Candid Camera

The late Allen Funt

Candid Camera, the first and longest running reality-based comedy program on television, was created and produced by Allen Funt and began on August 10, 1948. His format has appeared on network, syndicated, or cable television in each succeeding decade, as either a regular show or a series of specials. Funt himself hosted or co-hosted almost all of the TV versions until a 1993 stroke from which he never recovered. Peter Funt, who had co-hosted the specials with his father since 1987, is now the producer and host of the format.

The premise of the show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with humorous fabricated situations. Sometimes the show used trick props, such as an office desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed. An especially funny show involved an automobile coasting into a gas station without an engine. The driver then asks the station attendant to check the oil in the engine. When the joke was revealed, the attendant was given the show's famous catch phrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera."

Movie Producer Woody Allen got his start writing for the show in the 1960s and performed in some scenarios. Other celebrities have included Buster Keaton, Muhammad Ali, Garry Moore, Arthur Godfrey, Bess Myerson, Dom DeLuise and Suzanne Somers.