Midnight Patrol - Location Shooting

There was no location shooting.

This picture was late, the studio had missed the release date, and after the first pass at a story -- entitled TICKETS FOR TWO about "a couple of prize fight enthusiasts" -- it had been completely abandoned. The writers would start over. Now in desperation, whatever they made would have to be produced as quickly and therefore as cheaply as possible. The Laurel & Hardy company never left the studio making what they shot as CALLING ALL CARS. Whether or not the opening patrol car footage (with its first person point of view), speeding through the dark streets of Los Angeles, was shot as second unit work, or purchased outside as stock footage, is unknown.


The first half of the picture was filmed on the back lot, outside, at night. This cost extra, but it looked real, and it looked good. The police car drives up and stops at a curb beside a call box. It doesn't matter to Stan and Ollie that a printed warning declares, in plain view, "No parking." No-o-o-o parking. No parking. Getting out of their car, in what evidently amounts to self-regulation, Stan performs a police task which is now the province of so-called "meter maids," and marks his own front tire with chalk! So if they remain in the no parking zone too long, Stan will presumably write himself a parking ticket. Won't he?

Their car is parked on the easily recognizable back lot street used in such pictures as THICKER THAN WATER (1935), YOU'RE DARN TOOTIN' (1928), and THE SECOND HUNDRED YEARS (1927), where in that one they were escaping from the police.

Reel two dispatches Stan and Ollie to 24 Walnut Avenue, actually a set inside stage four, of course never as interesting as location shooting. THE MUSIC BOX was supposed to take place at 1127 Walnut Avenue. Both were false addresses, and whatever significance -- if any -- Walnut Avenue held for anyone at the studio remains a mystery. Although a dentist and fishing buddy of Stan Laurel named Dr. Jay Gates did live on Walnut Avenue, albeit in Santa Cruz, far away from Los Angeles.

There are many Walnut Avenues in Los Angeles. The closest to the studio was south of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (Clover Field) in the Venice District.

It is curious at the outset the police dispatcher can somehow divine from his remote location that thieves are removing car thirteen's tires, but the same genius doesn't know he's sending the two daring officers to subdue enemies of the law at the home of their police chief.

"Hurry boys."

-- by Richard W. Bann --