Candid Camera is part of television history, not just because of being the first and still one of the best examples of the Reality TV show, but also because it is one of the media industries greatest comedy formats. Some of the earliest shows are as funny and fresh today as they were fifty years ago.
Lou Tyrrell’s so very readable book gives us a wonderful view behind the cameras during three of the best years of the show. Lou was producer, and for one of those years the key driver of the show. During this year the very individual Alan Funt, the format’s creator was on his “world tour”, mainly it seems of famous hotels. During some of this period Candid Camera was the top rated show by viewing numbers in the whole of the USA, and in no small measure because of the author’s influence.
The writing is light and whimsical. The chapters bounce by, as one feels as though one is almost standing alongside Lou watching his vivid, journalistic, visual bits of autobiographical entertainment unfold. Lou makes it very easy to picture oneself in the TV theatres, restaurants, domestic chaos, street setups, and business deals that were his world.
I don’t remember what I ate yesterday, or what tie anyone has ever worn anywhere whether they are an Alan Funt or a Yogi Bear, and I don’t suppose for a moment that Lou is always quite spot on with his memory. However, I am sure that the imagery, the snap-shots of those exciting days, are as contextually accurate as any memories of any autobiographical days can ever be.
This is a delightful, highly readable book that is ideal for a long read, or to be enjoyed in bursts of irregular pleasure. For all those who have fond memories of Candid Camera this book is a must. In addition this book gives us a wonderful glimpse of the beating heart of 1960s’ down-town New York.