Monday, February 27, 2017

Joseph A. Wapner (1916-2017)

The original judge of The People's Court heard his last case a long time ago, and I'll guess that a lot of you thought that Joseph A. Wapner had already passed on.

As it turns out, Wapner, who passed away Sunday at 97, had been long retired from the bench after a brief television comeback . Wapner and bailiff Rusty Burrell were lured back by Animal Planet for the two-season series, Judge Wapner's Animal Court (1998-2000), in response to People's Court having been revived by WB for syndication.

Here's a classic People's Court case from the late 80's, when executive producers Ralph Edwards & Stu Billett decided to take the show on the road, in this case, Atlanta:

The clip comes from a USA Network rerun cycle from their short-lived morning anthology block, USA Live. Now, check out Animal Court:

You'll forgive the video quality of Animal Court, as it's been mostly lost to the mists of time. We'll take another look at Animal Court at a later date. The poster accidentally included a Crocodile Hunter clip, and that's something else we'll see down the road.

Rest in peace, your honor.

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