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.
|Created by||Allen Funt|
|Developed by||Allen Funt|
|Narrated by||Durward Kirby (1960–66) |
Bess Myerson (1966–67)
|Theme music composer||Frank Grant|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||38|
|No. of episodes||1,000+|
|Executive producer(s)||Allen Funt (1948–92) |
Bob Banner (1960-67)
Peter Funt (1996-2004; 2014)
Ben Silverman (2014)
|Production location(s)||Various on-location|
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Allen Funt Productions |
(1953; 1960–67; 1974-79; 1983; 1987-88; 1991-1992)
Bob Banner Associates
Vin Di Bona Productions
King World Productions
Candid Camera, Inc.
TV Land Original Production
Allen Funt Productions
Firestone Film Syndication
King World Productions
|Original network||ABC (1948–49)|
TV Land (2014)
|Picture format||480i SDTV (1953-2004) |
1080i HDTV (2014)
|Original release||Original version: 1948–54|
1960 version: 1960–67
The New Candid Camera: 1974–79
The Candid Camera Show: 1987–88
The All-New Candid Camera: 1991–92
1996 version: 1996–2004
TV Land version: 2014
|Preceded by||Candid Microphone|
The show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show's catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera."
The show often played its hidden-camera pranks on celebrities as well: one episode had actress Ann Jillian scheduled to make a small donation to a Lithuanian charity. When police officers informed her a con artist was behind the charity, they convinced her to donate a much larger amount with the assurance that he would be arrested when he accepted the check. After the arrest attempt, Jillian was told the man was running a legitimate charity, a set-up that forced her into acting as though she had intended to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars all along.
In another episode, the show filmed the reactions of citizens after they saw the former President Harry S. Truman walking down the street. After being advised that the former president and his Secret Service entourage would be taking a walk in downtown Manhattan, the program tracked them with a hidden camera in a van. A young woman who was a champion runner was planted at a street corner they would pass, and she was asking directions from a passerby when she saw Truman and shouted hello. In a stunt suggestive of the classic radio play The Hitchhiker, she then ran around the block so she could be ahead of Truman and was at the next corner where she again said hello to him as he approached. After this was done several times, she asked President Truman if something seemed familiar. The former president replied he expected she had something to do with the van that had been following him, and pointed straight into the camera with his walking stick without turning to look.
Some of Funt's pieces did not involve pranks but consisted simply of interviews with ordinary people. There were bizarre sequences in which people, sometimes children, gave one-of-a-kind interpretations of works of art. A little girl once told Funt that The Discus Thrower by Praxiteles showed a man throwing his little girl's allowance to her while she stood in the back yard.
Beginning June 6, 1950, The Candid Microphone was broadcast by CBS on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., sponsored by Philip Morris, which continued for three months until August 29. The announcer for the radio program was Dorian St. George (1911–2004).
Funt brought his program to ABC television in 1948, using the Candid Microphone title of the radio series, and then switched to NBC in the fall of 1949 (for Philip Morris, with Ken Roberts as his announcer), at which point its name was changed to Candid Camera. The format moved to syndication in 1951 and continued for three years before returning to NBC in 1958 as a segment of Jack Paar's The Tonight Show. The segment reappeared in 1959 on CBS as a feature on The Garry Moore Show, before once again becoming a standalone show in 1960.
Its longest uninterrupted run came in the CBS Sunday evening version. Debuting in October 1960, dominating its 10pm time slot for seven years, the program reached its peak in 1963 placing second for the year in the national Nielsen Ratings. In these shows producer/host Funt was joined on stage by several co-hosts. Veteran CBS broadcaster Arthur Godfrey for the first season, Garry Moore's long time announcer and sidekick Durward Kirby from 1961 to 1966 and, for the final prime time season, TV hostess and former Miss America, Bess Myerson. The 1966-67 season, with Miss Myerson, saw the series first use of color film. Appearances on the show by silent film comedy legend Buster Keaton were included in the 1987 Thames Television tribute documentary "Buster Keaton: A Hard Act To Follow". Among the standout favorite films was 1965's traffic cop Vic Cianca with the Pittsburgh Police who gained national exposure through the show and later appeared in Budweiser commercials as well as Italian TV and the movie Flashdance. A then-unknown Woody Allen was one of the writers for the show in the early 1960s and performed in some scenarios. Though a rarity, a few celebrities appeared in the last CBS season; among them were baseball legend Jackie Robinson, impressionists George Kirby and Rich Little, singer Mike Douglas and rock vocal group The Four Seasons.
