July 5, 2023

It's a courtroom drama and a game show

Fans of classic television know all about subchannels like MeTV, Antenna, H&E, and the late, lamented Decades. But if you've ever surfed through the full range of subchannels in your area, you know there are two types of programs they can't live without: true crime shows and game shows. The problem is that you can't possibly keep track of the latest B-list celebrity trial while you're watching that episode of Match Game '76 where Charles Nelson Reilly tells the joke about Fannie Flagg's blank. If only there was some way to combine the two of them into one program, so that you can catch the Judge Steve Harvey show without missing Steve Harvey hosting Family Feud. But you've probably despaired at such a thing ever becoming a reality. 

Until now.

Yes, thanks to The Two Ronnies—the 1970s British comedy sketch show hosted by Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett—it turns out you can have it all: a program that's both a courtroom drama and a game show. Enertainment and a civics lesson, all at the same time; see how easy it is?

Personaly, I think a show like this has a lot of potential, but why limit it to the courtroom? It seems to me it would be an ideal format to adapt to C-SPAN's coverage of Congress. After all, there have to be places in the lineup for Let's Make a Deal and Sale of the Century, right?  TV  


  1. Decades is still in existence. For some reason its name was changed to "Catchy Comedy" (not a great name IMO), even though it still shows non-comedies, and I think it still shows "binges" of the same show all weekend.

    1. You're right - I think they've got the same ownership, but it's kind of like folding a sports franchise and then granting a new one in the same city, just with a different name. But that's all we need, another comedy channel.

  2. I had to do a little digging in the archives here: it was a number of years back that this real show came up.
    Many years ago The Saturday Evening Post had a feature that ran in their back pages, called You Be The Judge.
    A situation was brought up, that resulted in a court case: You (the reader) had to come up with the resolution.
    You Be The Judge ran in the SatEvePost for many years; as a kid, I never missed it.
    I've got several book collections of this that the SEP put out over the years: one in 1951, one in 1960, and one in 1979 - and there may have been others (I've been looking ...).
    So why didn't they do You Be The Judge on TV?
    They did!
    In 1961, CBS had a TV game show in daytime called Face The Facts, which was You Be The Judge in all but name.
    Face The Facts even used some cases that had appeared in the Post (I know this because I was a regular watcher that summer, and I compared the books with the show).
    Here's how the show worked:
    The host, Red Rowe, brought out actors playing Plaintiff and Defendant, who would argue their cases.
    Four civilian panelists would then wager points over who should prevail in the case.
    Whichever panelists decided the same way as the real court did would receive their points; whoever won the most points over the course of the half-hour (three cases per show) would win cash and prizes.
    Face The Facts didn't last long ( I think there may have been a copyright infringement thing with the SatEvePost, but I'm not sure), and was gone by late summer, replaced by something called Password.
    Anyway, that was the situation in 1961; all these years later, I still think that You Be The Judge (or whatever name you'd care to give it) would work just dandy as a regular TV game show ...
    ... but hey, that's me ...

    1. It sounds as if You Be the Judge is a little like a radio program I remember from the day called Point of Law where both sides were given, and you had the commercial break to figure out which way the court would rule. It was only a five-minute show, but I think that helped spur my early interest in the law. And I agree - I think it would make a fascinating show!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!