Smile! 'Candid Camera' Comes to DVD4 Jul, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold
“Candid Camera” is coming back yet again. The oft-resurrected TV show, which dates back to the 1940s, will make its latest appearance on DVD. Peter Funt, son of the hidden-camera show's creator, Allen Funt, has teamed with Rhino Home Video to create a 10-DVD collection of the classic TV series.
Candid Camera: Five Decades of Smiles ($99.95) arrives in stores Aug. 2. It contains 44 full-length “Candid Camera” episodes that originally aired from the 1960s through the present. The package also includes many hours of bonus materials, including the show's NBC premiere from May 1949; a two-hour “Greatest Moments” disc produced exclusively for this DVD set; the 25th and 40th anniversary specials; celebrity appearances over the years, featuring the likes of Woody Allen, Muhammad Ali, Buster Keaton and Jayne Mansfield; and five featurettes, hosted by Peter Funt, that put the show in context with the times.
“It's interesting to see how we've changed, how television has changed and, in many respects, how society has changed,” Funt said. “That's one of the marvels of our hidden-camera work — we really chronicled society during that period.”
Funt said the 1949 premiere is one of the few surviving broadcasts from the early days of “Candid Camera,” when much of television was live and little of what was shown was preserved.
“I saw it for the first time eight months ago, and let me caution you, it's not particularly funny, certainly not by our own standards of later years,” he said. “Back then, the fascination was the mere fact that you could hide a camera and microphone and record people doing anything. There wasn't necessarily a joke connected with it.”
Funt's favorite “Candid Camera” gag of all time?
“I guess I'm violating my own rule not to choose, but if I had to pick, it would be the classic car-without-a-motor sequence from the fall of the 1960s, when the show premiered on CBS,” Funt said. “Dorothy Collins was in a convertible from which the engine had been removed. The car was towed to the top of a street, up the hill from a gas station, so that it was possible for Dorothy to roll down and ask the guy at the station to check under the hood.”
That's not only his favorite episode, Funt said, but also one of the most popular fan favorites. “If it wasn't for DVD,” he said, “I don't think we would have been able to assemble this stuff in a way for home viewers to have a library they can sample at will.”