Thursday, September 11, 2008


Rob Petrie:
The only thing that bothers me, Mel,
Is that you're not even ashamed that this is a direct steal from another show
Mel Cooley:
"Well, why be ashamed when we stole from one of the best?"

In the latest episode of 'Mad Men' ("The Gold Violin"), Bobbie Barrett introduced Don Draper to the ABC executive who would be overseeing the new show starring her husband, comic Jimmy Barrett. He told them that he was looking forward to 'Grin And Barrett' (maybe it would be 'Grin & Barrett'?) beating 'Candid Camera' in the ratings.

Of course, there was no such show as 'Grin And Barrett' in the real world. According to the prime-time schedules for 1962, ABC countered 'Candid Camera' with 'Adventures In Paradise' to close out the previous season and began the fall season with 'The Voice Of Firestone'. Originally, 'The Voice Of Firestone' was a radio show on NBC and then it was simulcast on NBC radio and television. But a dispute over the timeslot led 'The Voice Of Firestone' to move over to ABC.

'The Voice of Firestone' was a variety program of classical and semi-classical music; it's not surprising that 'Candid Camera' would have clobbered it in the ratings. But again, that's the real world. At this point in the 'Mad Men' timeline, I think we're only at the midway point in the year of 1962, so the televersion of ABC would be planning on showing 'Grin And Barrett' in the fall rather than 'The Voice Of Firestone' to challenge 'Candid Camera'.

It's all ABC's fault that they were getting slammed by Allen Funt's creation. 'Candid Camera' began on the Alphabet Network before moving over to NBC and then to CBS; they should never have let it go in the first place.

August 1948-September 1948
Sunday 8:00-8:30
October 1948
Sunday 8:30-8:45
November 1948-December 1948
Friday 8:00-8:30

May 1949-July 1949
Sunday 7:30-8:00
July 1949-August 1949
Thursday 9:00-9:30

September 1949-September 1950
Monday 9:00-9:30

June 1953
Tuesday 9:30-10:00
July 1953
Wednesday 10:00-10:30

October 1960-September 1967
Sunday 10:00-10:30
July 1990-August 1990
Friday 8:30-9:00

'Adventures In Paradise', the previous rival to 'Candid Camera', wasn't mentioned in 'Mad Men', which is a good thing for Toobworld. It prevents any need for a Zonk splainin regarding the name of the show. After all, Adam Troy and the Tiki III shared the same TV dimension as Don Draper of the Sterling-Cooper Agency. (Although I still haven't found a good splainin for the clips from that episode of 'The Defenders' on a previous 'Mad Men'. I may yet have to jettison 'Mad Men' to dimensions unknown.....)

There's no need to find splainins for 'Candid Camera', as it's the type of show that could easily exist in Toobworld as well as the real world - like game shows, news programs, and sporting events. This wasn't the first time it came up in 'Mad Men' - in an earlier episode, Bobbie Barrett mentioned that she had an idea for a new TV show similar to 'Candid Camera'.

Many shows referred to it over the years, and within one show a rip-off series was produced called 'Sneaky Camera' (as seen in 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' episode, "Ghost Of A. Chantz"). Although I can't find verification of it, I'm fairly certain that at least once a visitor to the home of 'The Munsters' thought that they were on 'Candid Camera'. (Sounds like a Paul Lynde moment.....)

But there were some other examples, courtesy of the

"Freaks and Geeks: Discos and Dragons (#1.18)" (2000)
- Ken asks when Allen Funt is going to come boogying out

"Mystery Science Theater 3000: Tormented (#5.14)" (1992)
- "Alan Funt, where are ya!"

"Dark Angel: Harbor Lights (#2.13)" (2002)
- The CDC guy says "smile you're on Candid Camera" to Ames

"Veronica Mars: Clash of the Tritons (#1.12)" (2005)
- "You're on Candid Camera."

"The Invisible Man: It's a Small World (#1.23)" (2001)
- Realizing the bug is working again, Darien says "Smile, you're on Candid Camera" the signiture line of the show.

"The Monkees: The Picture Frame (#2.2)" (1967)
- Davey says: Smile, we're on hidden camera!

"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Magic Sword (#5.11)" (1992)
- Crow: Okay, where's Allen Funt?

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004) (TV) - Ca. 20 minutes into the film Flynn references the show in conversation with Judson.

By the way, I have an idea about where the Jimmy Barrett storyline may lead, based on whom Jimmy could be modeled after and on a real world news story from earlier in 1962 (not the Jamaica Bay airliner crash). However, that idea comes from my deeply embedded absorption of TV cliches; and if there's one thing I know from watching Matthew Weiner's vision, it's that those cliches don't apply to 'Mad Men'.

So I'll wait to share it once the season is over.

Toby O'B

"Something going on here I should know about?"
Yeah, yeah, I was just apologizing to Mallory for treating her badly
And uh you too Jennifer for um being such a creep all week

"Am I on Candid Camera?"

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