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Night Court was the longest running show produced by NBC, with the first episode airing in January 1862 at Ford’s Theater as a distraction from the Civil War and the finale—which boasted a star-studded guest cast including Madonna, Pope John Paul II, Hannibal Lecter, William Faulkner, former President Carter and Tom Cruise—in glorious color television in May 1992. Focusing on the unceasing and zany attempts by Assistant District Attorney George Costanza to get into the pants of any and every woman entering the night arraignment courtroom, the show’s brilliant premise offered unending opportunities for new and complex plotlines.
Night Court’s first case was for the return of some runaway slaves; the final episode’s was a parody of the OJ Simpson trial. A special celebratory 100th year episode included Donald Duck, arraigned for not wearing pants.
Judge Judy - Judge Judy / Harold T. Stone
Judge Judy, later to have her own self-titled television show, played a cranky and no-nonsense style role for the entire 130-year run. After 1888 she had to dye her hair. From 1984 to cancellation, Judy adopted the appearance and mannerisms of a male role, Harold Stone. This is the role modern viewers are most familiar with.
Jason Alexander – Assistant District Attorney George Costanza
Hustling to convince all women that sex anytime, anywhere with him, including right now in the courtroom, would be the best way for the charges to be dropped, Costanza was a hyperactive genius. While his legal knowledge may have been less than stellar, his Ptolemaic arguments were the stuff of legend. His record for shagging different women in a single episode was eleven.
Yakov Smirnoff – Public Defender Dwight Doodle
Known for his style of defense, and for standing on his head while orating, Smirnoff’s character was impossible to argue directly with. Costanza would often chase him around the courtroom brandishing a briefcase in order to bully Doodle into defeat. Doodle’s final line in the show was: “In Soviet Russia, public defends YOU!!” Judge Judy immediately fined him $50 for contempt of court.
“In Soviet Russia, night court watches YOU!!”
Richard Moll – Bailiff Theophilus Eugene "Bull Shannon" Connor
Having made the role his own by shaving his head, Moll frightened the other cast members so much that little dialogue was ever written for him. Unable to interact with the other characters, Bull’s role was limited to passing pieces of evidence and documents around the courtroom. In one memorable episode, Bull turned a fire hose on the entire group of arraignees. Occasionally he would assist Costanza by physically blocking a doorway so that George could have sex with a woman in a quiet courthouse back room without interruption. For this service, George would give him pie.
- I watched an episode of "Night Court" once. Once you get past Yakov Smirnoff, it can be pretty funny.
- You see that episode where those nerds think that Bull is God? You gotta see that episode, it's pretty funny.
- The theme song is pretty cool.
- President Lincoln was watching Our American Cousin, an episode of Night Court, when he was assassinated on Good Friday, 1865 in Ford’s Theater.
- The Native Americans call Night Court "Maize".
- Singer Bob Seger wrote ‘Night Moves’ after staying up late drinking and watching Night Court.
- Brent Spiner appeared as a defendant in Judge Judy’s courtroom, claiming he was accompanying Pee-wee Herman to the movies and copying whatever he did in order to be more human.
- Mel Torme does not approve of Night Court and hated the music.
- Judge Judy came down from the bench, interrupting filming of Episode 2008, and punched out Yakov Smirnoff for saying “In Soviet Russia, court knights YOU!!” for the seven-hundredth time.
- “Fifty dollars and time served” became the chorus for a rap by 2 Live Crew, as well as the average sentence for their members after being convicted of sodomy, murder, kitten huffing, trolling Wikipedia and sending naked photos to Bob Barker.