Candidly, He’s Cautiously Optimistic

May 17, 2013
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How is the American spirit holding up in these difficult times?

Peter Funt, syndicated columnist and host of TV’s “Candid Camera,” looks beyond the headlines to find out.

In his book “Cautiously Optimistic,” a collection of six dozen essays, Funt uses a light but penetrating touch to take the nation’s temperature.

Peter Funt

Funt’s canvas is very much like the real world we deal with every day. Sure, Americans are concerned about taxes, education and crime. But we also care about mobile apps that talk back to us, Paul McCartney’s hairdo, and raccoons that destroy our lawns.

In “Cautiously Optimistic,” Peter Funt finds the good, the bad and the occasionally hilarious. These essays are designed to make you think, but also to smile.

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The Indie Author Life


Peter Funt’s association with “Candid Camera” really did begin when he was just three, as he writes in an essay on the official “Candid Camera” website called “Things My Father Taught Me“:

When I was three years old my father taught me how to swing a baseball bat. He also taught me how to hide a microphone in a shoeshine box.

When I was 16 my father taught me how to drive a stick shift. That same year he taught me how to cleverly divert people’s attention from the bright lights needed for television.

In truth I kept learning from my father right up until his death. And I hope I’ve learned enough to continue the Candid Camera tradition just the way he would have wanted.

But why a microphone in a shoeshine box? Well, that was my first Candid Camera stunt. Allen Funt sent his three-year-old son out on the streets of New York to see if people would accept a shine at the scandalously exorbitant rate of $10 per shoe. The laughs that day were few, but I made up my mind right then to learn all I could about my dad’s unusual business.

Sometimes I listened too closely. For several years I thought the sound technician was named “Rollum.” After all, that’s what my father always called out to him when they were ready to shoot a scene.

Read the full essay here.

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One Response to Candidly, He’s Cautiously Optimistic

  1. January 2, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    about the Incas. Of course, the Spaniards quickly baptized, Hispanicized, and intermarried with these whiter upper classes — since the Spaniards ran both Mexico and Peru for hundreds of years, they'd be expected to do so with the Aztec and Inca elites far more than with the rutf—nheomill Indios.Another corrolary: saying that Mexico is 10% white, or Peru is 15% white, must be taken with a grain of salt. Counting elite Aztecs and Incas and their part-Spanish progeny as criollos rather than mestizos undoubtedly doctored the numbers a bit.

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