Candid Camera Host Gets Blamed for 1969 Plane Hijacking

Allen Funt was the original Candid Camera host and he was a legend. People loved him so much that when he was spotted on an airplane that happened to be hijacked, all the passengers assumed he was the one who made it happen. You know, as a joke.

Allen Funt poses for a promo shoot.
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But the hijacking was very real. In 1969, on a flight from Newark to Miami, Funt, his wife, and two of his young children took were in for a shock.

Hey, Isn’t That the Candid Camera Guy?

During the flight, a hijacker took control, grabbing two flight attendants and putting a knife around one of their necks, instructing the pilots to fly the plane to Cuba. The pilots had no choice but to abide.

A plane takes off alongside a still from Candid Camera.
Source: YouTube

According to the pilots, passengers, and the Funts themselves, everyone on the plane simply waited, frozen, until one woman recognized the famous Candid Camera TV host.

Hey, It’s a Stunt!

“Wait a second! We are not being hijacked. It’s a Candid Camera stunt!” she suddenly shouted. The plane went crazy and everyone started laughing. The attention went from the hijackers to Funt.

People nervously look at a plane.
Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

They were asking him for signatures, but Funt kept insisting that he had nothing to do with the hijacking. Still, no one believed him. Eventually, once the plane landed in Cuba instead of Florida, people realized that Funt was telling the truth.

Hey, You Tricked Us!

Suddenly, the plane was surrounded by Cuban officers. Ironically, as everyone walked off the plane, they took their anger out on Funt, cursing at him for tricking them. Poor Funt.

Passengers on an airplane are all talking to one another.
Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Someone even turned to him and said “Smile, my ass.” The passengers ended up being well-fed guests of Fidel Castro for 11 hours, before getting sent home to America. What a story, huh?