Allen Funt

Allen Albert Funt (September 16, 1914 – September 5, 1999) was an American television producer, director, writer and television personality best known as the creator and host of Candid Camera from the 1940s to 1980s, as either a regular television show or a television series of specials. Its most notable run was from 1960 to 1967 on CBS.

Allen Funt
Allen Funt 1972
Funt in 1972
Allen Albert Funt

September 16, 1914
DiedSeptember 5, 1999 (aged 84)
OccupationProducer, director, writer
Years active1948–1990
Spouse(s)Evelyn Michal (m. 1946–64)
Marilyn Laron (m. 1964–78)
ChildrenPeter, Patricia, John, Juliet, William

Early life and education

Funt was born into a Jewish family in New York City, New York. His father Isidore Funt was a diamond wholesaler,[1] and his mother was Paula Saferstein Funt.

Allen graduated from high school at age 15.[1] Too young to attend college on his own,[2] he studied at Pratt Institute (also located in Brooklyn).[3] He later earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Cornell University, studied business administration at Columbia University, then returned to Pratt for additional art instruction.[3][2]


Radio and television

Trained in commercial art, Funt worked for an advertising agency in their art department, but he eventually moved to its radio department.[1] Among his first jobs for radio, he wrote for Truth or Consequences and assisted US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt with her radio commentaries.[1]

Drafted into the military during World War II and stationed in Oklahoma,[1] Funt served in the Army Signal Corps, eventually making radio shows.[4][2] He began the show on ABC Radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947, and it ran until September 23, 1948. The program was revived on CBS June 6 – August 29, 1950.[5] He soon experimented with a visual version by doing a series of theatrical short films also known as Candid Microphone. These film shorts served as a springboard for his entrance into television on August 10, 1948. The show ran on all three major TV networks and in syndication while hosted by Allen Funt until he was sidelined by a stroke in 1993.[1][6] The syndicated version of Candid Camera was broadcast from 1974 to 1979; his co-hosts included, at various times, John Bartholomew Tucker, Phyllis George and Jo Ann Pflug.


Funt wrote several books, beginning with Eavesdropper at Large: Adventures in Human Nature with "Candid Mike" (Vanguard Press, 1952). He followed Candid Kids (Bernard Geis, 1964) with Candidly, Allen Funt: A Million Smiles Later (Barricade Books, 1994).


During the 1970s, Funt made two documentary films based on the hidden camera theme: the X-rated What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? (1970) and Money Talks (1972).[1] In the 1980s, Funt produced a series of adult-oriented videos called Candid Candid Camera.

Other pursuits

Funt donated his recordings and films to his alma mater Cornell University and established a fellowship at Syracuse University for postgraduate studies in radio and television[1] "aimed at providing the broadcast industry with qualified black personnel."[2]

He established a foundation which used laughter therapy for seriously ill patients by providing videocassettes of his recordings.[1][2] He also taught psychology at Monterey Peninsula College.[1]

Personal life

In 1946, Funt married Evelyn Michal (1920–2014) with whom he had three children, Peter,[6] Patricia and John. In 1964 the couple was divorced and the same year Funt married Marilyn Laron, whom he divorced in 1978. The couple had two children, Juliet and William. Funt had seven grandchildren.

On February 3, 1969, Funt, his wife, and his two youngest children boarded Eastern Airlines Flight 7 in Newark, New Jersey with a destination of Miami, Florida. While en route, two men hijacked the plane and demanded passage to Cuba. However, some of the passengers, having spotted Funt, believed the whole thing to be a Candid Camera stunt.[7] Funt repeatedly attempted to persuade his fellow passengers as to the reality of the hijacking, but to no avail. The plane later landed in Cuba, finally convincing the passengers.[4]

He amassed a collection of works by the Victorian painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema and engineered an exhibition of them at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art (bypassing the wishes of then director Thomas Hoving). The collection's value skyrocketed as a result, and Funt sold them at a handsome profit.

Funt resided in Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York. His estate, White Gates, was sold to opera singer Jessye Norman in the early 1990s. Funt later purchased a 1,226 acre ranch located 12 mi (19 km) south of Carmel near Big Sur, California,[6] "where he raised Hereford cattle and quarter horses"[3] Funt owned the property for over 30 years and later purchased the nearby 11-acre Bixby Ranch where he resided.[6] Both ranches were eventually bought by The Trust for Public Land which expected to turn the land over to the US Forest Service.[6]

After a stroke in 1993,[6] he became incapacitated and died in 1999 in Pebble Beach, California,[1] 11 days before his 85th birthday. Candid Camera continued with his son, Peter Funt, as host.

