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.

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. It was also a precursor to television shows like "Girls Gone Wild" and the like in that 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 before she 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.


A British version of Candid Camera began in 1960 and ran for seven years. It was initially presented by Bob Monkhouse, and featured Jonathan Routh and Arthur Atkins as prankters. The show briefly returned in 1974, this time hosted by Peter Dulay.

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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