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A People's Court birthday: Judge Wapner turns 90!



Judgewapner Looking back, why did any of us watch The People's Court? Give it credit though for perhaps being the first reality show of any kind. At least the very first courtroom reality show.

The People's Court began in 1981 and run to 1993 -- more than 2,000 episodes.

Everyone had their favorite "characters." There's the announcer Jack Harrell. Legal consultant Harvey Levin. Courtroom reporter Doug Llewelyn. My favorite, Rusty the bailiff.

But we can't let today pass without recognizing our favorite judge. Joseph Wapner was a WW2 veteran, University of Southern California law school grad and even reportedly briefly dated Lana Turner. He served as a judge in L.A. for 20 years before being tapped as the original star of The People's Court. Afterward, he went to Animal Planet for Judge Wapner's Animal Court. (Sorry I missed that one.)

Though he's retired from any full-time TV jobs, you can still see Judge Wapner on the tube from time to time, making cameos on other reality shows and as a pitchman. And today, he turns 90 years old.

Happy birthday, Judge Wapner. We sentence you to 24 hours of cake, cards and candles. Case dismissed.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:53pm]


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