A northwest Nebraska native who spent much of his career in Beverly
Hills returned to Chadron in July for his Chadron High School class reunion
during Fur Trade Days. In
preparing for the reunion, Ted Turechek shared some of his life story with
classmate Mike Smith and fellow CHS graduate Con Marshall. They edited the story for publication
in the Chadron Record. Ted, Mike
and Con were kind enough to also share it with Dawes County Journal. We’ve included a few additional
He never got in the movies, but both he and his wife rubbed
shoulders with some elite movie and television stars while he was serving as a
Beverly Hills policeman. He also
had other interesting experiences during his 20-plus years on the beat.
For instance, while trying to catch a bad guy in the attic
of a hotel, he once burst through the ceiling of a hotel employee’s
office. He also was forced to
arrest a robot for panhandling because that’s against the law in plush Beverly
|Ted Turechek as a Freshman at|
Chadron High School in 1950.
He’s Ted Turechek, said to be just as quiet and unassuming
as he was 62 years ago when he graduated with the Class of 1953. He’s now retired and comfy in his Simi
Valley home. He had never attended
his class reunion until he showed up at his 60th two years ago. This year, he and his wife Dee Dee, who
looks like a movie star in the photos with this story, decided to return.
There were lots of Turecheks attending the Chadron schools
beginning in the 1920s and spanning the next 35 years until all of them had graduated
from the high school. William and
Mary Turechek had 10 children during a 20-year stretch, and they all graduated
from CHS. There also were three
Turechek cousins in the Chadron schools during that era.
The oldest of William and Mary’s brood was Bill, who
graduated in 1934. He lived at
Gordon most of his life and won at least a half dozen Nebraska horseshoe
The other family members and their graduation dates are
Phebe, 1936; John, 1939; Marie, 1941; Margie, 1944; Lou, 1947; Lucille, 1948;
Jim, 1950; Ted, 1953; and Dennis, 1955, a small, but pesky basketball player
for the Cardinals.
Several of them also attended what was then known as
Nebraska State Teachers College at Chadron.
The family vacated Chadron each summer. That’s because the Turecheks owned a
2,400-acre ranch 20 miles south of Rushville. The ranch had been homesteaded by Mary’s parents, John W.
and Phebe Mann.
As soon as school was out, the clan went there and put up
hay, then returned to Chadron and lived in a large home at Fourth and Morehead
Streets when classes resumed.
Ted didn’t go to college after graduating from CHS, but he
spent two years in the military, had various jobs in the Black Hills and Denver
before moving to the Los Angeles area.
He initially worked as a life insurance investigator, but a friend
suggested that he check into a career in law enforcement.
He soon saw an advertisement for police officers in Beverly
Hills. He applied, was hired, went
through the training process and spent 24 years with the department before
retiring in 1986.
In 1973, ten years after joining the force, he married Dee
Dee, who was from Swift Current, Newfoundland.
The Turechek Family
Ted notes that his parents were capable people. Besides giving birth to and raising 10
children, his mother took classes at the college and earned her teaching
credentials. She also was a
pianist, and his dad played first violin in the college’s symphony orchestra
well into his 80s. Both also
played for dances at the Odd Fellows Hall, he recalls.
Ted is proud of his family’s heritage, but relates that not
everything went well for his great-grandparents and his grandfather, Wesley J.
Turechek, who was five at the time, when they came to America from
Czechoslovakia in 1864.
It took the ship 73 days to cross the Atlantic. The ship was blown so far off course
that it encountered icebergs (even though it was summer), and food and water
were in such short supply that the passengers were allowed only half portions
during the last phase of the voyage.
After landing in New York City, the Turecheks headed for
Cleveland by train. A river was
out of its banks and while crossing a bridge, the baggage car broke through and
all the clothing and bedding were lost.
That left the family with only the clothes they were wearing.
Great-grandpa Turechek worked in a foundry in Cleveland,
then moved to Covington, Kentucky, where he was a tree grafter for a
nursery. The family, which
included seven children, eventually moved to Iowa City. Wesley was married in 1881 and moved
with his family to Knox County, Nebraska, in 1885 and finally settled in
Bloomfield, Nebraska, where he lived to be 92.
|Beverly Hills cop Ted Turechek|
and partner pose with "hot" furs.
Although Ted undoubtedly had more hazardous duties, he
prefers to tell about two humorous incidents that occurred during his 24 years
as a Beverly Hills cop. He’ll also
discuss his relationship with the stars.
He recalls that he and fellow officer Bob O’Connor received
a radio call one evening to respond to Trader Vic’s Restaurant, an upscale
business located adjacent to the Beverly Hilton Hotel. A customer had consumed a large meal
and a couple bottles of expensive wine, then tried to pay for it with a stolen
When the waiter confronted the customer about the status of
the card, the man attempted to flee.
However, the waiter and the maitre d’ were able to restrain him. While being held pending the arrival of
police, the suspect asked to use the bathroom.
“That’s where he is now, officer,” Ted was informed when he
arrived at the restaurant.’” I
told the waiter to stand outside the door to ensure that the suspect didn’t get
away,” Ted remembers. “I swung the
door open and stepped inside.”
Officer Turchek began the search, but to no avail. But he noticed a hatch in the ceiling
above one of the commodes. The
suspect must have somehow hoisted himself up through the hatch, replaced the
cover and escaped into the attic.
Ted jumped on the commode, tried to push open the hatch, but
it wouldn’t budge. He thought the
bad guy must be standing on it.
Ted hurried back to the maitre d’, asked about another route
to the attic, and was shown a narrow stairway. He was in hot pursuit.
