Bizarre Tales: Raid on Club 17

Club 17
Night Resorts Given Warning

Three Held After Raid on Club 17 Curfew Law Violation

LOS ANGELES TIMES (October 25, 1939) — Warning that authorities are tightening up on the enforcement of liquor control laws was sounded yesterday in the wake of an early-morning raid on the fashionable Club 17 at 1710 Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, where three men were arrested and jailed for selling liquor after the 2 a.m. curfew.


Chief John Klein of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, who conducted the raid with a dozen officers, disclosed that a checkup is being made of many night spots when complaints are received.

“While the State Board of Equalization officers have been faithfully carrying out their duties, we have received considerable additional information because of the current grand jury inquiry and are acting where necessary on these reports,” he said.


At 2:30 a.m. yesterday, Klein and his raiding crew routed 150 after-hour customers of Club 17, formerly the Swing Club, after liquor assertedly was found on nearly every table.

Those arrested and held are Harold (Babe) Hensley, manager; Fred J. Clyde, whose name appeared on the liquor license as one of the operators, and Joseph R. Vessels, a waiter.

Deputy City Attorney Donald M. Redwine issued misdemeanor complaints against the three men who will be arraigned this afternoon in Municipal Court. Meanwhile, they are at liberty on bond.


Klein said the management had resorted to an ingenious system in an effort to get around the 2 a.m. closing law. Liquor, he said, was sold patrons by the bottle before 2 a.m. and cash refund or trade ticket given on any liquor remaining in the patron’s bottle.

For a time the raiding officers were baffled by discovery of a secret tunnel leading from the rear of the Las Palmas Ave. building to the back of a typewriter shop fronting on Hollywood Blvd.


Klein later explained the tunnel, which was not in use, was cleared up when Hensley stated that he had “been told” to get a Hollywood Blvd. address if he wanted to get his liquor permit from the State Board of Equalization.

Complying with the request, Klein said, Hensley went to considerable expense to have the tunnel built but that it remained unused because to enter it one had to walk the full length of the shop on Hollywood Blvd., which closed early in the evening.

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