Most families choose to get portraits done as sentimental keepsakes. But when one regular woman turned up to collect a photograph of her children, she had quite a surprise. There was a man in the image whom she had never seen before in her life. But how had he gotten there?
A few years ago, an American mom who goes by the name of Ms Brownfield decided that it was time to get a family portrait done. So she took her four children down to a photography studio to pose for some shots that might be worthy of a place on the family mantelpiece.
Or so, at least, the mom thought. The reality was that the collection of the family portrait didn’t quite go to plan. And to make things even worse, the mishap ended up being broadcast on national television. People seemed to find it hilarious, mind you – and Brownfield did, too, in the end.
At first, however, Brownfield was left totally speechless. The mom of four first sensed that something was up when she arrived to collect the photographs – although not right away. After all, when a man behind the counter gave her one of the pictures, he said, “That is just great.”
When Brownfield looked at the image, though, something – or someone – immediately jumped out at her. The photograph showed her four children, as she’d expected, but there was another figure in the shot whom she didn’t recognize at all.
Brownfield therefore looked completely stunned after she was handed the photograph; but when a few seconds had passed, she gathered her wits and asked the man, “Who’s this guy?” – referring to the unidentified person in the family portrait. Next, there was an awkward pause.
“I don’t know any of their names, actually,” stated the man behind the counter, prompting Brownfield to clarify the nature of the issue. “I mean, he’s not a member of my family,” she said, pointing to the random man posing with her children.
But it was in the middle of Brownfield’s next sentence that she totally lost it. She started to say, “I wonder how he got in the picture” – before bursting out laughing at the bizarre situation that she had found herself in. Then, she remembered something she’d been told that she thought could explain what had happened.
Referring to an earlier comment by another member of staff, the confused mom recalled, “I think they said that their machine jammed and a bunch of pictures got caught in there.” Yet before she could continue speculating about what had happened, she started laughing again.
The man who was supposed to be helping Brownfield really wasn’t much use, either. He couldn’t offer any explanation as to why a mysterious figure had made it into the family portrait. But, as it turned out, there was a good reason why the supposed assistant was so useless. He was an actor.
That’s right, the gentleman behind the counter was not an employee at all. He was in fact the actor Peter Funt – best known for starring in the popular U.S. series Candid Camera, which first began as a radio show back in the late 1940s.
The concept of the TV show, which produced spin-offs in Britain, Australia and Germany, is based around playing pranks on unsuspecting members of the public. And victims of the show typically don’t find out that they are on television until they hear the famous catchphrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.”
Now before Brownfield realized that she was being taken for a ride, Funt asked if her family had a television at home. “Oh sure,” she replied. So, Funt’s next question was, “What would puzzle them more: to see this guy in your photo or to see you on Candid Camera?”
Brownfield looked blankly back at him before saying, “I don’t know.” Yes, she still hadn’t realized what was going on – and so Funt had to put her out of her misery by saying, “Well, smile, Ms Brownfield – that’s the candid camera” as he pointed at the lens behind him.
“No way!” the mom yelled as she finally understood that it was all an elaborate joke. And as Funt extended his arm for a handshake, Brownfield said, “Are you kidding me?” while scrunching up her face and rolling her eyes. She isn’t, however, the only person to have fallen victim to this prank.
A video posted to the Candid Camera Classics YouTube page shows a montage of different people being presented with family portraits that feature complete strangers. Their reactions are all pretty similar, too: they’re each totally baffled by the images.
The final customers in the video are two women who seem displeased as well as confused by the apparent mishap. And when Funt then offers the pair their photographs at half price, this only serves to further enrage them. “What good is that going to do us?” one of them asks. “We don’t know him,” says the other, pointing at the interloper’s image.
At this point, Funt proposes putting the photograph into a frame for the pair, but they both cry out, “No!” The first woman is clearly frustrated that Funt doesn’t seem to understand the issue, reiterating that she doesn’t know the identity of the man in the image.
This particular Candid Camera sketch alone received tens of thousands of views after it was uploaded in March 2017. Which demonstrates that although the fashion and hairstyles in the episode may be somewhat outdated, the humor certainly isn’t.
“Such pleasant, innocent fun,” commented one YouTube user, who obviously enjoyed watching Funt fool the unsuspecting victims hoping to pick up their regular family portraits without incident. And while the subjects may have been a little embarrassed at first, it would surely have been pretty hard for them not to see the funny side at the end of it all.