Midnight Patrol - Production Sidelights

As part of the plot, THE MIDNIGHT PATROL features the attempted robbery of a jewelry store by Frank Terry, a very funny man, with a pretty shady real-life past himself.

Hal Roach happened to be co-owner of a jewelry store. It was located on the west end of the Sunset Strip, at the edge of Beverly Hills, and was called Roach and Driver, Inc. On October 18, 1937, Hal Roach was in New York on business when his office there received a wire from headquarters in Culver City: "ADVISE MR ROACH TWO ARMED BANDITS HELD UP ROACH DRIVER AT NINE THIS MORNING TAKING EVERYTHING STOP ROBBERS BOUND AND GAGGED TWO CLERKS AND A MAILMAN WHO WALKED IN MAKING THE MATTER A FEDERAL OFFENSE."


Almost immediately, a lawsuit was filed against Roach by a New York supplier who had consigned expensive merchandise. Roach could not afford to spend time in New York tied up with litigation when he had a film studio, among other interests, to manage in Los Angeles. So both he and his studio executives were forced to resign their positions as officers and directors of Roach and Driver, Inc. Bob Kortman, Charlie Hall, and Frank Terry (alias Nat Clifford) were not named as suspects. Nor was the crime ever resolved.

Did the famous Los Angeles Police Department send over two of its brightest detectives to investigate? And did their opening conversation go something like this?

Officer #1: "What's the address?"

Officer #2: "Oh -- oh, yeah."

Officer #1: "What are you looking for?"

Officer #2: "I'm looking for the address."

Officer #1: "What did you do with it?"

Officer #2: "Well, I wrote it on here, and somebody's stolen the street."

Officer #1: "Ohhhhhh!"

-- by Richard W. Bann --