A transparent blouse made TV history: 50 years ago in the show “Wünsch dir was” with Dietmar Schönherr and Vivi Bach, a candidate flashed her nipples under a top. Germany was more than agitated.
November 7, 1970 was supposed to be a normal TV evening for the whole family. The moderator couple Dietmar Schönherr and Vivi Paar presented several families competing against each other in their live show “Wünsch dir was”. But one of the biggest scandals in German television history broke out in one of the games: the first Nipplegate.
Unlike 34 years later with Janet Jackson’s legendary Super Bowl appearance in 2004, it was not a wardrobe dysfunction that led to an uproar, but a deliberate provocation by the game makers. In the course of the sex wave and education, they asked the families at the beginning if one of the daughters would appear topless. All said no. But then, in the last round of play, the nation got its scandal anyway.
The daughters of the families had a choice of five outfits. They should choose one that they would personally like to wear. Father, mother and brother then had to guess which wardrobe she had chosen. “We organized a kind of catwalk here,” said moderator Dietmar Schönherr. Several mannequins presented the models, including one with a transparent blouse.
“She loves to wear pants”
“I believe that,” said the mother spontaneously. However, unaware that her daughter would immediately cause a scandal. “She loves wearing pants,” she explained in good faith. “The pants don’t seem to me to be the most remarkable thing about this costume,” Schönherr replied. Then the then 17-year-old Leonie Stöhr entered the stage. She actually went for the see-through top look. She walked past the cameras, boobs bobbing. Too much for the then prudish Federal Republic.
At ZDF in Mainz, the phones weren’t standing still. Spectators were excited about the performance. The media echo that swept over the show the following Monday was even greater. There was talk of an “obscenity”. The result: death threats against those responsible and bomb warnings at the following shows. “It’s unbelievable what happened back then,” Stöhr explained later.
“Make a wish” caused several scandals
The see-through blouse wasn’t the only scandal in “Make a Wish”. Almost half a year later it was again one of the games that caused a stir. To demonstrate the danger of accidents where cars end up in the water, the families were asked to free themselves from a sinking vehicle in a pool. One of the candidates panicked and could not free herself, rescue divers had to intervene. Although it really only lasted seconds, it felt like an eternity on screen, with viewers watching her in mortal fear.
A year later and despite top ratings, the television producers gave up on the show in frustration. After three years and 24 shows it was over. Nevertheless, “Wünsch dir was” is still considered groundbreaking and anticipated many scandalous and disgusting elements that can be seen again in reality TV shows today. Schönherr and Bach were probably years ahead of their time.