And Now . . . . The Rest Of The Story
Date: February 3, 1969
Person: Allan Funt, host of the famous 1960 -70’s television show “Candid Camera”
Context: Newark to Miami, Aboard Eastern Airline Flight #7
Event: Airplane hijacked by a Cuban. The highjacker took a flight attendant hostage using a knife and brought her to the cockpit and demanded that the pilot redirect the plane to Cuba.
“Al heard murmuring behind him in the cabin — growing louder . . . . Moments later a flight attendant passed, She was walking toward the cockpit. Behind her was a man, one of the passengers. He had a seven-inch knife blade pressed against the flight attendant’s throat.” 1
This was the 12th hijacking that year.
Passengers: There were 93 people aboard.
Some people recognized the presence of Allan Funt and believed that it was a Candi Camera stunt.
“Then, the captain’s voice over the cabin speakers: ‘There is a man on board who wants to fly to Havana. We’d better go his way. Don’t worry, everything is OK. . . . . What happened nest took Al completely by surprise. One by one, the ninety-some skyjacked passengers of Eastern Airlines Flight 7 — began to laugh. Their laughter was so hilarious that the skyjacker leaned out of the cockpit doorway to see why. The passengers applauded. They laughed louder.” 1
“They believed they were on Candid Camera.
They were not
It was a real skyjacker.
It was a real skyjacking.” 1
Source: From “Destiny: from Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story,” by Paul Aurandt (know as Paul Harvey) — edited and compiled by Juliet Funt — pgs 16-17. Juliet was only 2 years old at the time.
Key Illustrative Thoughts:
• not realizing the danger
• You’re not on Candid Camera
• believing it was a hoax
• believing a lie
• no joke
• drawing wrong assumptions
• seriously mistaken
• it isn’t funny
• television crosses real life
Other Information & Links:
Hijack No Stunt By Allen Funt — Ocala Star-Banner, February 4, 1969
When the captain of our plane announced that we were going to Havana instead of Miami, at least four people who recognized me pounced on me, certain that it was a Candid Camera stunt.
But it was anything in the world but a stunt. There was a little fat man with a 10-inch knife held at the neck of a stewardess and he was not smiling.
It started out as a combination business and pleasure trip. My wife, Marilyn, and the youngest two of my five children, were coming with me as well as a complete camera crew.
For 11 hours we were the guests of Mr. Castro. They fed us, guided us and treated us with courtesy, with one exception.
If you wanted any information, everybody was suddenly deaf and dumb. There was no telephone, no way to send a wire, no one to talk to except Cubans and they wouldn’t say a word.
When they were good and ready and that means, when they ran up a bill for about $5,000, they found our airplane which I know was sitting there waiting for us for five hours. This was at Varadero, where we had been taken by bus from Havana airport.
Looking back at the experience, the unbelievable thing is the way everybody took it as one big joke. We saw the knife but everybody was cool and calm, just a little annoyed at the delay.
It is strange how you can be so close to danger and not feel it.
The biggest joke for me was how much the whole thing looked like a bad movie. Nobody looked the part. The hijackers were ridiculous in their business suits. The captain with super calm announced that we were going to Havana because two gentlemen seemed to want to go there.
On the bus to Varadero, we went through the heart of the formerly gay Havana. It was obvious that something had been allowed to go to pot. The guide makes sure you notice the new and rather imposing buildings which include the President’s Palace, the army headquarters and the Havana library.
The hero and heroine of the trip were my 1-year-old son William and my 2-year-old daughter Juliet. They spent the longest day in their young lives with hardly a whimper. We were planning to put the finishing touches on our feature film entitled “What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?” but the little fat man with the long knife changed all that.
The movie we are making is the only one in history which is done 100 per cent with a hidden camera. Now we are going home. There has been so much publicity that anything suspicious that occurs will make people watch. We’ll come back one day and film the scene.
1. Destiny, from Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story, edited by Juliet Funt
Did Airline Passengers Mistake a Hijacking for a ‘Candid Camera’ Stunt?