View Full Version : Unsolved Mysteries v. America's Most Wanted
01-30-2007, 02:18 AM
Because I've been going through UM withdrawls lately, I've found that I've been watching a lot more AMW on television. While I feel that both shows have their strong and weak points, does anyone else feel that AMW has gotten totally campy over the years?
I don't mean any disrespect to the show. I respect John Walsh's work and how the show has captured so many fugitives in its 20 years on the air. However, the format doesn't seem to agree with me. I'm not a fan of all of the different correspondants. It also seems like the show is moving at a MUCH faster pace as compared to the show in it's early 1990's.
I don't know... I'm putting it to the boards. In the red corner: Unsolved Mysteries. In the blue corner: America's Most Wanted. Who comes out on top?
Let's get it on! ;)
01-30-2007, 02:31 AM
UM in a landslide. I haven't cared for AMW in over ten years. UM was great all the way until the end.
For those who don't agree with me, I will send "Megadeth guy" over to your house with some cigarettes!
01-30-2007, 10:26 AM
Definitely UM and not just because I'm a member of this board. I think the objective person would probably say UM as well because UM is more of a production, i.e. it tells stories, while AMW is basically an informative show. I think the UM disclaimer sums it up: "this is not a news broadcast", whereas AMW could easily have said "this is a news broadcast". The segments on AMW could easily be shown on your local news, and oftentimes are. Some of UM's segments obviously wouldn't be shown on the local news. So as far as which is suited better for television, I think UM wins because it's more of a production drama while AMW is more of a production news broadcast.
01-30-2007, 11:37 AM
No contest. Unsolved Mysteries.
I'm in agreement with everything you said CRicci about the pace, amount of "reporters", etc.
But what puts UM miles ahead of AMW is the host. Robert Stack was flawless on this show. There's something about John Walsh that just doesn't set right with me - and that's excluding all the gossip about her personal life. I guess for me it comes down to sincerity and I don't get that vibe with Walsh.
I generally like UM better. But I am still devoted to AMW. Indeed, there are differences between the two shows, especially the production, but I think that was meant to be. While UM and AMW shared the same type of format, I like the fact that UM was generally its own show as much as AMW was generally its own show. But it was (and still is) their success in solving cases that truly mattered.
01-30-2007, 04:52 PM
UM all the way.......
Mainly because I think they go much more in depth with their cases and actually do (somewhat) detailed reenactments, whereas AMW could easily pass for a weekly edition of your local town's 'Crime Stoppers'.
I respect John Walsh, what he does and why he does it.......but he doesn't have the sheer presence that Robert Stack does........Walsh reminds me more of the cop that hosts 'World's Scariest Police Chases'. Stack, IMO, has much more of that old-school 'noir'-type presence that allows him to be intimidating & mysterious at the same time.
Plus.......did AMW ever have to have a disclaimer that ran before any segments?? I think not.
01-30-2007, 05:11 PM
Stack, IMO, has much more of that old-school 'noir'-type presence that allows him to be intimidating & mysterious at the same time.
You can't be Eliot Ness without having that "old-school noir" type of presence. Just sayin' :)
01-30-2007, 06:13 PM
I much rather UM.
01-30-2007, 06:14 PM
Rock 'em, sock 'em wipeout. Block off early. AMW can't even hold my attention anymore. I'll have it on but by the end of the hour I'm looking at the summary pictures trying to remember a single aspect of any of the segments. That happens time after time now, as opposed to the early years when I'd be riveted throughout and retain every detail.
I'm sure most of it is due to production changes, things CRicci mentioned. But it's partially that John Walsh simply lacks the class and aura of a Robert Stack. I can't imagine Stack with the vicious facial expressions that Walsh often features, or juvenile reliance on terms like dirt bag or slime ball. There is absolutely no need for that and it IMO it lessens Walsh, and therefore the show. The comparison to the host of the police chase videos is excellent. He relies on the same pathetic language and emphasis.
Don't get me wrong, I greatly respect everything Walsh is done. He also cut some excellent and much appreciated commercials for a candidate I did some work for this cycle. I'm simply turned off by demeaning terms when they are unnecessary. Make your point with specifics from the case, and the put downs are superfluous.
01-30-2007, 06:31 PM
I use to watch AMW all the time, now it is a rare thing that I watch it. I much prefer UM. I think it's great that AMW is on & they help in captures but to me UM is a much better show.
