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Discussion in 'Hats' started by The Good, Apr 2, 2010.
Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing.
I felt like someone dripped some cold water down the back of my collar when I read this. I snapped straight up and read your post again and just had to respond.
I also started work as a private investigator at the tender age of 19 (although this was in the early '70s) and likewise had to leave the fedora at home. I never blended in anyway. After going into medicine I didn't think I had to make allowances for my style, and so have indulged my tastes throughout my adult life (which the clientele takes as endearing, if not a badge of learned senior sophistication!).
Somebody was thinking outside the box when they started this tradition. Much better than a plaque or certificate in my estimation.
It's interesting to meet someone else who started such a "unique" profession at a very young age. How did you start your work as PI, and how long did you stay with it?
Being young in my years has been the most difficult thing I've faced so far in my investigative experience. Although, at times, I've learned to use that to my advantage. I've done surveillance a few times out of a vehicle wearing jean shorts, a t-shirt, and baseball cap on backwards (just like a young hoodlum or even a "college kid"). That does work sometimes.
Hat Squad Backgrounder (1950's LAPD origin & featured in Mulholland Falls movie)
Mulholland Falls (1996)
High-Test Swagger by Burly Buddies
By JANET MASLIN - NY Times
Lee Tamahori, the New Zealand-born director who made such a ferocious first impression with "Once Were Warriors," has his thrill thermostat set so high that Melanie Griffith plays his new film's most straitlaced character. That character is the sultry wife of a police detective, Max Hoover (Nick Nolte), a vamp who greets her husband with one very hot hello each time he returns from work.
Max's work certainly is grueling, since he is part of the elegantly brutish foursome assigned to keep Los Angeles free of organized crime. This elite rogue unit, nicknamed the Hat Squad for its 1950's sartorial dash (and based on a real police squad of that era), is free to break heads and bend rules. "Mulholland Falls" takes its title from a sharply dramatic prologue in which one hood is accosted in a swanky restaurant, escorted up to Mulholland Drive and then shoved off a cliff. These guys don't fool around.
Neither does Mr. Tamahori, who gives "Mulholland Falls" a smashing, insidious L.A.-noir style meant to recall "Chinatown," along with a high-testosterone swagger that is distinctively his own. This director's first Hollywood film has such punch, in fact, that it takes a while to realize how slight and sometimes noxious its concerns really are. But "Mulholland Falls" is so well cast and relentlessly stylish (thanks to some fine technical talent assembled here) that its sheer energy prevails over its shaky plot. After all, when a film maker can show Ms. Griffith contentedly reading "A Farewell to Arms," there's not much he won't do. So this film has all the "Chinatown" staples -- dangerous sex, corrupt power and a vast environment-damaging conspiracy -- along with mushroom clouds, porn movies, a crash-landing airplane and many quick bursts of one-on-one violence.
For the rest of the NY Times review:
How to do High Testosterone Swagger
1. Don't ever tilt your hat. Not even 1 mm back off your eyebrows. LA noir ain't no Double Indemnity (despite it being noir and happening in LA). It's Dirty Harry with tail fins. Be an icon. Loom over people. Grunt. Squint.
2. Have a neck as wide as your jaw line.
3. And a name like "Max Hoover." Great name. Big, concrete, the only thing between civilization and chaos, like a massive dam or a megalomaniac Director.
4. Have punch. Don't fool around, even when your concerns are slight, and definitely not when they're noxious.
I wear one every day even as Chief. I usually leave it in the car most of the time and wear to cases, meeting etc. Usually wear white shirt, tie khaki pants and gun. In Texas it is just too hot to wear a jacket most of the time.
Best story I have of it was I was running a multi-agency task force one time and after 14 months, we finally located our guy and got the necessary warrants. After we kicked in the door and got everyone in cuffs, a Texas ranger and I went outside to get rid of our vests and stuff. We walked back in the room, me in a black suit, white tie, black fedora and the Ranger in his cowboy hat, custom gun belt and stuff. The crook looked up and us and started saying he was not a dealer (drugs). I looked at him, then look at the Ranger all outfitted up, myself and back at the crook and said "Do we look like we give a S#%t about dope?" Crook says "I guess you want to know about all computer equipment I have been stealing".
He gave us a 3 hour confession that led to more than 8 million if stolen property in another state.
Love it!! Another phi beta capa does down
That's a great story, Chief. I'm too new here to hijack a thread, and I retired only as a Detective Sergeant, but I'll bet if one of the "Senior Officers" here started a "Detective's War Story" thread.....we could fill it with laughs a-plenty!
:eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap
More info on LAPD's "HAT SQUAD"
LA TIMES Article
March 29, 1987
By Jack Hawn
The squad the Bad Guys Feared
Hat-Wearing Foursome Was Legendary at LAPD
Word went through the underworld that they were tough. No question about it. They were intimidating just by their appearance. The hat was their trademark.-Lt. Dan Cooke, Los Angeles Police Department
It was slightly past noon, a typical working day almost three decades ago.
A nondescript sedan pulled alongside a curb and parked on Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Four young, impeccably dressed men-in dark, tailor-made, single-breasted suits, wide-brimmed hats, and polished shoes-piled out and approached a hot dog stand. All were well over six feet tall and collectively they weighed more than half a ton.
Momentarily, a Brinks armored truck appeared and rolled to a stop in front of a nearby business.
The guards got out and went inside. As they emerged minutes later with a sack of money, they observed the four men at the hot dog stand, looking toward the truck. Instinctively, the guards spun around and quickly retreated, disappearing inside. "Well," one of the four said, "it'll probably be about three minutes. . . ." As he had predicted, police cars-sirens wailing-soon converged on the scene. The officers confronted the suspicious foursome-all munching hot dogs and enjoying a good laugh. It was not the first time this group had been mistaken for criminals-purely because of their size and dress.
They were, in fact, detectives.
Working out of the robbery division of the Los Angeles Police Department through the 1950s and early '60s, the four became a legend.
They were labeled the Hat Squad-an elite team that quickly gained a national reputation among law enforcement agencies as well as in the underworld.
"They were the most impressive group I ever knew in my 25 years with the department," said Joe Deiro, a retired LAPD detective. "They were tough with criminals but very compassionate people, respected in the underworld."
To read the rest of the LA Times article: THE SQUAD THE BAD GUYS FEARED
* * * * *
Plus a short-lived TV show: "The Hat Squad"
The real deal
From the Times article, they wouldn't seem to have much mystique beyond their appearance. Even that was mostly due to their being big, well-dressed, and wearing wide brims long after they'd gone out of fashion.
Note also their easy facial expressions, and the expanse of territory between the brow lines and the brims. They didn't need to look intimidating.
I am a patrol sergeant so I wear my standard uniform saucer cap daily. I am the only one in my agency to do so; everyone else is hatless unless it rains. I do wear a fedora or an OR to court anytime I go and have for years. I have never cared to be a detective but if I do take an inside job before retiring, I will wear one because its just expected to see me in a hat here.
A friend of mine who recently retired from the PD was the CAPERs (Crimes Against Persons) Sgt. and he and one other older detective always wore a fedora at work.
Chief, that is priceless. NICE HIT! :eusa_clap
Now playing: James Hannigan, Frank Klepacki & Timothy Michael Wynn - Hell March 2 FFTL Remix
What a great tradition.
There used to be a thread around here on the Atlanta Hat Squad.
Excellent stuff. I enjoyed that a lot. Thanks for sharing!