I recently read an article in The New York Times by Peter Funt who for many years hosted Candid Camera, the classic TV show founded in 1948 and hosted by his father Allen Funt (after a run of “Candid Microphone” on radio). Peter talked about how he and his dad used to worry about “what might go wrong … involving the physical and emotional health of unsuspecting subjects” as they conducted thousands of “hidden-camera stunts.”
Caption: That’s me on my way to surprise a Sweepstakes winner years ago!
I must confess: Todd Sloane and I – who founded the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol almost a quarter of a century ago – have thought about such matters ourselves as we approached the front doors of hundreds and hundreds of PCH Sweepstakes winners. I mean: these lucky folks never know we are coming, and they are totally unprepared for the shock, the thrill and the videotaping of the “winning moment.” Who knows what could happen? Should we have an ambulance standing by? Might the winners slam the door in our face?
Well, I must tell you: We have not had any unpleasant experiences involving the winners’ physical and emotional health. We — and the roses, balloons and Big Check — are welcomed without reservation. Yes, some shaking has occurred, some winners get a bit weak in the knees, and some say “Can I sit down?” But they recover almost immediately.
As far as the emotional reactions are concerned, euphoria sets in just as quickly as the shakes subside – often accompanied by tears of joy, kisses and shouts of “Hallelujah!” And this happiness has been known to last for days if not months and years – with no ill effects as far as we know.
In a way Todd and I owe something to the creators of Candid Camera. We too saw long ago that video coverage of “real people being caught in the act of being themselves” makes for powerful and believable TV viewing. No wonder folks see our PCH TV commercials and say to themselves “Look at him. Look at her. If they can win a Big Check worth thousands or millions of dollars, why can’t I?” And they decide then and there to enter the PCH Sweepstakes – just as you can and should. It’s easy to enter
And if you win we won’t arrive saying “Smile – you’re on Candid Camera.” Instead we’ll say “Smile! You’re a winner in the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes!”
Keep smiling, and good luck!
Prize Patrol Ambassador
Other blogs you may like:
Prize Patrol On The Road For PCH 25th Anniversary Prize!