Off Limits

Puttin' on the Dog

 Dogpile: Duane "Dog" Chapman, Denver's very own celebrity bounty hunter, finally hit the bigtime last week when he guested on Hollywood Squares, a gig he snared through recent publicity over his capture of fugitive rapist Andrew Luster. It wasn't the quarter-of-a-million-bucks reward he was hoping for, but it was some consolation prize for the attention-loving Dog, who made his TV debut back in 2000 when he was the focus of a two-day shoot for "The Secret World of Bounty Hunters," a segment of the Learning Channel's The Secret World of... ("A Dog Gets His Day," March 30, 2000). At the time, Chapman had plans for a Walker, Texas Ranger-style action show, as well as a Cops-like reality series. Although neither came to fruition, he managed to gain international notoriety this past June when he tracked down Luster, the Max Factor heir, at a taco stand in Puerto Vallarta.

"Legendary bounty hunter Duane 'Dog' Chapman is truly an example of a redeemed life," reads the bio of the "bounty hunter/public speaker" on www.hollywoodsquares.com. "After serving two years of a five year prison sentence in 1977 he became a bounty hunter in order to pay off back child support that had accumulated while in prison. He caught his first bounty within a week and found a whole new calling. Today he has caught over 6,000 suspected and convicted criminals. Despite this record his attitude remains commendably humble and gives credit to the average American who was willing to give him information."

Hey, Dog never said he was an academic whiz...and he proved it when pitted against such Einsteins as Carrot Top, Martin Mull, Vicki Lawrence and Dr. Ruth. Too bad Squares didn't pair him with local luminaries -- just imagine Dog squaring off against this lineup of Denver stars, from shining to shooting:

: Katica Crippen, pinup girl for the right to bare arms ("Bulls Eyeful," February 13), who got popped for a parole violation when she posed with guns for a local photog who posted her steamy pictures on the Web.

: W. Bruce Cameron, the perfect substitute for Squares favorite John Ritter (now memorialized on its Web site), whose compilation of essays (many written for the Rocky Mountain News) in the book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter inspired Ritter's now-endangered ABC sitcom.

: John Hickenlooper, our public-appearance-happy mayor who'd go to the opening of an envelope, made his movie debut in a film made by his cousin, George Hickenlooper (see Pop Quiz, page 24), and is now slated to play a reporter in John Sayles's Silver City.

: Judy Collins, home-grown warbler and East High grad.

: Matthew Helms, the thirteen-year-old Lakewood kid who has eight minutes of scarifying screen time in Cabin Fever, now playing in a theater near you ("Raw Power," September 18). Pancakes! Pancakes!

: Gary Coleman, the diminutive California gubernatorial candidate who spent a pleasant period in the '80s living in Highlands Ranch, where he occupied a model home dubbed (not by him) "The Busy Woman's Dream House."

: Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star whose antics at Vail's Lodge & Spa at Cordillera last July has him racking up frequent-flier miles to Colorado.

: Thunder, an athlete and a gentleman.

Only the lonely: The Maytag Repairman didn't have anything on the Denver City Council Monday-night meeting, which was up against Monday Night Football's Denver Broncos/Oakland Raiders match and commercials featuring the Coors Light Twins. Even as Samuel L. Jackson offered a gravelly intro to the grudgefest -- "like good hates evil, and evil hates good" -- Denver's thirteen councilmembers gamely plunged forward, approving a measure saluting immigrant workers and, yes, another marking Orange Monday. For that vote, council president Elbra Wedgeworth donned a Bronco head and councilman Doug Linkhart offered a salute to any valiant souls "watching us on Channel 8 tonight."

Colleague Charlie Brown took home-field advantage to push one of his pet projects: saving the Denver Police Mounted Patrol. When Monday Night Football was in town a few years ago, he noted, "the whole world was watching" as ABC televised footage of the mounted police on the 16th Street Mall, a "powerful symbol." Now that the horses are on the chopping block, he added, "I hope Thunder is not the last horse standing in Denver."

Will the circle be unbroken? The Orchard Road Christian Center, that Pentecostal, speaking-in-tongues institution in Greenwood Village formerly known as the Happy Church, is now Lord of the Rings. With charismatic televangelist pastor Marilyn Hickey leading the charge, the church has added another gimmick to its very high-profile fundraising efforts: a ring. Not a particularly valuable ring, either, but one of those 25-cent-turn-your- finger-green suckers prized by kids the world over. With Hickey's blessing, however, the simple band gains "magical" powers.

"Maybe you need a TURNAROUND in your finances, health, or marriage," preaches Hickey in the direct-to-your-door mailer. "Perhaps you could use a TURNAROUND in your job; your career; your living conditions...No matter who it is that's giving you trouble or what it is that's hurting, hindering, or haunting you...God wants to make TODAY the DAY you begin to receive His MIRACLE TURNAROUND by faith. That's one of the reasons I've enclosed the simple gold-colored ring with this letter. All throughout scripture, we see where a ring often marked the MOMENT of a significant TURNING POINT.

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