Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Naked City milk prowler

[The hands of the milk prowler. “And by the Sweat of Thy Brow,” Naked City, October 10, 1962.]

Someone is stealing money from 65th-Precinct milk bottles. Says Lieutenant Mike Parker, “I want that milk prowler, and I want him now.”

Try as I might, I can find no evidence that “milk prowler” was an expression ever in use. But this Naked City episode, about a horribly scarred young man who lives in the shadows, draws its inspiration from life. On April 12, 1962, The New York Times ran a short item with the headline “Judge Frees Boy Who Shuns Light”:

A 17-year-old youth accused of stealing money left in milk bottles was discharged in Bronx County Court yesterday because he had “suffered nothing but tragedy and sorrow.”

Roy Shelton appeared before the bench homeless and penniless, and he wept. Judge Joseph A. Martinis learned that Roy had been so badly scarred in the face by a fire that killed his mother, sister and aunt twelve years ago that he took odd jobs with milkmen so that few persons would see him.

His father, also scarred in the fire, vanished later, and Roy was shunted between relatives. Finally, he slept in halls and on park benches, trying always to avoid daylight and people’s stares.

“Society owes it to this defendant to give him a chance to become a useful citizen,” the judge said. Roy was turned over to an uncle who agreed to take him into his home in East Orange, N. J.
I can find no other reference to Roy Shelton in in Times archive. I hope that he found a measure of happiness and peace in his life.

Related reading
All OCA Naked City posts (Pinboard)