Following an ABC special in the summer of 1974 celebrating the program's 25th anniversary, Candid Camera returned that fall for a five-year run in weekly syndication, with Funt as emcee again and John Bartholomew Tucker and Dorothy Collins as early co-hosts. Fannie Flagg, one of Funt's writers during the 1960s run, also shared emcee duties with Funt during the 1970s era, as did Phyllis George, Betsy Palmer and Jo Ann Pflug. This version was taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City for its first season, then moved to WTVF in Nashville for the remainder of its run.
The network TV version celebrated its 35th anniversary with an NBC special in 1983. Four years later, a series of occasional Candid Camera specials aired on CBS with Peter Funt joining his father as co-host.
The show also aired a season in daily syndication (1991–92) with Dom DeLuise as host and Eva LaRue as co-host. Produced by Vin Di Bona, Funt authorized this version, but did not approve of the format or host. He stated in his biography Candidly (1994) that he deeply regretted his decision (which he made strictly for financial reasons) mainly because he did not think DeLuise understood the spirit of the show or was an appropriate host, and also because he felt the bits were weak, uninteresting, and too preoccupied with incorporating the show's sponsor, Pizza Hut, into them in an overtly commercial way.
A 1996 CBS program celebrating the 50th anniversary of the format (dating back to the Candid Microphone days) led to another series of occasional Candid Camera specials, and then to its return as a weekly CBS show with Peter Funt and Suzanne Somers as co-hosts. The show moved to the Pax network in 2001 with Dina Eastwood taking over as co-host, remaining on the air for three more years before suspending production.
In April 2014, it was announced that the TV Land cable channel was reviving the show, ordering ten episodes. Peter Funt returned as a host, joined by actress Mayim Bialik as co-host, with the series premiering on August 11. However, it was not renewed for a second season. Notable guests included the actor Harold Davies.
The 1960–67 run was arguably the most successful version of the show, according to the Nielsen ratings:
What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? eventually led to a series of videotapes of an adult-oriented (containing nudity) version of Candid Camera, produced in the 1980s, called Candid Candid Camera. These videos would be shown on HBO and the Playboy Channel.
The 1960s version was seen in reruns on CBS daytime at 10 am EST from September 26, 1966 to September 6, 1968, with local stations continuing to air the series for the next several years. It also aired on the Ha! comedy network in 1990-91.
The 1970s version continued to play on local stations for several years after its cancellation, followed by a run on cable's USA Network later in the 1980s, and another go-round on both Comedy Central and E! in the early 1990s.
A British version of Candid Camera began in 1960 and ran for seven years. It was initially presented by David Nixon and featured Jonathan Routh and Arthur Atkins as pranksters. The show briefly returned in 1974, hosted by Peter Dulay, with Arthur Atkins and Sheila Bernette. Another series was aired in 1976 with Jonathan Routh in charge, with Dulay as producer. These two 1970s series reappeared in 1986, with an opening sequence from Peter Dulay. Jeremy Beadle made his name hosting prank shows, notably Beadle's About in the 1980s and 1990s. Channel 4 and Dom Joly developed Trigger Happy TV in the early part of the 21st century. A similar style show with no real presenter went out as Just For Laughs on the BBC around the same time.
An Australian version of Candid Camera, with the same name, began in the late 1990s and ran until the end of the 20th century. It was successful until the show was canceled for unknown reasons. Quebec saw its own adaptation titled Les insolences d'une caméra.
A German variant of Candid Camera, known as Verstehen Sie Spaß?, was begun in 1980 and continues to air today.