01-31-2007, 12:12 AM
Hmm, I know John Walsh endorsed Ross Miller who now is the Secretary of State in Nevada but I wont ask whether or not that was who you worked for Awsi since it was obvious you didnt wanted to keep that private. I like John Walsh and greatly respect the guy and I hope he runs for congress. I know they have been trying to run for congress down in Florida as a republican so we will see what happens whether or not he runs against one of the two new Florida dems Ron Klein or Tim Mahoney. I know Walsh still has a h ome there in addition to a home in the DC suburbs. AMW has a more fast paced format than it used to and it has its positives and negatives like any other show but I watch it wheneveR I can and I think they produce some good segments and profile some unique people. If I had to pick between the two I would pick UM but I think AMW is still a very good show and obviously well loved. The ratings are still good, they still catch fugitives and when they canceled it in 1996 or 1997 there was a large public outcry and they put it back on the air. I like both shows and AMW does a good mix of homicide, fugitives, missing people, e tc. While Unsolved mysteries did that too, they did lost loves which I didnt mind but some people disliked.
01-31-2007, 12:16 AM
I actually think Walsh's personality and abrasive nature actually add to the show and make people like him and the show more not less. I agree that Walsh overdoes it sometimes with the "lets get this slimeball off the streets tonight" or "this punk needs to go down and find his way into a 6 x 9 cell right now." An earlier poster remarked that Walsh reminded them of the guy that hosts World's wildest police videos. I agree with that. I had never thought of the similiarity between the two before but they are quite similiar. I cant remember the cops name, John something, John Burnell? He was a Sergeant I believe with either the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department or the Broward County Sheriff's Department. I know it was in south Florida. But I think Walsh is largely genuine in the way he acts on the show, due to his personal background he has an attitude towards criminals that even your most pro punishment person wouldnt have unless they have experienced what Walsh has. I think he overdoes it on the dramatics a little bit but I think he is genuine and I will give it to Walsh for being a straight shooter and telling it like it is. Like when he found Ira Einhorn in France and confronted him on the streets over there and was getting in his face and stuff.
01-31-2007, 01:15 AM
John Walsh didn't use that type of language early in AMW's run. He was much more matter-of-fact and let the cases speak for themselves. I appreciated that approach much more, although it's certainly possible the bulk of the audience feels the other way. You might need a gimmick to maintain audience level with so many alternatives. Funny, in my previous post I almost used the Ira Einhorn example as one where I knew Walsh had lost it. I was almost wishing Einhorn had laughed in his face, asking Walsh if he was running for something.
Speaking of that, Florida is severely and ridiculously gerrymandered. The Mahoney seat is extremely vulnerable so Walsh or any top Republican could probably take that one, especially in a presidential year. I would stay away from the Klein district, which is much tougher in comparison. The other competitive district is the Buchanon/Jennings race in the Sarasota area but it looks like Buchanon will hold that seat after the electronic machine controversy with the surreal percentage of undervotes. BTW, the new Florida gov Crist has been surprisingly moderate to begin his term and will apparently propose to do away with the electronic machines next week in favor of optical scan with paper trails.
01-31-2007, 02:24 AM
John Walsh didn't use that type of language early in AMW's run. He was much more matter-of-fact and let the cases speak for themselves. I appreciated that approach much more, although it's certainly possible the bulk of the audience feels the other way.
I totally agree! That was what I was trying to say in the original post. I remember being totally into AMW when I was younger, mainly because UM scared the hell out of me. I used to watch both shows with my mother religiously, but as a pre-teen, my loyalties were with AMW. The reason I brought up the thread to begin with was because I've watched 2 or 3 episodes of AMW in the last couple of weeks and I severely dislike the direction the show has went in.
As a "junior" prosecutor, I do understand how Walsh wants to tag these criminals "scumbags," etc. The problem that I have with it now is that this sort of language would NEVER get past a judge in a court of law. I've done criminal prosecutions, and I think I would get tossed out of court if I called an alleged perp "a scumbag," or if I urged a jury to put them in a "6x9 cell where they belong." I've found, as a lot of people have already mentioned, that it's easier to show the facts to a jury and let the folks decide for themselves. Stack used this approach, and I do believe it IS what made UM so effective. Walsh DOES seem to cram it down our throats and it's starting to appear insincere to me.
01-31-2007, 03:08 AM
I think I would get tossed out of court if I called an alleged perp "a scumbag,"
Give it a shot
01-31-2007, 05:11 AM
I've found, as a lot of people have already mentioned, that it's easier to show the facts to a jury and let the folks decide for themselves. Stack used this approach, and I do believe it IS what made UM so effective. Walsh DOES seem to cram it down our throats and it's starting to appear insincere to me.
