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Candid Camera

By Wikipedia

Candid Camera is a long-running television series, created and produced by Allen Funt, which initially appeared on radio as Candid Microphone in the 1940s, then screened in the United States in the 1950s,with local versions produced around the world.

The show involved scenarios in which unwitting members of the public would be placed in a situation where unusual things began happening (caused by actors hired by the producers as well as various props, some ingenious). The victim of the prank's reactions would be filmed by a concealed camera, and at some stage the joke is finally revealed to them.

Writer Woody Allen got his start writing for the show in the 1960s and performed in some scenarios; so did Buster Keaton and Muhammad Ali.

The show was very much a precursor to the late 1990s explosion of so-called reality television, in that its humor was based around putting "real people" in unreal situations. In the sixties and seventies Candid Camera produced over ten tapes of adult-oriented (but not pornographic) stunts and hidden camera gags called Candid Candid Camera. (For example, a man is hired as a hypnotist's assistant and then a beautiful new lady patient disrobes while hypnotized.)

The show often played its hidden camera pranks on celebrities as well. One memorable episode had actress Ann Jillian (who is Lebanese) scheduled to make a small donation to a Lebanese charity. Just beforeshe is confronted by police officers who inform her that the man running this charity is in fact a well known swindler and con artist. They convince her to donate a MUCH larger amount with the assurance that as soon as he accepts the check they will come in and arrest him. However, when she does so, the cops are nowhere to be found and she is forced into acting like she had intended to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars all along. Another popular stunt is to appear to eat a goldfish in a public crowd. The "goldfish" would actually be a slice of carrot.

Innumerable other such shows by different titles and with slightly different variations have been produced. Some, such as MTV's Ashton Kutcher vehicle Punk'd, have concentrated on playing pranks on celebrities, others have concentrated on the inventiveness of the pranks, while others have steadily become crueler to their "victims"—for instance, a British variant, Beadle's About.

Candid Camera is currently running on the PAX Network and is hosted by Allen Funt's son, Peter Funt and Dina Eastwood, Clint Eastwood's wife.

 

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TV TIDBITS

Aired: August 10, 1948 - September 1950; 1953; 1960-1967; 1989-1990

Cast: Allen Funt, Arthur Godfrey, Durward Kirby, Bess Myerson, Peter Funt

Network: ABC/NBC/CBS

Genre: Humor

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS


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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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