Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!

This catchphrase is burned into my memory from my yute. Rather less clear to me is which version of the show I actually watched. It ran in different incarnations between 1948 and 2014 (!), but I likely remember it from the 1960s. That seems odd, because I wasn’t watching TV at 10pm, but life is full of these little mysteries.

Its longest uninterrupted run came in the CBS Sunday evening version. Debuting in October 1960, dominating its 10pm time slot for seven years, the program reached its peak in 1963 placing second for the year in the national Nielsen Ratings. – Wikipedia

These days, the phrase has morphed into a warning about video surveillance.

Smile! You’re on camera.

However, not everyone feels the need or even the urge to be cute about this. Many warnings just note “CCTV in operation.”

Anyway, these signs have become so commonplace that they’re usually just background noise of the visual variety. But every once in a while, something new-under-the-sun catches my eye, as this juxtaposition did in a hotel in Dublin.

Two signs presenting a funny juxtapositionI think I liked it better when all I had to do was smile.


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8 Responses to Smile!

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Somebody should have told these folks they were on CCTV. Especially the last one.

  2. Ian Hepher says:

    I have read that nostalgia is not what it used to be. Looking backwards, I think it may be true.

  3. I saw a series of designer clothing ads a few years ago that played on the notion of “dressing for the security cameras.” It was intended to be faintly humorous. But surveillance means a loss of privacy that we should take seriously. Or has the moment to object already eluded us?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Maybe we have missed the moment, although in other areas we’re supposed to be able to say, “No” at any point, no? In watching British police dramas, I’m astounded by the CCTV coverage they seem to have and to be able to access, relatively quickly. Not sure that’s true, and less sure that we have anything approaching the same coverage anyway. Oodles of in-public surveillance strikes me as both good and bad . . .

  4. Jim Taylor says:

    Rumours and hearsay tell me that Google and Facebook and whoever else are now working on software that will allow someone OUTSIDE your house to activate the camera on your computer monitor to watch YOU inside. Whether it’s currently true or not, I’m sure something like this is coming. Damned if I’m going to wander around the house in the altogether anymore.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Good enough reason to turn off the computer when it’s not in active use. And you can bet that — if it’s true — someone is working on an app to (at least) alert you to any such incursion.

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