That is an interesting question, the role of the host or moderator of a true crime program. Now that I've been thinking about it after CRicci's post, every one who I've respected the most has more or less played it straight down the line, as a reporter not an accuser. Although Ira Einhorn had already been convicted in absentia and was obviously guilty, in many instances it's someone who would likely face a jury if apprehended. The Sandy Murphy/Rick Tabish and Margaret Rudin cases are two from Las Vegas that reached a jury, ultimately with opposite judgments, after the accused were tried on murder charges following segments on UM and AMW. Murphy and Tabish did not flee but Rudin had.
01-31-2007, 06:30 AM
I like both but obviously Unsolved Mysteries better. Unsolved Mysteries is what I grew up on and watched since special 1. I find UM more entertaining and it as a high re-watch factor. Of John Walsh's shows I'd actually prefer Manhunter. It was sort of like AMW and UM's "WANTED" segments combined.
01-31-2007, 03:58 PM
Actually, I think Walsh did want Einhorn to like laugh in his face or pop off to him or something just so Walsh would have an excuse to go off on him. I know the republicans have courted Walsh to run in the past and they wanted him to run against Mahoney after the Foley scandal erupted. But you are right Awsi, Mahoney's district is severely gerry mandered and I am not a psychic but I do think Mahoney will go down in 08 regardless of what republican runs against him. Mahoney barely won in 06, in a big dem year and the republican running against Mahoney only had a month to campaign and he had to run under Foley's name which was still on the ballot and he still lost by less than 1 percent. I know Walsh at least used to live in Hollywood, Florida which would be Ron Klein's district I believe. Republican Clay Shaw held it for the longest time until he lost to Klein last year but that is a dem leaning district. I think Walsh would be the only republican that could knock off Klein. I know this isnt a politics site but I just find it interesting, Walsh's political aspirations. I do think he will run for something at some point. But he is 61 and turns 62 late this year so he better get moving. I think Walsh's son goes to college in south Florida somewhere, Ft. Lauderdale I think so that is what made me think he might run against Klein but I cant remember if Walsh's home down there is Ft. Lauderdale, or Palm Beach. I do think if he ran he would move to Mahoney's district if he doesnt already live there and run against him. I like Crist a lot, I was down in Florida when he got sworn in and he has been very moderate. The dems I think like him more than the republicans do right now. Vern Buchanan I think is in to stay but it will be a re-match between him and Jennings next year.
I know this isnt a politics site but I just find it interesting, Walsh's political aspirations. I do think he will run for something at some point. But he is 61 and turns 62 late this year so he better get moving.
I think he would win handily if he ran for office. But here's how I see it: If John Walsh were to run for office, he would have to either cut back on AMW or quit the show altogether. Therefore, Walsh is much better where he is now. As far as I'm concerned, it's just not worth sacrificing the show just to enter a political career.
On a similar topic, I read somewhere that Fox once considered Rudy Giulani as a potential host for AMW. Giuliani's reputation as a successful prosecutor made him a credible choice. However, given his political aspirations, the network felt that Giuliani might use AMW only as a stepping-stone to his eventual political career. So Fox decided against hiring him, and, in retrospect, it was the right move.
01-31-2007, 09:45 PM
Yes, if Walsh did run for office I am sure he would have to give up the show or at least greatly scale back his involvement. If he did run for the U.S. house it looks like he would run against Ron Klein. I believe Walsh still has a home in that district although his primary home is in DC. Walsh's son goes to college in Klein's district. I do think Walsh would win regardless if where he ran, I just think he has that kind of star power. Walsh is officially a registered independent but you can tell he is a republican and most of the candidates he supports are republicans although he has endorsed at least one democrat out in Nevada. However in Florida Walsh endorsed Charlie Crist last year and he also endorsed Clay Shaw who lost to Ron Klein after serving 26 years in congress.
01-31-2007, 10:06 PM
Unsolved Mysteries wins everytime for me!!!
I love AMW, don't get me wrong, but nothing holds a candle to UM!!! :D
01-31-2007, 10:53 PM
I agree with Kane, that Walsh is better off staying where he is. That show may have declined, IMO, but it's very valuable and no guarantee it would maintain its standing with a new host. No way Walsh could host the show while also a partisan political candidate/office holder.
But if he does run, he shouldn't get cute and challenge Ron Klein. That district has a partisan index of many points Democratic, something like five. In other words, it votes about 5 points toward the Democratic candidate on average, compared to how the nation votes. Kerry won the district in 2004 despite receiving only 47% in Florida. The Mahoney district is just the opposite, a significant partisan index in favor of the GOP. Plus Mahoney is a weaker opponent than Klein, who has a long history in the Florida state senate including minority leader.