A wave of other American hidden-camera prank shows began in the 1980s: Totally Hidden Video was shown on Fox from 1989 until 1992. MTV's Ashton Kutcher vehicle, Punk'd, devised elaborate pranks on celebrities. Some shows have been criticized because of the potential cruelty inherent in the pranks, such as Scare Tactics. Oblivious was a series which gave cash prizes to unsuspecting subjects in the street who answered trivia questions but did not realize they were on a game show. More recent prank shows have been Girls Behaving Badly, Just for Laughs: Gags, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Boiling Points, Trigger Happy TV, and Howie Do It. Perhaps the most ambitious of all was The Joe Schmo Show in which Matt Kennedy Gould was surrounded by actors and hoaxed for the entire series.
One episode of Supermarket Sweep from 1991 featured Johnny Gilbert mentioning during the Big Sweep to a team member named Barry (who also appeared on Monopoly): "He thinks he's on Candid Camera, but he knows he's on Supermarket Sweep!".
In a 2010 interview, Peter Funt commented on some of these shows, saying,
We’ve always come at it from the idea that we believe people are wonderful and we’re out to confirm it. Our imitators and other shows, whether it’s Jamie Kennedy or Punk’d, often seem to come at it from the opposite perspective, which is that people are stupid, and we’re going to find ways to underscore that.
In 1964, Cornell University's Department of Psychology asked for and received permission to maintain an archive of Candid Camera and Candid Microphone episodes for educational research and study purposes.
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.Arnie Kogen
Arnie Kogen is an American comedy writer and producer. He has written for TV, film, and is a longtime writer for Mad Magazine. Among his hundreds of Mad bylines, Kogen has written more than 100 film or television parodies.
Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York to Jewish parents, Kogen contributed to Mad soon after college at New York University. He wrote for many of the top stand-up comics of that time including Don Adams, Morty Gunty, and Jan Murray. He moved on to writing for Candid Camera, The Les Crane Show, The Jackie Gleason Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
In 1965 he co-wrote the feature film Birds Do It, starring Soupy Sales.
He moved to California with his family in 1968. His many variety and sitcom credits include The Dean Martin Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Rich Little Show, The Tim Conway Show, The Golden Globes (1972–1975), Donny and Marie, An Evening at the Improv, Newhart, Empty Nest, and MADtv.
Kogen has written comedy material for many entertainers including Steve and Eydie, Totie Fields, Flip Wilson, Jackie Vernon, Sammy Davis, Jr., Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens and Shelley Berman.
Kogen has won 3 Emmy Awards (7 nominations) and one WGA Award (3 nominations).
His son Jay Kogen, also a comedy writer, was an original writer for the animated television series The Simpsons. His late daughter, Jill Arons, worked at The Bingo Bugle.Bill Funt
Bill Funt, a producer and actor, is the son of acclaimed Candid Camera creator Allen Funt and brother of Peter Funt.Boiling Points
Boiling Points is a prank reality television show, much like the format used on Candid Camera. It was broadcast on MTV in the United States from 2004 to 2005. In each half-hour episode, annoying situations were set up and deliberately inflicted on one or more young adults who were unaware that they were being tested. Examples included poor or incompetent customer service in a store or restaurant, being accosted by a date's ex-love-interest while out together, and unprovoked rudeness from a total stranger.
While being watched via hidden camera, the subject of the show must refrain from displaying a temper or storming off for a predetermined length of time. If he or she passes, a prize of $100 cash is awarded to them on the spot.
Typically, the Boiling Point time on each segment is anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes. Most often, people lose because they use obscenities in their confusion and/or anger.
The cast included improvisers Alison Becker, Jonathan Blitt, Colton Dunn, Giselle Forte, Rebekka Johnson, Billy Merritt, Missy O'Reilly, Eric Wippo and Sauce.Candid Camera (Australian photographic exhibition)
Candid Camera: Australian Photography 1950s–1970s was a group retrospective exhibition of social documentary photography held at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 28 May to 1 August 2010.Cinema of South Africa
The cinema of South Africa refers to the films and film industry of the nation of South Africa. Many foreign films have been produced about South Africa (usually involving race relations).
