Thursday, May 30, 2024

Candid Camera / Tribute to Terry Anderson


Candid Camera as it reads from IMDb's page is an American hidden camera reality television series, with versions of the show appearing on television from 1948 until 2014. Originally created and produced by Allen Funt, it often featured practical jokes. In its day, it could very well have been the equivalent to today's Smart Phone's video capabilities at capturing candid moments. 

That being said, just over a month ago a fellow by the name of  Terry Anderson passed away. He was 76 years of age. Close to seven of those years were spent while his freedom was denied. Actually, Terry was held hostage by Mid-East militants while working for the Associated Press as their chief Middle-Eastern correspondent. After being in captivity for 6 years and 9 months, Terry's fortunes were about to change. In a way, so was the future of 4 actors who were fortunate enough to be cast on that Candid Camera show back in the day when Terry's captors chose to release him the very same night at the very same time as we few actors, were about to appear on that very same show in front of millions of Americans on CBS, 12/4/91!


Mucho great for Terry, but for us actors, who were about to shine in the light of national television (at least in N.Y.), we instead, fell victims to the dreaded "We Interrupt this Broadcast" announcement...'cause you've been "Preempted". N00ooo!  But wait, all may not be lost. I have a brother living in San Antonia, Texas...that's an hour away in the right direction!

In the meantime, we watched all the hoopla surrounding Terry with all the pomp and circumstance of a hero's welcome. Which brought to mind another hero that was lambasted for being famous because he was captured. There was no mistaking where I heard that before...almost word-for-word and how it related to another hero. No, no, not by that one. We're referring of course to the character in Woody Allen's film Celebrity, John Brennan. Almost word-for-word!

Sure enough, after I called my brother and asked him to tape the show, he got back and said he saw it in its regular time slot, taped it and would mail out the tape the next day. The tape arrived 3 days later in the mail!


This CC episode had the Set Up of me playing a Secret Service agent along with two other actors and a shill actor who played a celebrity autograph seeker. We descended upon the outside benches of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The agents would treat select bench-marks like a celebrity. The autograph-seeker would come up to the mark asking for an autograph and the agents would look like they were corralling the seeker to keep him at bay from the mark, to further sell the ruse. Just when the mark appeared to have had enough...an agent would do the reveal.

Click below picture to see abbreviated Candid Camera Show Secret Service Agents

On another episode that took place on location in Philadelphia, Pa., we learned a valuable lesson...for whom, I'm not sure. But, I had the occasion to play a reporter interviewing an adventurer type fellow in a rustic cabin way out in the boondocks. He was constantly communicating with an expedition via shortwave radio. Then the unthinkable happened...the actual shortwave prop crapped out! The entire production shut down while the engineers worked on the problem. It was getting close to lunch when I noticed that the inside of the shortwave was kinda hollow.

Hummm, I said very quietly to the engineer, you know there's just enough room to put one of those crappy little Radio Shack Walkie-Talkies in that hollowed chamber. Even though the W/T's are crappy, you only need to be 8 feet away in another room, so they'll sound just fine.

The engineer went for lunch with the grip and came back with 2 Walkies for $9.95 apiece. Long story short, since the actor only needed to have the receiver end operational, it worked like a charm. No one, especially the audience, would be the wiser. Hey nice going Tommy C the director said. We'll continue filming after lunch.

Now get this - Even though I was seen as a shiny penny from the production staff's point of view, I had the lead CC actor take me aside and say; Hey man, you probably just cost us an extra days work. He said he'd been with the production company for a while and in situations like this one, if they didn't resolve the problem by a certain point, they would've fixed us up with hotel rooms, and continued the shoot the next day. Oh...it's Emily Litella time!

We had Post Cards made to send out to prospective casting agents and advertising staff. In their day, these were the preferred way to generate interest. See below.


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