• One of the Candid Microphone comedy records

The night after Edward Snowden claimed responsibility for one of the biggest leaks in U.S. history—concerning the National Security Agency’s surveillance of countless civilians at home and abroad—the Northwest Chicago Film Society screened a Candid Microphone short from 1952 as a lead-in to Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole. Like the long-running TV series Candid Camera (which first aired in 1948), Microphone was based on a popular radio show in which comedian Allen Funt played pranks on unsuspecting people and used hidden equipment to record the results. After he played his mark as a fool, Funt would admit to the gag, and everyone would have a good laugh. “You’re in the movies!” he said in last night’s segment, a variation on his usual catchphrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!” In light of recent events, it all seemed kind of creepy.