By MIKE CHAIKEN
As Peter Funt explains it, “Candid Camera” has done something few entertainment programs have managed in the world of electronic media.
Funt said between his dad Allan —who launched the “Candid Camera” franchise in 1940— and himself, there have been new episodes of assorted versions of the show created across eight different decades.
This goes from the earliest days of the show up until his own stint with the show on TVLand, Peter Funt explained.
“It’s a unique record in TV,” said Funt. “No other entertainment show can say that (they’ve spanned eight decades).”
And “Candid Camera” has not only centered its concept on television. There was a “Candid Camera” movie, said Funt. There were radio shows, cable shows… wherever there was an opportunity, the show migrated in that direction.
But, said Funt, despite the many incarnations of “Candid Camera,” the franchise had never been brought to the theater stage before a live audience.
“Candid Camera’s 8 Decades of Smiles! With Peter Funt” comes to the Infinity Hall in Hartford on Nov. 12.
The show finds Funt and crew pulling out old clips from the show, as expected. The show has a rich archive of clips given its long tenure.
However, the live show coming to Hartford this weekend is much more than old clips. Funt said it is live comedy performance that uses those classic clips to hold a mirror up to society to offer some social commentary.
When the idea arose about taking “Candid Camera” onto the stage, Funt said he didn’t want to just present a documentary about his dad. He didn’t want to take audiences on a trip down memory lane.
Instead, Funt said he wanted a carefully planned two hour stage experience.
Yes, there will be some classic fast-paced clips from the old shows, she said. But they provide the background and data for what is a humorous mirror take on what it means to be human.
Although some may associate “Candid Camera” with the entertainment concept of playing pranks on unsuspecting “victims,” Funt said the show was never about the “prank.” And that’s why he’s not a fan of some of the “outright copies” of the show that developed through the years.
“‘Candid Camera’ at its best holds up a mirror to society,” said Funt.
The poet Robert Burns, said Funt, said, “The greatest gift is to see ourselves as others see us.”
The best segments for “Candid Camera” always inspired the viewer to ask themselves, “What would I do in their place,’ said Funt.
“We never go too far or make people look poorly,” said Funt. And they never would air anything without the signature of the person filmed granting permission to use the clip.
For people looking to come out to the show, Funt said that although it sounds trite, it’s true— it’s a show that pleases all ages.
People who are old enough to remember his father, will enjoy the show, he said. And people who remember the show on TVLand, also will find it a fun evening out.
This will be the second time Funt has taken “Candid Camera’s 8 Decades of Smiles!” on the road. Last year, he said the show did a swing through the western half of the nation. This time, he said, he is giving the northeast, including Connecticut, a chance to check it out.
“Candid Camera’s 8 Decades of Smiles! With Peter Funt” comes to the Infinity Hall, 32 Front St., Hartford on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $49.
For more information, go to www.InfinityHall.com