IMO, Walsh would be nuts to challenge Klein. You don't want to give up a cushy and productive position on that type of roll of the dice. Lynn Swann severely over reached last year and tried to win the governorship of Pennsylvania. That was crack pot, considering the challenge he faced, against an incumbent with Philadelphia roots and major money raising strength, Ed Rendell. Plus it was a second term midterm year. And with Rick Santorum an obvious anchor atop the party ticket in the state. I post on a USC site and mentioned those major negatives a year ago at this time but many posters were blindfolded, and convinced Swann could pull it off. He got buried. Walsh would no doubt be very competitive but let's put it this way, the betting odds starting out would be near 50/50, or slightly in Klein's favor.
Plus, you've got to consider the current dynamic. The House is not friendly to those in the minority. Dramatically less influence. Walsh would be pursuing a seat in the minority, in all likelihood. I'm not saying that due to partisanship. It's simply a fact that it's a big underdog the GOP will reclaim the House in 2008, given the current numbers and the projected retirements, and the partisan index of the districts that are in the balance. It would probably take a major swing in national mood for the House to flop in 2008.
Well, this has been way too much poli-talk for this forum. But interesting today that another celebrity will apparently run for office in 2008, Al Franken pursuing the Minnesota senate seat currently held by Norm Coleman, who won the seat after Paul Wellstone's death in a plane crash shortly before the 2002 midterm.
02-01-2007, 01:30 PM
I prefer UM to AMW for one reason more than any other. I don't get the same fear spawned adrenaline rush from AMW that I do from UM when I watch late at night. AMW is dedicated to catching known criminals rather than explaining the unexplained. It just doesn't provide the same sense of unease for me. Not that I don't think these cases should be solved, I just don't get as much enjoyment from the show.
I agree with Kane, that Walsh is better off staying where he is. That show may have declined, IMO, but it's very valuable and no guarantee it would maintain its standing with a new host.
That is obviously why Fox didn't want to take a chance with Rudy Giuliani. While Giuliani was a credible candidate for the hosting job, and is generally a good man, my guess is that the network didn't want to hire someone who would host the show for just a few years, and then leave for a political run. I'm sure that, deep down, some of the people at Fox felt that AMW had some good potential for a very long run. So the consenus could be that if they had chosen Giuliani, and then he hosted the show until his eventual run for mayor in 1993 (five years after the series debuted), there's no guarantee that AMW would still be on today.
Having said that, it is also evident that they wanted to hire someone who was more consistently devoted to the hosting duties, someone who is unlikely to use the job as a springboard to another professional goal. That way, the chances of AMW becoming something of a revolving door for hosts would be minimal.
02-01-2007, 06:15 PM
No contest. Unsolved Mysteries.
There's something about John Walsh that just doesn't set right with me - and that's excluding all the gossip about her personal life.
HER personal life???
Who are you talking about??
02-01-2007, 06:26 PM
You're comparing apples and oranges because AMW often profiles more recent cases and it has that live feel and is only recorded a few days before with telephone operators ready to take your call during the show and during the week.
But UM is more of a drama type documentary show that profiled crimes, missing people, and other topics as well. And UM's cases were generally older and it didn't have that same live feel as AMW although UM did (and still does) have a toll free number but I don't know how often, if ever, there was a live person you could ever talk to.
So, although they have their similarities they are 2 different shows that can appeal to different viewer appetites.
02-01-2007, 08:28 PM
HER personal life???
Who are you talking about??
I guess this is how rumors get started. My mistake. I meant HIS personal life.
Thanks for the laugh.
02-02-2007, 02:25 AM
I guess this is how rumors get started. My mistake. I meant HIS personal life.
Thanks for the laugh.
What is all this gossip about John Walsh's personal life??
02-04-2007, 12:42 AM
I'll never have the same feelings for AMW as I do UM but I try to catch AMW whenever I can. In fact I'm watching it right now.
The reason why AMW's still on the air and UM is not is because AMW's primary focus is catching criminals, and there will always be a demand for that. UM profiled criminals and unsolved crimes but for every segment about that there was another about ghosts or UFOs or psychics which unfortunately made the show the target of ridicule (UM's choices for segments in the late 90s didn't help either).
I don't get the criticism when you think about how many criminals would still be out there if it wasn't for the show. Yeah, John Walsh's language is eye-rolling (although he's toned it down recently, it was REALLY bad around 5/6 years ago when he was wearing leather jackets and hanging around bikers) and the overuse of 'correspondents' seems superfluous. Another big difference in AMW and UM is that UM's Wanted/Missing Persons/Unexplained Death segments were about cases that, on average, were about 2/3 years old while AMW often tackles cases that are 'fresh', sometimes only days old.
