Wednesday, May 27, 2015

1960, “SMILE … you’re on CANDID CAMERA”

I’m talking about the “real” Candid Camera that premiered on CBS in 1960.  It was the first
reality-based comedy program on TV, featuring footage (taken by a hidden camera) of everyday people caught in ridiculous situations devised by the show’s host, Allen Funt. (I understand that his son has a similar show now but I’ve never seen it.)

When I was researching dates and facts about Candid Camera I came across this comment by a fellow watcher, “I can’t see how anyone except someone with a sadistic streak a mile wide could honestly enjoy watching people be made fools of. This should tell you a lot about the cruelty of human nature and how so many of us get a kick out of seeing someone degraded on national TV.”

Really? It seems to me that his remark would more appropriately describe the current TV show America’s Funniest Videos, but you be the judge. Here are some of the "cruel and degrading" episodes that I remember most clearly:

The bunch of school kids who have been having a lively discussion about Muhammed Ali...only to have him show up on the playground and surprise them.

The dry-cleaning clerk who tells the customer that he sold their laundry to make money for college.

The store selling water beds and the customer that tries it out, only to find that the water bed has sprung a leak.

The famous “wired mailbox” that says “thank you” every time a piece of mail is deposited.

...and my favorite: The official-looking person who stops a car at the state line and tells the driver, “I’m sorry but Pennsylvania is closed for the day. Come back tomorrow.”

I guess this tells you a lot about my sadistic nature because I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It could get repetitious at times but it was good, clean fun, and the simple act of being recorded on film brought “15 minutes of fame” to many a hum-drum life.


Blogger kenju said...

I loved that show and so did my parents. I have not seen the current one.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

As someone who admits to being old enough to remember "Candid Camera" Ginnie, I would have to agree that it was a lot of fun. Compared to the reality junk that's aired today it was really mild stuff.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We also had a 'candid camera' show here in the UK at about the same time, and I echo Beatrice's comments.

7:34 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I remember watching and enjoying the show. Not at all sure I would care for it today.

7:55 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Well, I was much younger then... and it seemed like fun. AFV, however, seems more mean spirited than fun much of the time. And how many times a night must we watch some poor guy get hit in the crotch? Why is that funny?
And I wonder about the mentality that has to video everything they do. Really?

9:04 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

I vaguely remember Candid Camera. I haven't watched any of the funny video shows. In fact, I watch so little television at all.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We loved this program. I think they should renew the idea. I also enjoy Jesse Waters interviews with kids at the beach, the mall or wherever they gather. Jesse asks them what I think are simple questions, such as who was the first president of the US, and most of them respond good naturally although he works for the dreaded FOX. Some of these kids are incredibly ignorant of the world around them, others very bright.

My favorite Candid Camera took place at a New Jersey toll booth. Amazing how many different ways people could get their quarters in the "exact change" bin. One woman let go of the steering wheel and leaned out the window from the waist and took both hands to toss the quarters, while the car sailed through the lane driverless. I think she kept her foot on the gas pedal, however.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Odd that someone could have such a reaction to a harmless bit of fun. Up here, there is sometimes a show called Just for Laughs Gags (I think). There's no dialogue, but it can be quite funny.

5:00 AM  

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