“Ballad of Judge Wapner” Honors TV Legend on 100th Birthday | Song + Lyrics

Funny Stuff, Music, Radio Commercials

Grab your gavels for a big birthday: the late Judge Wapner would have turned 100 this month. It’s true. November 19, 2019 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Albert Wapner, legendary TV judge and pop culture icon.

Britannica reminds us of his significance: “Born November 15, 1919, in Los Angeles, California. Died February 26, 2017, in Los Angeles. American jurist and TV personality who presided (1981–93) over The People’s Court, an immensely popular syndicated TV show in which plaintiffs and defendants from California small claims court argued their cases and accepted the judge’s ruling.”

Back in the early 90s, Paul Fey and I were creating (as Paul & Walt Worldwide) a lot of radio and TV content for King World, the show’s syndicator. When we were tasked with finding a fresh approach for promoting it, I wrote the script (below) for “The Ballad of Judge Wapner,” a funny, 60-second radio commercial celebrating what fans loved about the show.

Here it is, voiced by the late Lance LeGault. It’s now captioned with lyrics, also posted beneath.

Lyrics by Walt Jaschek

MUSIC: COWBOY BALLAD-STYLE, UNDER

COWBOY: He sits in judgment
He stands for the law
Kinda looks like a hero
And sounds like your Pa

BACK-UP SINGERS: WAPNER!

MUSIC: HARMONICA WAILS

COWBOY: He smiles and he laughs
His voice tinged with gravel
But the bad-guys just gasp
When he bangs his big gavel

BACK-UP SINGERS: WAPNER!

COWBOY: Judge Wapner.

BACK-UP SINGERS: JUDGE WAPNER!

HARMONICA WAILS

COWBOY: When neighbors brawl
When lovers refute
When suppliers and buyers and liars dispute 
Wapner won’t let those lawbooks get dusty 
Got a buddy named Doug
And a sidekick named Rusty

BACK-UP SINGERS: RUSTY!

COWBOY: With Wapner.

BACK-UP SINGERS: JUDGE WAPNER!

HARMONICA WAILS

COWBOY: Doesn’t do it from towers
Doesn’t do it from steeples
He does it in court
A court called “People’s”

ANNOUNCER: Judge Wapner rules on “The People’s Court”

BACK-UP SINGERS: SONG OVER!

COWBOY: Song over.

HARMONICA WAILS, OUT

© Paul & Walt Worldwide

See also: 15 Funny Radio Commercials to Inspire More of the Same

Walt Jaschek is writer of comedy, comics and copy. Follow, like, comment!

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