Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 15

It's time to salute the original TV judge, Joseph Wapner, the most popular arbiter of justice the 80's ever knew. As a kid, I always had a sense that he was a badass, but I thought that was just because he was a dude on TV with a hammer. But he earned his robe, for sure...
In the 1930's, Lana Turner was his high school girlfriend. In World War II, he was an Army lieutenant who saw action in Cebu, Philippines. He served as a judge in L.A. County for about twenty years; after retirement, he was offered the People's Court gig in 1981. For the next twelve years, he would preside over 2,484 real cases before the American television audience.
For his 90th birthday this year, he presided over case #2,485, on the current incarnation of "The People's Court." He also witnessed the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It's a fitting tribute for a man who inspired an entire genre of courtroom TV (not to mention a cable channel - for a while) that continues today.

Here's the theme to the iconic show; provide your own typewriter noise:

And because I've been wanting to use Hulu's clip-n-embed feature (before it costs me a penny,) here's his appearance on the sci-fi series Sliders, playing his doppelganger from an Earth where the Soviets won the Cold War.

Commie justice wished it had been this efficient...

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