TELEVISION: A Touch of Sadism

The Lincoln convertible rolled down the hill and straight into a filling station. The arresting blonde at the wheel told a solicitous mechanic that she was having trouble. He raised the hood, looked up wildly and announced: "Lady, you don't need a mechanic, you'd better call the police. Somebody stole your motor."

The elaborately arranged stunt—motor carefully removed from the car, movie camera concealed to catch the mechanic's panicky reaction—was typical of Candid Camera, probably the longest-running practical joke in history. For 13 years, the program (known as Candid Microphone in radio days) has kicked about on the networks, intermittently joined...

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