Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 25 21:47:33 UTC 2007

I don't recall The Whiz Kids" as a game show. Wasn't it more like a
"Look-how smart-these-children-are!-Ask-them-any-question-and-they-can-answer-it!-Aren't-they-amazing?!-They-can't-be-stumped!"
kind of show that went back to radio days? The TV main Kid, Joel
Kupperman (or "Kupferman" or something similar? Back in those days, I
wasn't hip to, uh, I didn't know from Jewish names; I didn't even know
that the legendary Arnold Stang was Jewish.) looked like a buddy of
mine who was physically white but racially black.


On 9/25/07, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Whiz
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 2:25 PM -0400 9/25/07, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
> >On 9/25/07, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >>  Google Books seems to show "take a whiz" from 1925--Benjamin De Casseres,
> >>  _Mirrors of New York_:  "There was a cellar, however, three blocks
> >>up the avenue
> >>  where a gentleman could take a whiz at the wheel. No, we couldn't
> >>do anything
> >>  with the wheel today."  Although it's attractive to envision a
> >>small waterwheel
> >>  installed inside a urinal for the recreation of well hydrated
> >>whizzers, I assume the
> >>  reference is to some other activity.
> >
> >Presumably along the lines of "take a whirl/whack/crack/stab at".
> >
> And by the late 40s and early 50s, when "the whiz kids" was a
> standard locution not only for the group that came to Ford after WWII
> (including Robert F. Macnamara, for the term eventually turned
> ironic) but for other groups of wunderkinder, including the
> pennant-winning 1950 Phillies or TV game show contestants, I don't
> think there was any snickering about any possible micturitional
> double meaning.
> LH
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