This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," September 26, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, "ON THE RECORD" HOST: He's the world's most famous bounty hunter. His television show, "Dog the Bounty Hunter," is now in its fourth hit season. And he's the best-selling author of, "You Can Run But You Can't Hide." Duane "Dog" Chapman joins us in Honolulu. Welcome, Duane.
DUANE "DOG" CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: Hello, ma'am. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: Good. I like calling you "Dog" better, though. It's - - why did you get the name, "Dog," by the way?
CHAPMAN: It's God spelled backwards. Did you read the book?
VAN SUSTEREN: I did read the book, but you know, last time we had — but it's been a little while, you know, and things go right through my head after a while. It's, like, my brain's like a sieve sometimes. I read — in fact, I've read all...
CHAPMAN: Because you're so busy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, well, actually — well, let's talk about the book a little bit. Probably the most interesting thing about it is that you go out and you hunt — you go grab people who have got problems with the law, but you got a little taste of the problems yourself. You went to prison.
CHAPMAN: Well, I've — yeah. In the late '70s, I did an 18-month stretch in the Texas penitentiary. But I think that's where I literally saw the light. I made sure — you know, I did not like prison for several reasons, so I tried to do something that I would never go back to there for. So I got completely on the other side, which was, of course, law enforcement.
VAN SUSTEREN: How does having that — having that experience make you better at your job?
CHAPMAN: Well, I think it — you know, it shows that I have compassion or it helps me to have compassion. I understand, you know, the person I'm chasing. You don't go to a foot doctor if you have a headache. You know, you go to someone that you know could fix your foot. So I've lived with, you know, felons. I've been a convict. I understand how they think. I know their weaknesses. I know their strengths. And anytime you're, you know, hunting someone as prey, you need to know all those things.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dog, the book is a huge success. Been on the New York Times Best-Seller List. I think it's number 25 now, which is a great number, considering the book has been out so long. Why do you think the book has been so successful? Why do people love to read this?
CHAPMAN: Well, I think it has a lot to do with an American life. I mean, it was, you know — there is a story of redemption in there. There's a story of success. There's also the story of tragedy, of — you know, of some bad things. It's like a confessional. I think people like to read it because they can associate themselves to me in some way, and a lot of people read it and say, Thank God I'm not him.
But there's — you know, there is a lot of competition in the book world today, Greta. It's, like, unbelievable. You know, Mother Teresa, God has a book. I mean, the president has a book. His little girl is getting married. Rita Crosby's got her book out. I mean, it's a — it's a real market right now. So to be listed on the number one bestsellers list is quite a feat. We thank God for that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, I know that Beth looked at the book before it got published and had some comments. But in terms of what you wrote about yourself, did you hold anything back or sugarcoat anything?
CHAPMAN: Well, I didn't sugarcoat anything and I didn't hold anything back. I — you know — and people told me, Once you do this, Dog, people are going to get this book and start critiquing it and start, you know, tearing it apart and trying to — the ones that don't like me, try to tear it down and — of course — tear me down. And of course, that's already happened.
But like I say, it's like a confessional. I just laid it all on the altar. There you are. You know, you see the TV show. Now, after you read the book, come tell me, do you still like me?
VAN SUSTEREN: The world's absolutely most famous bounty hunter, Duane "Dog" Chapman, is still with us. Dog, all right, I told the viewers I was going to ask who Buttons is. So who's Buttons?
CHAPMAN: Buttons is a professional surfer that was born and raised in Hawaii, and he, you know, was the guy back in the day. Buttons is about 47 years old, and he, you know, almost ruined his life by getting hooked and doing heroin. He — we arrested him. A different bail company posted bond on him, and we arrested him for failure to appear.
VAN SUSTEREN: How'd you get him?
CHAPMAN: Buttons — well, we hunted him down. Basically, Beth — Beth was responsible for that bust. But we took out my stepson, Dominic (ph), on his birthday. We hunted Buttons down. But it's amazing that you ask about him. A&E, we're doing a show right now called "Where Are They Now?" And go back and visit Buttons to see how he's doing.
VAN SUSTEREN: And how is Buttons doing?
CHAPMAN: Buttons — I hope I don't give away the show, but Buttons is not doing what he did when I arrested him.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I won't- I won't go any further than that. All right. Where was he actually found? Because that's sort of an interesting twist. Or does that run the show, as well?
CHAPMAN: No. Buttons was found out by the beach, and when they'd just filmed him, you know, "where is he now", Buttons was out giving surfing lessons to young kids.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have success stories, in the sense you find someone who's really — who's on the run, not facing up to things, goes back into the system after you pick him up and then ends up being a success story?
CHAPMAN: Well, you know, there are several of them. There's about 40 percent of the people that end up on our show that have to get jobs, that have to do something. We've got — one of my brothers that I arrested told me, You know what, Dog? You guys ruined my life, my life of crime. He said, I was in K-Mart, and they said, "There's Bosco on aisle 6. He's on show 10 of Dog's." He said, "I had to go get two jobs, Dog. Everywhere I went, people locked their cars. They know who I am." He said, "You ruined my life of crime."
So I think it — it's helping these guys to get out there. People know, you know, that they were predators and they're watching them. So they can't be stealing while their backs are turned. They've got to actually get real jobs.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Has it gone so far as that you've made any friends out of this?
CHAPMAN: Well, you know, I've made several friends. I've tried to make them all my life. And I've also got too hot to the fire once in a while. So you know, that's what Beth is all about. She takes care. She's very discreet to know who — what friends we have. But we'll always be brothers. We'll always be friends. It's just that I may not hang out with them. I've got a family to hang out with.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Dog...
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. Go ahead.
CHAPMAN: Greta, may I ask you a question?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.
CHAPMAN: I heard — I've seen you're doing O.J. Simpson's case, a very good job, you're doing. And he did post bail, didn't he?
VAN SUSTEREN: He did post bail, yes. He posted, I think it was $114,000 or $113,000 you know, like I told you, Dog, my mind's a sieve. But he posted bail over $100,000, and he is out. He's not on the run, as far as we know.
CHAPMAN: No, but if he would go on the run, what bounty hunter do you think in the world could catch him?
VAN SUSTEREN: I have no doubt in my mind. I don't think anybody watching this show has any — in fact, I think that's why he's not going to run, Dog. I think that's the very reason. In fact, he's heard — he's heard rumors that, you know, you're going to dog him.
CHAPMAN: Well, I've heard that he heard a rumor, and I hope he doesn't run. But if he does, you know, fee, fi, fo, fum, look out, O.J., here we come.
VAN SUSTEREN: And that's why — that's why the rest of us don't get into trouble, either, Dog, because we just don't want you chasing us down. Anyway, Dog, always nice to see you.
CHAPMAN: Yes, ma'am. Thank you very much. Aloha. Thank you for having me on your show.
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