Message to the creators of this Arab version of Candid Camera: You are doing it all wrong!
A famous Palestinian comedian narrowly escaped death on Tuesday during the filming of a hidden camera show he was invited to in Jericho.
Khalid al-Masou from Beit Jala near Bethlehem said during a televised interview aired on Ma’an’s satellite channel that he was invited to an interview by a production company he wasn’t familiar with.
“They drove me to Jericho and I was welcomed at Jericho Cable Car and was hosted by a presenter named Sharif whom I met for the first time,” al-Masou told Ma’an’s Tamir Ubeidat during his show “Palestine This Evening.”
He added that as they talked Sharif asked provocative questions, such as why he has been discharged from the famous “Watan Ala Watar” comedy show.
“I was surprised and told him that I am one of the co-creators of the show and couldn’t be discharged.”
“After the interview, I met with a group of orphan children and I sang to them and played with them as I always do, then I went to drink coffee before I was told that we would travel in a cabin of the cable car as part of the interview. I had no idea they were filming a hidden camera show.”
He added that the cabin stopped in the middle of the journey and somebody telephoned Sharif on his mobile phone and notified him that there was a power cut which would last for an hour and a half.
Al-Masou added that as he was arguing with his host in the cabin, he noticed that fire started to flame in the upper part of the cabin from outside.
“I thought it was caused by electrical circuit. It was part of the prank to delude the interviewee, but unfortunately they didn’t have a plan B for emergencies.”
“The flames started to fall on the roof of the cabin which is made of fiberglass. It was the first time I saw a cabin designed to carry people in the air made of fiberglass, though I honestly didn’t know what it should be made of.”
When the cabin caught fire, he added, chunks of burning plastic started to fall on their heads and so he grabbed the carpet and tried to put out the fire.
The two got confused as al-Masou tried to remain cool, but the whole cabin started to “melt and fall apart.” Then the actor kicked the cabin’s door “violently” forcing it open. At that point as air entered the cabin, flames broke everywhere in the small space, measured less than a square meter, while we were hanging up in the air.
“We had no choice but to get out of the cabin so we hanged onto the steel bars which carry the cabins… and I thank God that I still have some strength in my hands, otherwise I would have given up hope.”
Al-Masou managed to move his hands while hanging on to the bars until he came close to a tower where a young rescuer pulled him to the top of the tower and then he was taken down by ropes.
“Only the next day after I received medical treatment,” explained al-Masou, “I discovered that it was a hidden camera trick whose goal was to put celebrities under pressure and give them false impression of serious dangers during the interview so as to record their reaction.”
The Bethlehem actor confirmed to Ma’an that he won’t file sue anybody, but he urged all production companies to be very careful and always “have a plan B” when the take such risks.
The Arabs really need to rethink doing Candid Camera shows.