Watching other people be taken by surprise is funny. Sometimes watching another person’s shocked reaction to an outlandish situation is enough to keep us laughing for a long time. Human beings are social creatures but we are also beings that do our utmost to avoid boredom…and sometimes we even play jokes on other people just to amuse ourselves. Throughout history people have played practical jokes on each other but the invention of television brought “pranking” to an all new level—as was illustrated on the classic television program titled “Candid Camera.”
Candid Camera was an American hidden-camera reality-television series that focused on recording the playing of practical jokes and the responses of the unsuspecting victims. Candid Camera actually began as a radio program in 1947 under the name “Candid Microphone” that involved prank-calling unsuspecting people with outlandish and/or outrageous requests or announcements. The show moved to televised format in 1948 and was broadcast until 2004!
The televised version of candid camera often relied on trick props or unusual situations that were intended to shock unsuspecting victims. Whenever the prank was revealed to the victim they would be told to “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!” This statement quickly became the show’s catchphrase that extended into mainstream pop-culture.
Practical jokes can sometimes go too far and be considered cruel or even a form of bullying. However, when they are done sincerely and with no ill-intent (as was the case on “Candid Camera”) they can be very funny. Although Candid Camera stopped broadcasting original episodes in May of 2005, the show has inspired many others including Betty White’s “Off Their Rockers” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
Sometimes being able to laugh at ourselves as a society and a species is healthy and “Candid Camera” proved that to the masses. If you have a child who wishes to be a comedian then "Candid Camera" is certainly a show to watch!