Candid Microphone was a 1940s radio show which soon became the long-running TV series "Candid Camera". The show involved scenarios in which unwitting members of the public would be placed in a situation where unusual things began happening (caused by actors hired by the producers as well as various props). The victim of the prank's reactions would be recorded and at some stage the joke is finally revealed to them.
Created and produced by Allen Funt, Candid Microphone first appeared on the ABC radio network in the 1947 using hidden microphones. The format, though embarrassing to many of his prey, proved highly popular. Funt considered himself a student of human nature rather than a practical joker. After a series of theatrical film shorts, also titled Candid Microphone, Funt's concept moved to television on August 10, 1948 when Candid Camera hit the airwaves.
The show achieved top ratings in network runs and syndication. Funt remained active with the show until he suffered a stroke in 1993 after which he retired to Pebble Beach, CA where he raised Hereford cattle and quarter horses on his 1,100-acre Big Sur ranch. He died September 7, 1999 at home at the age of 84 from complications of the stroke. Funt's son Peter, who had co-hosted the specials with his father since 1987, is now the producer/host of the format.
A native New Yorker, Funt graduated from high school at 15 and studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before earning a bachelor's degree in fine arts at Cornell University. He attended Columbia University and returned to Pratt for additional arts courses.