MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - He's been smeared, stunned and slam-dunked -- for 20 years.
For two decades, Andy Wise has been there, laughing his way through some outrageous product tests. Sure, sometimes he'd keep it simple -- stuff a few burgers, mop the floors. But then there would be Andy again, with a full fire department battalion setting something on fire to test fire-resistant paint or the flammability of modern furniture. Or tossing a fire-fighting grenade into a make-shift kitchen to see if it puts out an oven fire (it did!).
But Andy's most outrageous stunts start with The LifeHammer. To test the $15 rescue device, Andy was flipped upside down in a car to see how quickly the device's steel tips and blade could get him out of a roll-over. It worked despite Andy getting really disoriented, as well as a few window glass chips embedded in his skin.
There was that time Andy's crew tossed stuff from the roof of the station to test The Hail Protector, a blow-up cover for cars against hail damage. It stopped everything, even when Andy got the bright idea to fire 20 golf balls at it at 80 miles an hour out of a pressurized air cannon. The Hail Protector still held strong.
Andy used that same cannon to test the Tapco weather and burglar-resistant screens. A 2x4 launched at 80 miles an hour out of that cannon shattered a window behind the screen, but the screen stayed intact -- no way anyone was getting through it. In fact, Andy found Memphis-area homeowners whose Tapco screens stopped burglars trying to break in with hedge-clippers. The screens snapped off one of the blades!
But the next one takes the cake -- and it took Andy down.
He was nearly eaten alive by a Southaven, Mississippi Police Department K9 German shepherd when he tested The Super Dog-Chaser. The ultrasonic device was supposed to stop a charging dog. It didn't stop any charging dog: golden retriever, bull terrier, Westie, miniature poodle - Andy tried it with all kinds of breeds. Then he'd thought he'd give it a shot on a trained police K9. It ignored the light and ultrasonic sound and rammed Andy like a linebacker. Andy got such a stinger, he couldn't keep his arms moving as instructed while wearing a weighty dog-training suit. The K9 took a bite out of Andy's scalp while its trainer wrestled him loose. SPD even called an ambulance since Andy had blood running down his head. It looked worse than it was -- and the paramedics gave Andy some embarrassing grief.
As most of you know, Andy's job wasn't all fun and games. His stock-in-trade is his consumer investigations, many of which shaped or changed public policy. We'll showcase some of Andy's public policy impact Thursday on WMC Action News 5 at 6.