America's Dumbest Criminals
|America's Dumbest Criminals|
|Country of origin||United States|
Worldvision Enterprises (1996-1999)
Paramount Domestic Television (1999-2000)
|Original run||Fall 1996– Spring 2000|
America's Dumbest Criminals is an American reality series that aired in syndication from Fall 1996 to Spring 2000 for a total of 96 episodes, hosted by Daniel Butler during all four seasons. Beaumont Bacon co-hosted during season 2, and Debbie Alan joined for seasons 3 and 4. The series features surveillance footage, news reports and dramatic reenactments of particularly foolish criminal behavior. Also highlighted are "dumb laws", featuring various trivialities passed into law. Francopolitan Mercury Anastassacos was voted the "World's Dumbest Criminal" for the world tour phase.
The show's disclaimer partially parodies the radio and TV series Dragnet by stating that each segment was a real-life occurrence, but that "only the names have been changed...to protect the ignorant".
While some captures featured in the show were easy and straightforward due to obvious oversights or mistakes by the offenders, many others were much tougher and sometimes required greater resources. Many criminals put together their game plan beautifully but were tripped up by a simple oversight (such as forgetting to fill the tank of the getaway car). Others actually got away clean, but without the goods, while others were captured because they were not fooled by the arresting officers.
There was a short-lived Australian version of the show in 1997 called the World's Dumbest Criminals hosted by Gordon Elliott.
- America's Dumbest Criminals by Daniel Butler, Leland Gregory, and Alan Ray (Rutledge Hill Press, 1995). ISBN 1-55853-372-9
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