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Passengers fly to Utah but wind up in `Phoenix’

SHARE Passengers fly to Utah but wind up in `Phoenix’

Welcome to Phoenix?

Southwest Airlines passengers weren't sure where they were as they disembarked from flights at Salt Lake City International Airport Thursday evening. From the windows of the plane, passengers saw snow-capped mountains. Inside the airport, they saw cactus and a big sign reading "Welcome to Phoenix.""I've never been to Phoenix, but I didn't think it was cold and snowy in that part of Arizona," said Patrick Noar, who arrived on a 4:55 p.m. flight. "I thought it was a desert."

Noar, 23, really wasn't in Phoenix. He just thought he was.

CBS's "Candid Camera" was at the Salt Lake International Airport shooting a gag for an upcoming episode. Crews from the show built a set just outside the terminal door. It looked like the inside of an Arizona travel agency with cactus and posters depicting Arizona's desert terrain. Two cameras were hidden behind tinted glass at the back of the set.

The show was trying to fool a group of passengers that was flying in from the Phoenix Sky Harbor. Peter Funt, who hosts "Candid Camera," was disguised as a Southwest Airlines employee named "Larry."

Twin sisters with oranges were in on it. One passed out the fruit to the passengers as they boarded in Phoenix. The other passed out oranges at Salt Lake International.

The first batch of passengers started walking down the terminal's hall just after the 4:55 p.m. flight landed. It was time for the crew to get busy.

Funt began welcoming passengers to Phoenix and asking if they needed transportation while in Arizona.

Most walked by "Larry" looking confused, like they weren't sure what to say. "Larry" was holding a clipboard with a microphone hidden under it.

One man bought it for a second - wondering, "How did we end up back in Phoenix?" Another man said to the twin who handed him an orange, "Didn't we just see you?"

Lagging behind the rest of the crowd, Noar came walking down the tunnel. He would be the perfect victim.

"He is the type I dream will come into my life," Funt said. "He looked confused and he smiled the whole time."

As Noar walked by, "Larry" asked for his boarding pass. Noar, who traveled to Utah to visit his girlfriend, produced the ticket. Noar's flight had come through Phoenix from San Diego, where he lives.

"I knew holding his ticket would keep him there," Funt said later.

"Larry" told Noar that there had been a mix-up and he had landed in Phoenix.

"Isn't this Salt Lake City?" Noar asked. "How did this mix-up happen?"

The flight crew had made a mistake and accidently flown him to Dallas and then back to Phoenix, "Larry" told Noar. His flight had actually gone to Phoenix and then to Salt Lake.

"Larry" told Noar that the airline would get him another ticket to Salt Lake free of charge.

"I already paid for a ticket to Salt Lake. That's not free," Noar said, getting irritated.

To calm him down, "Larry" offered him another complimentary orange.

It was almost time to say it. "Larry" led him on for another few seconds and then broke the news, "You're on Candid Camera."

Noar loved it. After he left the airport, he called his family and friends back in California and told them about it.

He said he fell for the trick because he fell asleep on the flight. He heard the pilot say the plane was landing in Salt Lake City, but was still half-asleep when he heard the announcement. He was still queasy when Funt got to him.

Noar made a a great subject because he was funny, confused and smiling. The exchange will make an excellent clip, Funt said.

"Candid Camera" has filmed in Salt Lake City about 12 times. It's a good place because people in Utah can take a joke, Funt said. Those in bigger cities, like Los Angeles or New York, are used to seeing cameras all over the place and sometimes get irritated with the gags.

The show will air sometime in March or April. "Candid Camera" has been a television hit on and off since the early 1950s. It made its most successful run as a CBS series during the 1960s. The network is bringing the show back to prime time sometime in February or March, said CBS spokesman Michael Naidus.

Funt and Suzanne Somers will host the half-hour programs. Funt's father, Allen Funt, created the show nearly 50 years ago.