Court shows are the connective tissue of the daytime TV schedule. They seem to be necessary components for local TV stations to function. They’re everywhere and have been everywhere for decades. Perhaps I have rose-colored nostalgia glasses on (I have several pairs), but I feel like the court shows of the 1980s were a little more level-headed and not the dramatic scream-fests that they are today. Wapner wouldn’t tolerate that sort of behavior. Nickelodeon’s kid-centric version of The People’s Court was a good show – not necessarily in the sense that it was fun to watch so much as that it did a great job of taking that dispute drama and putting it into a forum that worked for children audiences. Also, it was pretty fun to watch.
Kid’s Court featured comedian Paul Provenza as the host but not the judge. Every episode’s case was taken from a kid’s letter sent to the show, and the plaintiff and defendant were kids acting out whatever beef was in the letter.
It is unknown whether these kids were given clothes to wear or whether this kid picked this outfit out on his own:
The majority of the show is Provenza going around the room getting the jury’s (the audience’s) take on the situation, and as more details of the case are revealed the kids in the room can see how their opinions change. At the end of the episode two audience members are chosen to make their final cases for the plaintiff and the defendent, and as with actual legal cases the result is determined by who more people in the courtroom clapped for. Enter the judge, whose only role is to measure the applause.
Kid’s Court ran from 1988 to 1994, ending two years before Judge Judy came along and set a new bar for how loud court shows needed to be. Here’s an episode.
Here’s some ads for Rax restaurants. This one features their spokesman in the 1980s, musician Big Al Anderson. Big Guy likes fast food. Trust Big Guy.
Prepare your OWN sandwiches from a salad bar? I’ll stay at home, thanks!
Then there’s Pasta Man. You know, Pasta Man. Big Al’s in there, too!
You want to turn my Rax into an Olive Garden? I’ll stay at home, thanks!
Shel Silverstein on the Johnny Cash Show
A magical segment from the Johnny Cash show where Shel Silverstein shows up to play “A Boy Named Sue” with Cash, followed by a solo “Daddy What If” that yanks my heart out.
How do you one-up those creepy Kewpie dolls? Make them slightly smaller and harder and shinier and sell them to young girls as charms to be worn around the neck. Large charms. Oodles!
Finally, an ad for the only skateboard you’ll ever need.