One South African film to achieve international acclaim was The Gods Must Be Crazy in 1980, set in the Kalahari. This is about how life in a traditional community of Bushmen is changed when a Coke bottle, thrown out of an aeroplane, suddenly lands from the sky. The late Jamie Uys, who wrote and directed The Gods Must Be Crazy, also had success overseas in the 1970s with his films Funny People and Funny People II, similar to the TV series Candid Camera in the United States. Leon Schuster's You Must Be Joking! films are in the same genre, and hugely popular among South Africans.
Another high-profile film portraying South Africa in recent years was District 9. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, a native South African, and produced by Peter Jackson, the action/science-fiction film depicts a sub-class of alien refugees forced to live in the slums of Johannesburg in what many saw as a creative allegory for apartheid. The film was a critical and commercial success worldwide, and was nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards.
Other notable films are Tsotsi, which won the Academy Award for Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006 as well as U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, which won the Golden Bear at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival.Elmer's Candid Camera
Elmer's Candid Camera is a 1940 Merrie Melodies cartoon short directed by Chuck Jones, and first released on March 2, 1940, by Warner Bros. It marks the first appearance of a redesigned Elmer Fudd (voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan), and the fourth starring appearance of the anthropomorphic rabbit character that would later evolve into Bugs Bunny (voiced by Mel Blanc).Elmer's Pet Rabbit
Elmer's Pet Rabbit is a 1941 Merrie Melodies cartoon. The short was released on January 4, 1941. Starring Elmer Fudd and, ostensibly, Bugs Bunny, it is the first cartoon in which the name Bugs Bunny is given (on a title card, edited onto the end of the opening title following the success of A Wild Hare), but the rabbit is also somewhat the same as the one seen and heard in Elmer's Candid Camera and other pre-Bugs shorts. It was directed by Chuck Jones (his first cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny) and written by Rich Hogan. Voices are provided by Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan. It was produced by Leon Schlesinger.Ethnofiction
Ethnofiction is a neologism which refers to an ethnographic docufiction, a blend of documentary and fictional film in the area of visual anthropology. It is a film type in which, by means of fictional narrative or creative imagination, often improvising, the portrayed characters (natives) play their own roles as members of an ethnic or social group.
Jean Rouch is considered to be the father of ethnofiction. An ethnologist, he discovered that a filmmaker interferes with the event he registers. His camera is never a candid camera. The behavior of the portrayed individuals, the natives, will be affected by its presence. Contrary to the principles of Marcel Griaule, his mentor, for Rouch a non-participating camera registering “pure” events in ethnographic research (like filming a ritual without interfering with it) is a pre-concept denied by practice.An ethnographer cameraperson, in this view, will be accepted as a natural partner by the actors who play their roles. The cameraperson will be one of them, and may even be possessed by the rhythm of dancers during a ritual celebration and induced in a state of cine-trance. Going further than his predecessors, Jean Rouch introduces the actor as a tool in research.
A new genre was born. Robert Flaherty, a main reference for Rouch, may be seen as the grandfather of this genre, although he was a pure documentary maker and not an ethnographer.
Being mainly used to refer to ethnographic films as an object of visual anthropology, the term ethnofiction is as well adequate to refer to experimental documentaries preceding and following Rouch's oeuvre and to any fictional creation in human communication, arts or literature, having an ethnographical or social background.Girls Behaving Badly
Girls Behaving Badly is an American reality comedy television show on the Oxygen cable channel, and is also syndicated to television stations across the United States and Canada by Sony Pictures Television.
