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As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
August 10, 1948
Candid Camera, produced and hosted by Alan Funt debuted.
Funt had originally created the concept for radio, debuting Candid Microphone in 1947. When it premiered as a television show, the program kept the name Candid Microphone until its second season. Both the radio and TV versions featured unsuspecting people captured in their natural, bemused responses to comic setups. Candid Camera ran on network television from 1948 to 1950, again in 1953, and once again from 1960 to 1967. In 1989, Alan's son Peter became his father's co-host in a series of Candid Camera specials. In 1991, CBS tried to revive the show with Dom DeLuise and Eva LaRue as co-hosts, but the show flopped.
August 11, 1921
Alex Haley, author of Roots (1976), was born in Ithaca, New York. After 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Haley retired and wrote books, including The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965). In 1976, he published his best-known work, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The blend of fact and fiction, drawn largely from stories recited by Haley's grandmother, chronicles seven generations of Haley's family history, from the enslavement of his ancestors to his own quest to trace his family tree.
Roots became a TV miniseries in 1977. The eight-part series was aired on consecutive nights and became the most watched dramatic show in TV history. Some 130 million people-nearly half the country's population at the time--watched the final episode of the series. Haley died on Feb. 10, 1992.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".