World's Wildest Police Videos

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World's Wildest Police Videos
World's Wildest Police Videos.jpg
Created by Paul Stojanovich
Presented by John Bunnell
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons Original series: 3+
Revived series: 1
No. of episodes Original series: 36+
Revived series: 13
Production
Running time 60 min.
Release
Original network Fox (1998–2001)
Spike (2012)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV; Spike run only)
Audio format Stereo
Original release Original series:
April 2, 1998 (1998-04-02) – July 27, 2001 (2001-07-27)
Revival:
May 7 – August 13, 2012 (2012-08-13)
Chronology
Preceded by World's Scariest Police Chases (1997 Pilot)

World's Wildest Police Videos is an American reality TV series that deals with police videos from across the world. Video footage of car chases, subsequent arrests, robberies, riots and other crimes appear on the show. The series ran on Fox from 1998–2002, and in season 4, the show shortened its name to Police Videos.[1] In 2012, Spike announced that it had commissioned 13 new episodes with the revival of the original name and John Bunnell returning as host,[2] which premiered on May 7, 2012 and ended on August 13, 2012.

Production[edit]

World's Wildest Police Videos began in 1998 and ran for four seasons, comprising a total of over 40 episodes before being officially cancelled in 2002. In Season 4 the show shortened its name to Police Videos.[3]

Most of the police videos featured on the show were from various U.S. police departments, but footage from other nations such as Argentina, Russia, Australia, and the United Kingdom also appeared. Video sources included cameras from police cars, helicopters, store security systems, news reporters, and private citizens from around the world. Much of the footage had previously only been seen by law enforcement officials.[4]

The show became popular with viewers. It had the highest ratings of any Fox network television special to that date. It was also featured on Entertainment Tonight and was re-aired later that month. It was the first sweeps-month special ever to run twice during a sweeps period by Fox.

Format[edit]

The series began with the series of specials World's Scariest Police Chases, which was broadcast on February 2, 1997. It was narrated by actor Peter Coyote, and featured commentary by Captain C. W. Jensen of the Portland Police Bureau. Five episodes of World's Scariest Police Chases aired, with the second on April 27, 1997, third on November 4, 1997, fourth on February 17, 1998, and the fifth on April 28, 1998.[5]

A further two special episodes called World's Scariest Police Shootouts aired around this time as well. The two episodes focused on police shootouts rather than chases themselves, although some of the clips featured a car chase along with a shootout. The first episode of World's Scariest Police Shootouts aired on February 15, 1997 and the second episode, World's Scariest Police Shootouts 2, aired on April 23, 1998. Both episodes were narrated and hosted by John Bunnell. The episodes featured more well known content, such as: the Murder of Darrell Lunsford, the 1991 Sacramento hostage crisis, white supremacist Chevie Kehoe and his shootout with police, and the 1996 Honolulu hostage crisis.[6]

After the first special of World's Scariest Police Chases, the show was broadcast weekly. It was hosted by John Bunnell, a retired police officer and former Sheriff of Multnomah County, Oregon. Bunnell's commentary was often characterized by multiple clichés, over-dramatic descriptions of the struggle between good and evil, the police and criminals, victims and abusers, etc. Although Bunnell hosted and commented on most of the show, most police video segments were dubbed with the actual law enforcement officials acting in the situation presented. Tire screeching noises, horn beeps, automobile collision sounds and sirens are often overdubbed into these segments. This is especially noticeable in footage where vehicles are driving over dry grass or sand, and the sounds of tire screeching can still be heard.

It has been widely noticed that the same voice is used in almost every helicopter footage scene, regardless of the location the footage is from. This uncredited guy is said to be that of Lawrence Welk III who usually goes by "Larry Welk," and is a reporter and helicopter traffic pilot for KCAL-TV and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. He is also the grandson of famed musician Lawrence Welk. In one episode, his voice is even used as that of an announcer at a motorcross rally.

Originally, a typical episode included sections entitled: "PIT maneuver," "Car Thieves," "Rainy Chase," "Big Rig Road Block," "Jumping Off Bridge," and "Drunk Drivers." This was soon dropped, and replaced with a string of clips, each commentated on by Bunnell. After a few videos, a small clip of Bunnell would be shown, often describing the police mentality behind the videos about to appear.

Occasionally, episodes were dedicated to police officers killed in the line of duty.

A video game based on the series was released for the PlayStation in 2001, entitled World's Scariest Police Chases, also featuring Bunnell. The game received mixed reviews, ranging from a 3.5/10 from GameSpot.com, to a 9/10 from Official PlayStation Magazine (UK).

In pop culture[edit]

In the Family Guy episode Quagmire's Baby there is a sequence of Fred Flintstone fleeing from the police in the family car, in an episode of World's Wildest Police Videos. Flintstone crashes, and attempts to flee on foot, but is delayed by the Hanna-Barbera skiddadle running effect. A similar sequence was used in the episode Something, Something, Something, Dark Side when TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer were chasing the Millennium Falcon. These sequences were narrated by Sheriff John Bunnell himself.

It was also parodied on MADtv as World's Queeniest Police Chases.

Worldwide syndication[edit]

Americas[edit]

Europe[edit]

Asia[edit]

Oceania[edit]

  • Australia: Some premiere episodes were shown on the Seven Network and Network Ten, and re-runs of all episodes appear on Fox8. Episodes of the 2012 series began airing on the Seven Network in 2013.

Africa[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]