Further reading

  • Alma-Tadema (Catalogue of the Funt Collection) compiled by Russell Ash, Sotheby's Belgravia, 1973


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Vallance, Tom (September 8, 1999). "Obituary: Allen Funt". The Independent. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Allen Funt 1914–1999". Archived from the original on July 2, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "Candid Microphone". Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Smile My Ass". WNYC. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  5. ^ Dunning, John (1998). Allen Funt. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. pp. 135–136. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  6. ^ a b c d e f McCabe, Michael (March 25, 2001). "Land Trust Saves Big Sur Ranch / Developer pockets $24 million after one-year ownership". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "You're NOT on 'Candid Camera': Allen Funt was on hijacked flight, passengers took it for a prank".

External links

Alan Hunt

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Alan Hunt (English cricketer) (born 1968), English cricketer

Alan Hunt (New Zealand cricketer) (born 1959), New Zealand cricketer

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Alan Hunt (diplomat) (born 1941), former British diplomat

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Bill Funt

Bill Funt, a producer and actor, is the son of acclaimed Candid Camera creator Allen Funt and brother of Peter Funt.

Candid Camera

Candid Camera was a popular and long running American hidden camera reality television series. Versions of the show appeared on television from 1948 until 2014. Originally created and produced by Allen Funt, it often featured practical jokes, and initially began on radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947.

After a series of theatrical film shorts, also titled Candid Microphone, Funt's concept came to television on August 10, 1948, and continued into the 1970s. Aside from occasional specials in the 1980s and 1990s, the show was off air until making a comeback on CBS in 1996, before moving to PAX in 2001. This incarnation of the weekly series ended on May 5, 2004, concurrent with the selling of the PAX network itself. Beginning on August 11, 2014, the show returned in a new series with hour-long episodes on TV Land, but this incarnation only lasted a single season.

The format has been revived numerous times, appearing on U.S. TV networks and in syndication (first-run) in each succeeding decade, as either a regular show or a series of specials. Funt, who died in 1999, hosted or co-hosted all versions of the show until he became too ill to continue. His son Peter Funt, who had co-hosted the specials with his father since 1987, became the producer and host. A United Kingdom version of the format aired from 1960-1976.

Durward Kirby

Homer Durward Kirby (August 24, 1911 – March 15, 2000), sometimes misspelled Durwood Kirby, was an American television host and announcer. He is best remembered for The Garry Moore Show in the 1950s and Candid Camera, which he co-hosted with Allen Funt from 1961 through 1966.

Elaine Laron

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Funt may refer to:

Funt (mass), an obsolete Russian unit equivalent to a pound

Allen Funt (1914–1999), American producer-director and creator of Candid Camera

Peter Funt, son of Allen Funt, current host of Candid Camera

Sitz-Chairman Funt, a fictional character from the novel The Little Golden Calf

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JLTV's programming includes news, sports, lifestyle and entertainment programming such as films, documentaries, music, reviews, interviews and special events, such as programming from the Maccabiah Games. The network also carries a collection of classic general-interest television series with Jewish hosts or lead actors, including episodes of The Jack Benny Program, That Show with Joan Rivers, Candid Camera with Allen Funt, You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx, The Soupy Sales Show, Bonanza (Lorne Greene and Michael Landon), and the mid-20th century dramedy The Goldbergs. Since late 2018, the channel's programming has increasingly relied on repeat airings and shows in the public domain in the United States, regardless of the ethnicity of the host or stars (for example, the public domain episodes of The Lucy Show, a show with no known Jewish stars, was added at the beginning of 2019); The Danny Kaye Show, a daily staple of the channel's program lineup, was dropped after 18 months at the end of 2018.

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Jo Ann Pflug

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Money Talks (1972 film)

Money Talks is a 1972 American documentary film directed by Allen Funt. The film was released on August 30, 1972, by United Artists.

Peter Funt

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Vic Cianca

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What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?

What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? is a 1970 American hidden-camera style reality film, directed by Candid Camera creator Allen Funt. In the film, Funt secretly records people's reactions to unexpected encounters with nudity or sexuality in unusual situations. This was the first of two Candid Camera–style theatrical films to be produced and directed by Funt, the other being Money Talks (1972).

While the film does contain some titillating material and both male and female full frontal nudity, a large amount of the film involves Funt talking to people about sexuality and sexual topics. Whereas Funt's other productions had to fall within Federal Communications Commission guidelines prohibiting nudity and sexual content on the airwaves, this film was outside the FCC's jurisdiction and Funt was free to incorporate them into the film.

In the U.S., the film was originally rated X by the Motion Picture Association of America; an edited version was rated R in 1982. When submitted to the British Board of Film Classification in 1970, the film was originally rejected, then rated X; a 1988 video release was rated 18.

The film was released on VHS in the 1980s, with a DVD released on December 6, 2011.

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