Officer 444: Chapter 01 - The Flying Squadron (1926)

Run Time - 22 min.  |  
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"Throughout the ages," a foreword to Ben Wilson's serial Officer 444 begins, "Mankind's greatest battle has been between forces of good and evil. Today, new marvels of science, intended to benefit humanity, often become the tools of crooks to further their own lawless ends -- a deadly menace which the police valiantly combat." The most valiant of them all is Officer "444", Robert Preston Brownley (Ben Wilson), a gallant Berkeley, California, policeman known to all and sundry as "Uncle Bob." Along with the Berkeley fire brigade, Officer "444" and the police "Flying Squad" have been called to a blaze at the Haverly Chemical Plant, the manufacturer of Haverlyite, "a secret formula product that has astounded the scientific and medical world." The blaze is blamed on the notorious crook The Frog, a hideous looking hunchback, and his henchman Dago Frank, who are searching for James J. Haverly's much vaunted formula. Along with The Frog, who has surreptitiously taken the place of the captured Dago Frank (Frank Baker), and old man Haverly (Arthur Bickel) himself, Officer "444" is treated at the receiving hospital by adoring Nurse Gloria Grey (Neva Gerber). Haverly begs Gloria to take down a coded message for his son: "Page 462 -- 923 -- Roman -- 695 -- H20 -- Life and Death -- Repeat." After which message, Haverly expires. Meanwhile, at the Amalgamated Society of Scientist the strange "Professor Kalium" offers a reward for the capture of Haverly's missing son, Frank. Responding to a tip, Officer "444" races to Chinatown where The Frog and his associate The Vulture (Ruth Royce) have captured both Gloria and Frank Haverly (Phil Ford).