"Smile! You're on Candid Camera" still creeps me out

Candid Camera, Let’s Make a Deal and even The Gong Show always distressed me as a child because of the willingness of adults to go on television despite the risk of humiliation and being the butt of laughter. I empathize way too much, and still have trouble with “cringe” shows and game shows like Wipe Out.

Just can’t do it. Nope.


If they hadn’t cut the scene, I get the feeling he was about to get the hell out of there!

I get the feeling that was true behind the camera, too…:grimacing:

I listened to the Radiolab episode which was not an easy thing given their infuriating gimmick of never letting anyone speak more than six words in a row. I was disappointed that they didn’t explore the legal angle. What sort of releases did they have for the early radio and TV shows? I know today’s complicated system of getting signed releases from every passerby is a relatively recent thing. What did a 1950s Candid Camera victim sign before their segment aired? How much power did they have to say “no”?

I was reminded of a YouTube video from some years back. It was a segment from a Japanese hidden camera show. A guy is sitting in a sauna. Suddenly the back wall drops away and his chair turns into a sled that sends him barreling down a snowy hillside backward, naked, and apparently scared out of his wits. Did a production assistant amble up after the ride ended with a pen and a waiver?

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that prank shows beginning with Candid Microphone have contributed to the common attitude that everything is a big game, so fuck all of you. Someone, knowing it’s bullshit, fabricates a story about a child sex ring run out of a pizza restaurant. Gullible people buy into it, spread it, amplify and shape it, and before long you have QAnon and Donald Trump. Somewhere the original perps are probably splitting their sides over how their priceless gag paid off.


A format which, unfortunately, has been exported to, well, everywhere.


I wonder if it ever happened that people passed by a real emergency and ignored it, assuming it was just Candid Camera.

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…which was the direct descendant of a show that directly caused one death and multiple serious injuries.

Also itself responsible for the now utterly inexplicable Mr. Blobby.


There was a British prank show that ran between the mid-80s and mid-90s called Beadles About. Unlike Candid Camera whose pranks were short and didn’t target anyone in particular, Beadles About pranks targeted one person in incredibly elaborate ways. For example convincing someone an alien had landed in her garden or making someone think a public toilet was being built in her garden.

And there were several pranks that were designed to make someone think their livelihood had been destroyed.A famous one being a man who thought his van that contained his greetings card distribution business had been accidentally pushed in to a harbour by an errant crane driver. That sort of stuff could make someone go off the rails pretty quickly.

The planning for these pranks was elaborate, went on for months and had the targets family in on the joke. I often wondered if I could ever forgive my family and friends if they did that to me.


…which was the direct descendant of a show that directly caused one death and multiple serious injuries.

The interview Edmonds gave to Terry Wogan after that incident is weird. He appeared to be totally self-centred and acting like the victim. It’s amazing how he managed to keep his career on an upward trajectory after that.


This kind of entertainment is a slide down to to the inevitable Ow My Balls!

The “prank” pulled on Dr. Steve Brule (2m 55s in) is etched into my brain.


So it’s vaguely possible that Brexit is a Beadles About reboot?


From what I recall about “Beadle’s About” at least the pranks were very over the top and became increasingly ridiculous as the prank wore on, to the point where a viewer would wonder how anyone could continue to believe the prank.

Isn’t there something sad/pathetic about son Peter Funt dynastically taking up the reins of Alan Funt’s stale idea? Really? He couldn’t find any other niche in the business? And, networks were so unimaginative that they gobbled up what he was selling?

The worst one I saw: they tell some guy he has the winning ticket for the red Maserati right in front of him. He’s literally about to drive it away. Then: “Hey, you didn’t win the Maserati!!” There’s nothing but cruelty in giving someone money and then taking it away. [I don’t think this was Candid Camera though, but a knock-off.]

There was an Iraq version of candid camera where a car full of “paramilitary” overtakes the victim car and pretends it’s a highjack-robbery-kidnapping. Funny! /s (And this was in the early 2000s, in middle of all the sunni-shia deathsquad chaos.)

Looked to see if Marshall Mcluhan ever said anything about Candid Camera, but couldn’t find anything.

Abscam led to a pretty fun movie a while back

@robertmartinbro and others: Agreed on the cruel pranks - just no. @Purplecat mentioned the best parody I recall.

Someone posted a clip from Just For Laughs on Insta yesterday - I remember that most of their pranks were short, snappy sight gags that had the ‘victims’ laughing after the fact - and this one did make me chuckle:

(I think the only place I watched their material was in flight TV on BA flying to and from Toronto :grin:)


I recall from various interviews Jeremy Beadle gave that they deliberately chose gullible people or people who were easy to wind up. I always found that a bit cruel. The viewers might have thought that things had gone too far, but the mark was still convinced.

Also, bear in mind their friends/family were the ones who wrote in to have them featured. Imagine finding out people close to you had you made the butt of a joke on national TV because they thought you were gullible.


After an early dose way back, I’ve avoided such shows. Having fun at someone else’s expense on nationwide tv is sociopathic. Even as a little kid, I thought it was an ugly show and couldn’t understand why my parents watched it.

I suspect that more than a few CC ‘situations’ never got aired due to victims’ righteous anger and violent response.

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Positively Pythonesque.

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