The attic was very large and there were no lights in it. Ted’s flashlight was his only source of
illumination. He shined it through
the darkness, but to no avail. He
realized he must step on the joists as he made his way into the darkness in search
of the guy who was playing hide-and-seek.
Ted tells the rest of the story:
|Curt and Betty Thompson (at left-both now deceased)|
visited the Turecheks in the 1990s. Curt Thompson had
coached Turechek in Junior High sports in the 1940s.
“Things were going fine until I thought I sensed movement
and swung around to see what it was.
That’s when my left foot slipped off a joist and landed on the
plasterboard, which failed to support my weight.
“As my foot came crashing down through the ceiling into the
office below, I heard a woman scream.
I broke my descent by grasping an adjacent joist and hooking my right
leg over another. But by this time
my leg was fully inside the office, dangling from the ceiling like some
“After some effort, I managed to extract my leg out of a
now-gaping hole and stuck my head through the hole to assess the
situation. A middle-aged woman in
a business suit stood staring at me with a look of terror on her face. She demanded to know who I was, what
was happening, and what I was doing up there.
“Those were good questions! I tried to assure her that I was a police officer and
everything was under control. She
didn’t seem convinced, and I still had a suspect to find, so I resumed the
search. As I cautiously crawled
along another joist, I suddenly realized my flashlight was missing. It had gone sailing across the attic
when I took my spill. Now the only
source of light was that coming from the hole I had just exited. Then I heard the maitre d’ calling from
“We got him, officer.
We got him. You can come
down now.’’ Apparently the
commotion had scared him back down through the hatch into the waiting arms of
Officer O’Connor. His stint at
playing hide-and-seek was over.
“If someone comes across a 3-cell aluminum flashlight in the
attic of Trader Vic’s Restaurant, and they read this, they’ll know how it got
Ted has another unusual story to tell: The Robot:
One afternoon while patrolling the Beverly Hills business
district, he received a dispatcher call that citizens were complaining about a
“robot” soliciting in the 400 block of Beverly Drive.
“I wasn’t sure I had heard right,” Ted says. “This is Car 7,
did you say ‘robot?”
“Affirmative, Car 7, a robot.”
Again, Officer Turechek tells the story:
“In Beverly Hills, soliciting passersby is strictly against
the law, be you a ‘robot’ or a life form.
So I hurried my patrol car up Beverly. As I approached the 400 block, I noted a number of
pedestrians gathering around something or other on the sidewalk.
“I parked and moved quickly through the crowd. There stood an object that surely
answered the description of a ‘robot.’
It was a round-shaped object approximately four feet tall with a glass
globe on top that contained electrical equipment. In a side tray I could see numerous business cards that the
‘robot’ was inviting people to help themselves to by using a high pitched,
“I turned my attention to the folks and asked, ‘Who does
this thing belong to, do any of you know?’ Several shook their heads ‘no.’ One older man said, ‘There wasn’t anyone around. The thing was just standing out here
all by itself.’
“I really felt silly, but I did what I had to do. I turned back to the thing and said,
‘Robot, it’s against the law to solicit anything here on the street. Did you know that?’ With what appeared to be a camera
inside its globed-head pointing at me, it said, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong,
officer. I believe this is a free
country, and I’m entitled to free speech.’
“I noticed then that the folks around us were grinning. One said, ‘Did you give him his
rights?’ Another chimed in, ‘Why
don’t you handcuff him?’
“It looked as if the robot might gain the upper hand and win
the crowd over, so I decided it was time to silence him by pulling his plug.
“As I tried to find something on the thing to hold on to, it
yelled, ‘Police brutality!,’ and tried to run away. I struggled to hold on and finally put a choke-hold around
his glass-globe head. I was able
to turn him, and I located some power wires on his back. I yanked the wires, it became immobile
and no longer argumentative.”
Ted says his first thought was to put the robot in the back
seat of the police car, just like he would a human he had arrested. However, it was too big. So he summoned a flatbed tow truck that
hauled it to the police station.
Several hours later, a man arrived to claim ownership. He explained that his 17-year-old son
had pulled the caper, unbeknownst to him, and it was ‘just a joke.”
“Oh, yes, I did advise him of his rights. Probably not many policemen have
arrested a robot during their careers.”
The stars were
Over the years, Ted says it was a fairly common occurrence
to come in contact with Beverly Hills celebrities.
One “uncommon” occurrence was a celebrity basketball game
that was put on every year between the “Hollywood Stars” team and the Beverly
Hills Police Department. The game
was a charity fund raiser and played at the Beverly Hills High School gym. It always drew a packed house.
Ted says Hollywood’s roster included Pat Boone, Glen
Campbell, Buddy Hackett, Marty Allen, Max Baer (Jethro of Beverly Hillbillies
fame), James Caan and Don Rickles, just to name a few.
The game was played for fun, almost no fouls were called,
even though violations ran rampant at times, Ted remembers.
“The games had comical moments and it was obvious whose side
the fans were on. In the end, we
always made sure the ‘Stars’ won.
It was a definite crowd pleaser.”
After each game, Ted says, Hackett threw a party at his
house for the players and their guests.
Female stars he and Dee Dee enjoyed meeting included Doris Day, Liza
Minnelli and Charo.
“Charo can be seen giving me a hug in one of the photographs
I sent,” Ted says. “And I remember
that Buddy Hackett, Max Baer and Marty Allen, among others, always made sure
they got to squeeze my Dee Dee.“It was a great event.
The participants, their guests and the spectators had a great evening,
and we raised quite a bit of money for a charitable cause,” the Chadron High
“It was a good time and place to be a policeman.”
|Chadron native Ted Turechek retired as a police officer in Beverly|
Hills. He and his wife Dee Dee live in Simi Valley, California