Tonight during one of AMW's cases they had psychologist Dr. Jack Levin making commentary. I thought, 'he looks familiar', i.e. UM familiar. Then I remembered he was on the 1991 UM segment about the Rogers family triple murder.
02-04-2007, 01:43 AM
You know, I was actually partial to AMW when Walsh went around wearing the leather jackets... it was that "good" sort of bad, if you know what I mean.
And I agree about UM covering UFO's and the like. It did make it a very distinctive show from AMW, and in my opinion, it made it distinctive to it's detriment.
02-04-2007, 02:44 AM
Well AMW was pretty good tonight. In some ways the fact AMW covers mostly fairly recent cases is good. On the other hand it also hurts because old cases that could potentially be solved get passed up. However on tonight's episode for instance, truly stunned at the level of violence in teen relationships. It is an epidemic that is for sure.
Walsh is a guy that gets quite emotional, he truly cares what he is talking about and because of that he has a tendency to over do it with the name calling aka "lets get this slimeball off the streets tonight" or "lets give this punk a one way ticket to a 6 X 9 cell tonight."
Someone mentioned Walsh being bad 5 or 6 years ago and having toned down some since then. Well 5 or 6 years ago his wife and him were actually seperated and nearly divorced before reconciling. I am assuming Walsh was going through a ton of stress and it probably showed on the show. I think Walsh is a guy where he cares a lot and is very passionate about what he does but because of this he also has a tendency to get overly emotional and be overly hard on himself and he seems like the kind of guy that tends to not handle a lot of stress well.
02-04-2007, 05:01 PM
AMW isn't meant for style,its pretty much more of solid hour crime stoppers type show
where as unsolved mysteries present itself as a mystery thriller.john Walsh isn't really trying to entertain he's trying to inform.its like trying to compare a Gothic crime noir detective novel to a gritty true crime novel.or comparing the crow to the punisher. same ideas different presentations
AMW isn't meant for style,its pretty much more of solid hour crime stoppers type show where as unsolved mysteries present itself as a mystery thriller.john Walsh isn't really trying to entertain he's trying to inform.its like trying to compare a Gothic crime noir detective novel to a gritty true crime novel.or comparing the crow to the punisher. same ideas different presentations
I couldn't have said it better myself. :cool:
02-05-2007, 11:55 AM
The Great One
02-10-2007, 04:56 PM
Definitely Unsolved Mysteries all the way!!!
I prefer the unsolved mysteries. They have such a variety of shows that it
keeps me interested in watching to see what they'll show next.
02-10-2007, 05:08 PM
UNSOLVED MYSTERIES is my pick. I think they give a lot more details and re create scenes better. Plus Unsolved Mysteries shows a lot more kinds of different cases not just missing persons or murders.
05-14-2007, 08:08 PM
I also prefer UM. People like the dimunitive walsh should keep their Napoleon complex to himself. Stack was married only once and speaks fluent Italian, French, and is conversant in other languages. He is a linguist. As a result, he can pronounce and articulate himself without getting to the street vernacular (ie "Coward" and "Slimeball."):p
Don't forget "Scumbag," too. That's one of my personal favorites from Walsh... :) I, too, prefer UM, but I do have respect for John Walsh because he channeled his anger and grief into something that genuinely has helped society. I wish more people could find that kind of strength.
...does John Walsh have an ego problem? That would be disappointing....
...does John Walsh have an ego problem? That would be disappointing....
I doubt it. But if anything, I would say that many of today's Hollywood celebrities have far worse ego issues than John Walsh ever has (or will).
05-14-2007, 09:18 PM
AMW has never been as good since it went to an hour. I was absolutely wrong about that at the time, circa 1990. It seemed like a perfect show to expand to an hour and include more segments.
But once it went to an hour the quality declined dramatically. It lost the concise examination of the cases. The recreations started to wander with needless excess. And Walsh contributed to the freefall by adopting the biker jackets and the absurd vocabulary, almost a parody of a serious host. Every time a program focuses on the John List case they always show the clip of John Walsh with the famous Frank Bender bust. Walsh is classy in a dark suit, such a contrast to what he became later.
Many, many times in recent years I've tried to watch AMW regularly again. It can't hold my interest for even a half hour.
I don't know about Walsh's ego. But I do remember one time I saw a series of quotes from him bragging about what a womanizer he was in his youth, saying he had enough fun for 25 men.
05-17-2007, 06:12 PM
Unsolved Mysteries all the way for me :)
vBulletin v3.5.0, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.