The "Cops" Confusion
One of the best-known Hal Roach film tunes is known by the name of "Cops." It is an Irish-sounding march, only 30 seconds long, and often used in scenes involving policemen. Because it was such a catchy tune, it was additionally employed as opening and closing title music for many films, including 'Scram!', Twice Two, and Towed in a Hole, in which capacity it became almost as well-known as "On to the Show."

Ever since it was first used in a film (probably in Be Big, 1931), "Cops" has been attributed to Leroy Shield. While Shield certainly was the arranger, he didn’t compose it. The actual composer was a man named Ewing, and the actual title of the piece is "The Cop."

Montague Ewing was a productive songwriter whose works include a great many film tunes published by Sam Fox: "The Motley Fool," "Stealthy Whispers," "The Village Idiot," among many others. He also wrote many Spanish songs. Ewing's "Cop" was evidently a standard film tune, utilized alongside compositions by J.S. Zamecnik and J.E. DeFrancesco by film companies who didn’t care to invest in original film scores. Researcher Richard Finegan has found evidence of usage of "The Cop" in these (non-Roach) films:
-- Slander’s Tongue (Fox Film Corp., 1933)
-- His Double Life (Paramount, 1934)
-- Mr. And Mrs. Is the Name (Warner Bros. cartoon, 1934)

The confusion about the song’s authorship may have come about because in 1930 Leroy Shield wrote a totally different tune with almost the same title: "[The] Cops." It was first used for the scene with two policemen in Another Fine Mess (November, 1930) and filed under copyright number E. Unp. 43587 on August 13, 1931. This is the melody:

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