Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quiz Kid loses his final match

Sad news today for Bay Area game show fanatics.

Daniel Barclay, a young man who dazzled viewers of the local cable program Quiz Kids a few years back, was found dead on a Cape Cod beach last Friday, the apparent victim of a rafting accident.

Quiz Kids, which airs on San Francisco's KRON-4 on Saturday afternoons, pits teams of high school brainiacs against one another in the format of the venerable G.E. College Bowl program. Although I usually hold my own as a home viewer — clinging desperately to my rapidly fading Jeopardy! cred — some of these Quiz Kids are scary smart.

Daniel Barclay may have been one of the brightest youngsters ever featured on the show. Certainly, he was among the most memorable.

During the years when Daniel led the Menlo-Atherton High squad, his team was unbeatable. Menlo-Atherton won the Quiz Kids championship four years running, besting a field of 40-plus rival schools. More often than not, Daniel came on like a one-man encyclopedic wrecking crew, pouncing on question after question with catlike precision and Rutteresque knowledge. As Quiz Kids master of ceremonies Brad Friedman — "the best host on the West Coast," as he is introduced each week — told the San Francisco Chronicle:
He knew when I started a question exactly where I was going before I had the words out. It was eerie. Other kids have come to do that since, but no one has come close to doing it as well as he did.
Few things in life are more tragic than the loss of a young life that held so much promise for a brilliant future. As a father — and as a fan — my heart breaks for the Barclay family.

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