Q: How did Candid Camera get started?
A: When Allen Funt was in the Army in the mid-1940's, it was his job to record the messages of servicemen to be sent to their folks back home. Things always went well in rehearsal, but when the red light came on for the actual recording, the men often became tongue-tied. The solution? Allen simply disconnected the red light and secretly recorded the GIs during rehearsal. After the Army, Allen put the hidden-recording concept to work as a radio show called Candid Microphone. The very next year, 1948, it had its debut as Candid Camera on TV!
Q: Where do the ideas come from?
A: Most ideas come from Peter Funt and the Candid Camera staff. But ideas are accepted from viewers. Click here for details.
Q: Do people have to give permission to be shown on TV?
A: Absolutely. Everyone photographed for Candid Camera is asked to sign a release. If for any reason they don't wish to sign, the footage is destroyed. However, 99 percent of the people caught eagerly give their permission. For most, it's a once-in-a-lifetime treat to actually be told: "Smile! You're on Candid Camera!"
Q: What's the wildest stunt you've ever tried?
A: A few years ago we had a skydiver come through the roof of a building. We also created an elevator that moved sideways rather than up and down! And over the years there have been cars that split in half and a disappearing building. Candid Camera is at its best when it offers a combination of wild ideas as well as the simpler studies of human nature.
Q: Why don't people recognize Peter or guests in the gags?
A: Sometimes we wear disguises – a hat, glasses, or a wig – but the truth is, people don't expect to see TV performers out of context. When you go to pick up your dry cleaning, you never think that someone from television will be behind the counter. Besides, it's Candid Camera's job to distract people with whatever challenge is planned. By the time they stop and think about who they're dealing with, it's too late!
Q: Why do you always tell people to "look at the yellow light"?
A: We hide our camera behind a piece of glass onto which we project a colored light. Usually we use yellow light, but sometimes it's another color. Most people notice the light – but they have no idea that it's hiding a TV camera.
Q: How Does Mayim feel about hosting the show?
A: According to Mayim: Candid Camera is my style of humor and I seriously laugh so hard. I don’t see the clips before we show them to our studio audience, so you are seeing my actual reactions on camera. Peter and I really gel. On camera, I like our banter. Laughing is good for the soul!
Q: How can I arrange to have a friend caught by Candid Camera?
A: You can't. We don't catch people by appointment. We're only interested in the next person who happens to walk through the door or around the corner. As we often say: "You go your way, and we'll go your way too. And you might just be the star of our next show."