It was "The Greatest" vs. the kids of P.S. 41, the year was 1974 and the match was shown on "Candid Camera." Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali appears in a skit on the television program known for its hidden cameras, disrobing during a lesson and shadowboxing with some surprised students at the Greenwich Village school. Now, over 30 years later, some British producers are trying to track down those students for a 50th anniversary special about the show's U.K. edition.
ITV producer Jason Beresford says it was an amazing moment of television because the children were writing essays about what they'd say to Ali if they ever met him when the boxer snuck into their class dressed as a janitor. "And they turn around and there he is, in his boxer shorts with his muscles rippling, and he's smiling, and he's the wonderful charismatic Muhammad Ali that we all know and love," Beresford says.
If you were one of the fifth graders from P.S. 41 who who met Muhammad Ali in the 1974 "Candid Camera" stunt, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is the only video available online of the skit (it's in French).
Beth Fertig is WNYC’s Contributing Editor for Education. She previously covered politics, which included City Hall during the Giuliani administration, and the U.S. Senate campaigns of Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. She also covered transportation and infrastructure.
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