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Sunday, February 26th, 2017
Joseph Wapner (November 15, 1919–February 26, 2017)

Joseph Albert Wapner was an actor and judge, known for The People's Court. He died in Los Angeles today at the age of 97.

The People's Court was one of the first reality courtroom shows that used real small claims cases on TV. Wapner debuted on the show in 1981 and remained on for 12 years, longer than any other judge in its history. Wapner stepped down from The People’s Court”in 1993, after nearly 2,500 episodes. He was the longest-serving judge in the show’s history until Marilyn Milian, who still serves as its presiding judge, beat his record in 2013.

Before TV, Wapner served for two decades on the California Municipal and Superior Courts. He was also a United States Army veteran who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in World War II.

Here is a clip from The People's Court from April 4, 1986.

WMAQ Channel 5 - The People's Court - "Hostage Situation Special Report" (1986)

Here's a Special Report that interrupted an edition of The People's Court, then presided over by Judge Joseph Wapner, as aired on WMAQ Channel 5. The discussion turns to Dobermans when all of a sudden . . .

Channel 5 News Special Report bumper (voiceover by - is that Ed Grennan?)

Ron Magers, in the Channel 5 newsroom, reports that a hostage situation is developing on the Near North Side at West Lill and North Southport Avenues, with one police officer on the scene already shot. On the scene at West Lill and North Greenview Avenues is Channel 5's Rich Samuels, who specifies the situation as occurring at 1427 West Lill in a first-floor apartment, and the hostage-taker is identified as John Peck who is holding two elderly women hostage.

Rich notes that Peck's mother lives across the street from where the incident is taking place. As noted by Rich, Peck had begun shooting with a high-powered rifle within the past hour, and one plainclothes officer who tried to storm the building was shot in the head and taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital with no word on his condition.

As Peck's sister has told police, the shooter has incendiary devices within the building, maybe a bomb or something that would touch off a fire; and there is an unconfirmed report of one other person having been shot. As the tape cuts out, Rich notes that police sharpshooters have surrounded the building on all four sides.

This aired on local Chicago TV on Friday, April 4th 1986.

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This clip aired on Friday, April 4th 1986, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

I vividly remembered this incident the day it happened. It actually started Thursday afternoon April 3rd and concluded early Saturday morning April 5th with the hostage being released unharmed and the suspect being taken into custody. The suspect, whose name was actually John Pasch, Jr, shot and killed his landlord and then murdered Chicago Police Officer Richard Clark who was the first responder on the scene. The cops actually used bright spotlights on Pasch's house to wear him out on the second night of the drama to get him to finally surrender. Then Police Superintendent Fred Rice also encouraged him to give up and he did. Pasch was convicted of his crimes and was sentenced to death when Illinois still had the death penalty. However, Pasch would die of natural causes while in prison in September 1993.
Comment posted by jfthstv on Thursday, August 25th 2016 at 9:55pm.

Shows you what happens when they pronounce an assailant's name, as they did here . . . but thanks for the background info of "what happened next." It's things like this that make this as much an historical reference guide as everything else.
Comment posted by W.B. on Friday, August 26th 2016 at 11:13am.

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This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Wednesday, August 24th 2016.
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