Nearly every preceding article on the GTO Judge and its development explains the inspiration behind the package's naming. The credit immediately goes to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In for its recurring skit, "Here Comes The Judge." While the television show certainly deserves recognition for initiating the craze, HPP has pored over countless resources to create, what may be the most telling chronological record of the phrase over the years, and how it relates to Pontiac's super car.
According to comedian Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham in his autobiography Here Come The Judge, he coined the phrase for a routine in his standup comedy act.
Pigmeat Markham performs his skit "Here Comes The Judge" on The Ed Sullivan Show. He went on to perform it several more times, while wearing a judge's robe and loudly handing down judgment.
March 25, 1968
As a guest on the very popular Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In variety show, Sammy Davis Jr. dons judicial garb and shuffles across stage chanting "Here comes the judge." The phrase becomes instantly hip with pop culture and proved a leading catchphrase for the era. Davis later credits Markham, his longtime friend, for the inspiration. It became a regular skit in the episodes and seasons that followed, and Davis, Markham, and Flip Wilson each portrayed the judge for it. The episode was rerun throughout the summer.
April 28, 1968
Frederick "Shorty" Long completes production of his song "Here Comes The Judge" at Motown's Hitsville studio in Detroit.
May 7, 1968
Motown releases a 45-rpm single with Shorty Long's "Here Comes The Judge" on Side 1 and "Sing What You Wanna" on Side 2.
June 1, 1968
"Here Come The Judge" by Shorty Long enters Billboard's Hot 100 chart at No. 83. It remains on the chart for 11 weeks, peaking at No. 8 for the week of July 6. It also reaches No. 4 on the R&B chart in that same period.
June 1, 1968
"Here Come The Judge" by The Magistrates enters Billboard's Hot 100 chart at No. 100. It remains on the chart for seven weeks peaking at No. 54 the week of July 6.
June 1, 1968
"Here Come Da Judge" by The Buena Vistas enters Billboard's Hot 100 chart at No. 94. It remains on the chart for four weeks peaking at No. 88 the week of June 22.
June 15, 1968
"Here Come The Judge" by Pigmeat Markham on the Chess Records label of Chicago, Illinois, enters Billboard's Hot 100 chart at No. 82. The comedy recording remains on the chart for eight weeks, peaking at No. 19 the week of July 27.
Pontiac prints its Performance brochure. It teamed with editors from four leading car magazines to road test the Division's top performance vehicles for the 1969 model year. Hot Rod magazine runs a Judge prototype through the paces. At the time the photos were taken, The Judge was unadorned, but Pontiac calls it by name in the publication.
September 26, 1968
Pontiac issues Car Distribution Bulletin 69-21, which instructs Zone reps to notify dealers of a special GTO named "Judge." It advises that details will follow and production is expected to begin around January 1, 1969.
December 8, 1968
Several GTO Judges (and Firebird Trans Ams) are on display for introduction to the automotive press at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California.
December 12, 1968
Pontiac issues Car Distribution Bulletin 69-48 announcing the availability of The Judge package for GTO models. It advises that final price isn't yet available, but production is scheduled to begin in late January 1969.
December 19, 1968
Pontiac issues a press release, complete with photographs, detailing the new Judge package.
January 14, 1969
Pontiac issues a press release announcing the MSRP for the new GTO Judge. Base price for hardtop models is $3,493, while convertibles sell for $3,719.
Mid-to-late January 1969
Judge production begins at all A-body assembly plants.
Late January/early February 1969
Judge models ship to Pontiac dealers.