The show, described by the channel as "Sex and the City meets Candid Camera", presents a group of women playing pranks on unsuspecting victims.Hi-Jinks
Hi-Jinks is a hidden camera show that premiered on Nick at Nite in 2005. The show is hosted by Leila Sbitani. The show gives parents a chance to play practical jokes on their children, in a similar fashion to Candid Camera. Taking a cue from Punk'd, each show features a prank that is conducted with the assistance of a known celebrity.Just Kidding (TV series)
Just Kidding is a Canadian live-action hidden camera reality series that first aired on February 3, 2013 on its original channel, Teletoon, and November 19, 2012 on Disney XD. It is not broadcast on Télétoon due to TVA's broadcasting rights of the series in French-Canadian territories. However, on September 1, 2015, the series moved over to La chaîne Disney. The series has also been broadcast in the UK (CBBC), France, Australia, Poland, Brazil, Spain, Norway and Sweden. Unlike the international versions, the Disney XD version is hosted by YouTube sensation Zach Fox, and the Disney XD stars Jason Earles and Tyrel Jackson Williams, and since 2014, is hosted by the Disney Channel star Calum Worthy. In 2014, Just Kidding (along with other live-action Teletoon shows, My Babysitter's a Vampire, and R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour) moved from Teletoon to YTV. The series was cancelled on November 30, 2014.
The show is loosely based on Just for Laughs: Gags (which is itself based on the American show Candid Camera), with some inspiration from Rene Cardona's La risa en vacaciones series to boot, only this show's premise focuses on kids pulling jokes. The series plays with no written dialogue, apart from the main theme which gives the impression that all the kids share the hosting position. The show now airs on Disney XD in Australia.London Hearts
London Hearts Friday (金曜★ロンドンハーツ, Kin'yō Rondon Hātsu), formerly known as London Hearts (ロンドンハーツ, Rondon Hātsu) and Inazuma! London Hearts (イナズマ! ロンドンハーツ, Inazuma! Rondon Hātsu), is a Japanese variety television show hosted by London Boots Ichi-go Ni-go and Hiroiki Ariyoshi on TV Asahi. It focuses on creating comedy by taking Japanese comedians and television personalities out of their normal broadcast environments, often by ranking them from best to worst in a specific category or in expensive, elaborate candid camera pranks. In the past it featured ordinary members of the public being set up in edgy stunts, often using actors and hidden cameras.Naked Camera
Naked Camera is a hidden camera comedy television show which began airing on RTÉ Two in 2005. Set and filmed in the Republic of Ireland (mostly in Dublin), its concept is similar to that of the UK show Trigger Happy TV or the ascendant candid camera elements of The Live Mike. Comedians PJ Gallagher, Patrick McDonnell, and Maeve Higgins wrote the scripts and portrayed the sketch characters. Produced by Scratch Productions for RTÉ, the third and concluding series aired in February 2007.Paola del Medico
Paola del Medico Felix (born 5 October 1950) is a Swiss singer.
Born in Saint-Gall, she has sung mostly in German and French. She represented Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest 1969 with the song "Bonjour, Bonjour", finishing in fifth place.In 1980, she represented Switzerland for a second time in the Eurovision Song Contest with "Cinéma", where she finished in fourth place.
Between 1981 and 1990 she co-hosted "Verstehen Sie Spaß?", a Candid Camera-style show, for the German TV station ARD together with her husband Kurt Felix.
She was in contention to represent Germany for the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 with the song "Peter Pan", but she finished 2nd in the national final.Peter Funt
Peter Funt (born in New York, c. 1947) is an American actor, host and producer for the hit TV show Candid Camera. He worked for Denver radio station KHOW, the ABC Radio Network, The New York Times and various other media organizations. He is a University of Denver graduate.Punk'd
Punk'd is an American hidden camera-practical joke reality television program that first aired on MTV in 2003. It was created by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, with Kutcher serving as producer and host. It bears a resemblance to both the classic hidden camera show Candid Camera and to TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, which also featured pranks on celebrities. Being "punk'd" referred to being the victim of such a prank. New episodes hosted by King Bach and DeStorm Power aired on BET.Sid Ramin
Sidney Norton Ramin (born January 22, 1919) is an American orchestrator, arranger, and composer.The Live Mike
The Live Mike was an Irish television comedy, variety, and chat show presented by Mike Murphy. It was first broadcast on RTÉ 1 on 9 November 1979. The programme featured a candid camera pieces by Murphy himself, with parody songs and comedy sketches by Twink, Dermot Morgan and Fran Dempsey, as well as a serious studio interview. The show ended on 2 April 1982.