoff structure so most teams seem to have only played once. Cheltenham, Abington, Media, Central, Ridley, West Philly Catholic (both the old Boys and Girls schools), Lower Merion, and Upper Darby as well as a number of no-longer-existent schools are listed as participating.


One of the greatest areas of appeal of the show, according to some printed material about it in the Billboard magazine, was the prizes offered. All participants in one match received large, "well-pedigreed" Christmas turkeys, a selection of records, and dairy products from Supplee Sealtest, including supplies of ice cream, butter, and cream. Other prizes mentioned include puppies, airplane tickets, trips, and box seats at theater productions. The winning team seems to have generally received a Wurlitzer jukebox loaded with popular music while the losing team received a phonograph.



While seemingly successful, no records exist past 1947 of this program continuing. This did, however, seem to inspire Delaware County to debut their Delco Hi-Q program in 1948. Philadelphia itself would not have another quiz-style academic competition until It's Academic appeared in the 1960s on TV.


First mention of the Quiz School of the Air in 1941 (p. 22)

Original Ad for 1st episode of Campus Quiz in a Delaware County newspaper