Matt Weinstock, Dec. 18, 1959
December 18, 2009 | 4:00 pm
Late one afternoon about two weeks ago, as Jack Fuller was driving past Pico Blvd. and Roxbury Dr., en route home from his job at the Hollywood office of civil defense, he saw a commotion inside the door of the market there. As he watched, two young men ran out, pursued by a third, apparently the owner or a clerk.
Fuller instinctively braked to a stop. To his trained eye it looked like trouble, possibly a robbery. He was a policeman for 10 years, minus three days, during part of which time he was bodyguard and driver for the mayor. He quit the force in September, 1957, over a sharp difference of opinion with the LAPD high command. He was denied a work permit for a off-duty TV job.
FULLER RUSHED OVER and grabbed one culprit, a large fellow. He wrestled him to the pavement and with some difficulty pinned his arms behind him so others could hold him.
Then he got in his car, made a fast U-turn and caught up with the second suspect half a block away. He shook him down and held him against his car with his left hand, kept a foot in position to trip him if he made a wrong move, and with his right hand reached for his microphone. Civil defense cars have the same radio equipment as police cars. He gave his old code number, Zebra 7, the address, and said, "Officer needs help. Code 3."
All this time he was wondering subconsciously what he should have been doing with his right hand. Suddenly it hit him. He should have had a gun in it. Then he remembered he was no longer a policeman, he was a civilian.
In minutes the area was swarming with boys in blue. An "officer needs help" call is always a prime emergency. Five cars and four motorcycles came from West L.A. division, three from Beverly Hills. They quickly took over the two suspects. A third, it turned out, got away.
When the situation was under control a policeman came over to Fuller and asked, "Where's the officer who put in the call?" Fuller couldn't imagine and silently slipped away. After all. he didn't want to get taken in for impersonating an officer.
Recalling the incident yesterday Fuller mused, "I guess I acted instinctively because of my police training. I sure wish people would learn about civil defense so they could react the same way in case of trouble."
IT HAPPENS every year. Tina Powell, 4, of North Hollywood, confided her wishes several days ago to a department store Santa Claus. Yesterday when her mother took her grocery shopping, there was another Santa.
He said, "Hello, little girl, what's your name?"
When she told him he said, "What would you like me to bring you?"
"I already told your brother at the May Company," she said.
Smothering a snort, Santa said, "I'm sorry, I guess my brother forgot to give me the message."
CABBIES ARE talking about the thing that befell a driver last Monday, the day of the big wind, as he responded to a call at a modern apartment with the pool in the center of the patio. Cap down over his eyes, leaning into the gale, he walked, plop, right into it, clothes and all. And although soaked, he got his passengers to their destination in time.
THE WAY Don Dwiggins heard it, and it's a little shaggy, Tom Edison was working feverishly in his workshop in Menlo Park when his wife called to him that his dinner was getting cold. "Not now!" he shouted. "I think I've got it! This could revolutionize the world!" He'd melted some glass, blown it into a bulb, inserted a filament and closed the bulb. With a deep sigh of expectation he went into the next room and put the ends of the two wires together. He ran to the door, looked and saw with delight that the light was on. He rushed over to it and shouted, "Hello! Hello! Hello!"
MISCELLANY -- Gangster rubout of Roger Touhy in Chicago recalled the old underworld paraphrase, "He who lives by the Smith & Wesson shall die by the Colt" . . . Overheard by actor Frank Allocca in a Hollywood restaurant, one gal to another, "I don't mind his whims -- it's his whams that get me" . . . Another eavesdropping, at the Press Club: "He's the kind of guy who uses words like 'minimal.' "