Why Felix the Cat is a Detective Hero

Felix ChevroletI was running an errand the other day in Downtown Los Angeles. As a big fan of classic Hollywood and detective fiction, I relish in the landmarks and mainstays, from the outdoor urban paradise of MacArthur Park to the crowds of bustling travelers at Union Station; from the authentic Hispanic heritage so beautifully displayed on Olvera Street to the architectural marvel of the Bradbury building (where, by the way, the most cinematic scene from “Blade Runner” was shot). But none of them tickle me as much as the iconic Felix the Cat sign atop the almost century-old Felix Chevrolet. Read the rest of this entry »


Look! On the Netbook! Is it a Plumber? Is it a Dutch Boy? No! It’s a Private Eye!

Undercover

Image by Dave-F via Flickr

A story out of folklore of the lower countries, attributed in modern fiction to Hans Brinker, depicts a little boy who walks by a dyke and observes a leak.  Anticipating disaster, he pokes his finger in the hole to plug the leak.  Eventually, he is assisted by others who keep the entire dyke from collapsing, ultimately averting a terrible outcome.  This story is often told to illustrate the effect of foresight and teamwork.

In modern times, the plumber is normally called for a job like this.  A leaky homeowner with foresight may call the local rooter-man when he first sees a drip.  I agree this event is both anticlimactic and costs a few bucks.  Steve could be accused of being a boring Monday evening date and missing the night’s episode of How I Met Your Mother.  But he likely avoided a costly disaster which could have resulted in damaged furniture, carpet and, even worse, utter obliteration of his classic 1970s LP collection.

Both of the above tales can easily be used to describe the relationship between the caretaker of a valuable public brand and their private eye.  In most entertainment the public’s excitement is equally as important as the content itself.  Humans like to be teased, surprised and entertained.  In that order.  The numerous folks involved in any given entertainment project work hard to keep these surprises under wraps so that the reveal is as dramatic and effective as it can be.  Not only is this a service to the fan, this also best insures a good financial turnout for those whose dinner table contents and mortgage payment rely on the gross receipts of the aforementioned project.

Given the above, it is no surprise that the smart folks whose job it is to insure these projects’ success have their Private Eye on speed dial.  The days of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are not behind us.  Next time you observe a publicity leak, call your trusty P.I.  Most of the time, the leak is the result of a misguided ne’er-do-well in search of peer recognition.  Once the veil of anonymity is removed, and the subject is addressed properly, you can often retain value for the brand and look like a superhero.

Now I’m going to finish my coffee.


Evidence is Everything

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Image by newhousedesign via Flickr

I was twelve years old when my father, Robert L. Holmes Sr., asked me to go along with him to purchase an MTV t-shirt at the Columbus Farmers Market in Columbus, NJ.  That day I learned what a chain of custody was.  The second an investigator touches an item (as fledgling as I was) the item was in custody.  Once that second begins so does the chain, sayeth the Old Man.  Once I first touched it I then must pass on, and communicate, that responsibility to the next individual who may touch the item.  Ever since that day in 1982 I realized that, once I touch something that was a part of a case, it was my responsibility until someone I deemed  responsible took possession and released me of Custody.

I was no Bobby Fisher but my Dad taught me, and I understood, chess at the age of four.  I played with him regularly and got the game.  He even let me win once.  One of the things I most remember from playing with the Old Man was that, after making a move,  I could take all the time I wanted.  I could even change my mind and move back.  But once I removed my finger from the game piece, my move was over and my decision forever made.

I have many philosophies; political, spiritual, professional and others.  Some of those ideals have been modified and influenced throughout the years.  Little did Bob know his philosophies would cross game play and flea markets and be the basis for my every move in business.  The one thing that will never change in my world is the fact that evidence must be preserved at all cost.

I recently found myself in extraordinary circumstances where I was forced to make some very quick decisions in a short period of time.  I was in the American Mid-west conducting a seizure out of town when opposing counsel made numerous threats that led my client and myself to believe we may be in danger.  At bare minimum, our evidence was for sure.  The decisions I made that night could possibly have impacted my Client’s life’s work.  Forget me and my safety.  Evidence is everything.  I know many of you would say that I am crazy to put a client, or their evidence, before myself.  That’s because you don’t get it.

One of the staples of modern American culture is the private eye.  Whether you reflect upon your real-life heroes like Rob Holmes or the fictional writings of greats like Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Robert B. Parker or Robert Crais, one thing is consistent: the case comes first.  This is not just television and movies.  Real private eyes are a unique breed just like our fictional counterparts.  Sometimes art imitates life and sometimes life imitates art.  But, once retained by a client, a private eye puts the case before himself.  We don’t have certifications and diplomas that doctors and lawyers have to influence the public’s perception of our image.  We have but one thing: our integrity.  That, sir, is everything.