DAVID BIANCULLI

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1948: 'Candid Camera' Comes to Television
August 10, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1948, ABC introduced the hidden-camera reality show, Candid Camera. Hosted by Allen Funt, the show consisted of a series of practical jokes conducted on unsuspecting victims, with the results caught on a hidden camera.

When the practical joke was finally revealed, the subject was greeted with the famous catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera!"

The show had an unusual broadcast history, debuting on ABC, then bouncing to NBC. The stand-alone show then became a segment on NBC's The Tonight Show (with Jack Paar), then CBS's The Garry Moore Show. It became its own show again in 1960, and ran in various formats on CBS, in syndication and, finally, on PAX. It originated in 1947 as a radio show, Candid Microphone.

Funt hosted or co-hosted the show's many incarnations, until suffering a stroke in 1993. His son, Peter — who began working on the show with his father in the late '80s — took over as producer and host.

Here's an episode from the show's early run on NBC:

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

This Day in TV History