"Rain Man" question

Question about Rain Man, the classic 1988 film starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise: the Raymond character (Hoffman) liked looking at the original People’s Court so much (the one with Joseph Wapner) that he referred to it as “Wapner” (IIRC, his classic line from that film was ‘Time for Wapner’); now that Marilyn Milian is up there and Wapner is not (and the show is an hour now), would he have still enjoyed looking at the program as much as he did when Wapner was there?



Wait, I think I’m gonna go with yes.

No. Judge Wapner was very different from the current version of TV judges. He was very technical, and used a much more subdued approach. I doubt Raymond would have enjoyed the antics and lame jokes from the current batch. I doubt he would have enjoyed Jerry Sheindlin’s brief interlude on the People’s Court either.

I doubt it. Wapner was the main reason I watched the show; I loved watching him question the witnesses and then give his reasons for the verdicts he handed down.

He was quite a celebrity back in the day. I haven’t watched an episode of that show since he retired.

My favorite “People’s Court” was the one in which a really tall, kind of geeky-looking guy had been in an auto accident and had a near-death experience. While he was in the hospital, he decided (“resolved”) to finally get married, now that he was 30. So he chatted up the checkout girl at his local supermarket, and a few days later brought her an engagement ring.

She was dumbfounded. She was also already married. But she took the ring home with her and showed it to her husband, a beefy-looking guy with long hair, a mustache, and dark glasses. They claimed they thought the whole thing was a joke and threw the ring out.

The geeky guy’s sister was suing them to recover the cost of the ring. After Wapner had heard both sides, he ordered the checkout girl and her husband to hand over the money ($400–$600, IIRC), saying “What he [the geeky guy] did was certainly not within the norms of our society. [Wapner also hinted that he might benefit from psychological care.] But that does not give you the right to take advantage of him. And anyway, I don’t believe you threw the ring out. I just don’t believe it!”

Go, Judge Wapner; yeah! :cool:


It is really hard to know. Autistic people process sensory inputs differently than non-autistic people, so we don’t know what Raymond might have been responding to in the show. I remember reading a very early book about autism in which a young girl would usually throw huge screaming fits (see Raymond in the airport) if she had to get on a bus, but occasionally she could ride the bus with no problem. Her parents finally figured that she could not ride a bus if it was colored red, the usual color for local buses. But buses of other colors were not an issue. If Wapner was what Raymond responded to, then the change would have freaked him out completely. But if it was something else (the introductory music, for instance), then it might not have made a difference.

Now I’m hearing Dustin Hoffman saying, “No Wapner. Not the People’s Court. Not the People’s Court with no Wapner. No Wapner.”

So what you’re saying is, he won’t watch it even though it’s of the same title because to him, it’s like that in name only and not the way he remembers it? That’s how I gather what you’re saying.

Which is why he’s Judge Wapner, and I’m not. I would have ruled that unless geeky guy had actually "extracted"a promise of marriage from the checkout girl, the ring could be considered a gift, and she could do whatever she wanted with it. IANAL, but I think that had this been a criminal case of some sort, where a higher standard of proof is required, and not in small claims court, Wapner might have been wrong. But here he nailed it, and now I don’t believe the checkout girl either.

What would Rain Man have done during that long stretch of time between Wapner and Ed Koch when the People’s Court wasn’t even on the air? Watch VHS copies of Wapner?

I think he’d like some of Judge Judy’s sayings if not the show itself. I can just see him telling some girl Tom Cruise likes “Beauty fades, dumb is forever. Dumb is forever. Definitely forever”.

LOL…I can hear him say it…


Rain Man is my favorite movie of all times.

“three minutes till Wapner”…“yeah”…

Judge Wapner made a great appearance on The Tonight Show to arbitrate a (mostly gag) dispute between Johnny Carson and David Letterman over Carson having stolen Dave’s ratty old pickup truck that he still kept parked in the ritzy neighborhood that he & Carson both lived in out in California. Found it on YouTube.

Jesus fucking Christ, it was more than 25 years ago (I remember it like it was yesterday). Really funny bit, Johnny, Dave and Wapner all great some great laughs.

Sally Dibbs: Dibbs, Sally?

The science fiction TV show Sliders featured the characters traveling to alternate universes. In one episode, the world was communist. The characters were judged as subversives on The People’s Court, by Judge Wapner. Rusty Burrell and Doug Llewellyn were there too. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I’m definitely not wearing any underwear.

Funny this thread should come up today! I just watched this movie yesterday for the first time ever.

Darn! I prolly watched half of all the episodes, and that had to be one of the ones I missed!

I believe that was the pilot episode.