This week, "Candid Camera" returns to the airwaves. You say you're too young to know what we're talking about? Well, Dean Reynolds can fill you in.
It is one of the most memorable expressions in television history, and possibly even the English language.
"Smile! You're on 'Candid Camera.'"
For close to 70 years, the Funt family -- first Allen, and now his son, Peter -- have been devising ways to make us all laugh at ourselves.
It turns out that we can be pretty funny. And over the generations, the simple gags still get us.
Peter Funt has been involved with -- and on - "Candid Camera" since he was a kid. "I am the keeper of the flame about this franchise," he said.
"In the early 60s, I had an appearance on 'Candid Camera' as a Roman statue in an art gallery. And I had to stand still while this guy, who was a janitor cleaning up the gallery, was sort of fixing my outfit. Then I came to life," he recalled.
"Did you get into this because you saw how much fun it was from watching your dad?" asked Reynolds
"Well, I just loved everything he did," Funt said. "You know, I followed him around. My first experience on the show came at age three. And he put me on the street as a shoeshine boy and told me to charge $10 per shoe. And I don't know if it was very funny. They never even thought to save the footage. But I think that day I got the bug, and it stuck with me."
The formula is pretty simple: an unwitting subject is put into a unbelievable situation, followed by the big reveal.
Peter recalled one of his earliest stunts, "and one I enjoyed so much. It's in Jamestown, N.Y., and I'm playing the umpire in an actual game. [The pitcher] couldn't throw a pitch that night because the catcher was working with me and gave him hand signals he'd never seen before."
Who knew elevators could be turned into laugh riots? Or that a diner could be so comical?
On Monday, Aug. 11, the latest version of "Candid Camera" will debut on the TV Land network. Among its gags: do-it-yourself dentistry.
So how will the new "Candid Camera" differ from its predecessors?
"I wanted to make this new show topical at least in some spots," Funt said. "So for the new show we've already shot sequences about gay rights, about immigration laws, about marijuana laws in Colorado. And this is good grist for our mill. Now, we're taking a comedic approach, but there is an underlying point that I'm very, very proud of."
From subject to subject, from year to year, when it comes to this show -- the result is the same.
"I'm so happy to find that in the new material we've shot, people still light up the same way, maybe even more so, when we say, 'Smile! You're on "Candid Camera"!'"
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