Thursday, April 24, 2014

Classic TV: Candid Camera (1948)

Allen Funt's Candid Camera was one of the first shows to transition from radio to television, and has managed to be revived over and over again. It'll return later this year, airing on TV Land, its latest home, and the 2nd cable network to air the series' original episodes. It last aired on Pax (now Ion) from 2001-4.

It all started with Candid Microphone, a radio show that bowed in 1947. A year later, Funt shifted from radio to television, but although he could've kept the radio version going, he chose to end the radio show. Within a year, Candid Microphone was rechristened Candid Camera, and the rest, of course, is history.

Some of today's prank shows, such as Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd for MTV and SyFy's Scare Tactics, owe their existence to Candid Camera, but as Peter Funt, Allen's son, who joined his father on the show several years back, notes, those programs tend to embarrass their unsuspecting victims more than anything else. Camera has aired on NBC, ABC, & CBS, and on the latter, Allen Funt had a revolving door of co-hosts, including Arthur Godfrey, Durward Kirby, & Bess Myerson. In the 70's, the series moved into syndication, with John Bartholomew Tucker, Fannie Flagg, and Jo Ann Pflug among the co-hosts. Regardless of who sat beside Funt, the basic core of the show remained the same.

Let's take a look back at a "best of" show from 1953:

A few weeks ago, it was announced that Camera would return, meaning that even though it hasn't always been on the air, it will have made it to its 8th decade on the air. Quite an achievement, don't you think? One wonders if someone will have the courage to screen Funt's feature film spin-off, "What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?", released in the early 70's?

Rating: B+.


magicdog said...

I hadn't heard the show will come back but I think it's a bit outdated now.

Consider the reality TV that's taken the airwaves since. Not to mention shows like "Punk'd" (as you mentioned) and more recent shows like "Impractical Jokers". Plus there are so many other amateurs who do the same thing and put it on YT and other forums.

Plus, Alan Funt's long gone and CC isn't quite as fun without him!

hobbyfan said...

As I understand it, TV Land is going to try it out for 10 weeks. We'll see where it goes from there.