The Story Behind the Story of Dead Roaches

Just the other day at the local hardware store, I had occasion to visit the “pest control” section.  Though they had no solutions for the pests that I encounter on a day-to-day basis – You know who you are! – they did have a product with which I was unfamiliar: “Roach Prufe”.

I found the packaging for this product charming.  Not only was “proof” cheekily misspelled, but above the name was some assistance for the average consumer reading “pronounced ‘Roach Proof’.”  I briefly wondered whether one of the three U.S. Patents the band across the top advertised was the innovative spelling of “proof.”  Perhaps the spelling is meant to indicate that roaches are not renowned for their ability to win a spelling bee.  (Heh…  spelling bee.)


Intrigued, I visited the website displayed on the packaging.  I learned that the driving force behind this product is Alan D. Brite, an outside-the-box thinking Californian with a pioneering solution for everything from adding rounds of ammo to a clip during wartime, to stellar photography, to insect control.  According to his military discharge papers, which he has posted on his company’s website, his name was once “Alvin D. Bloom”, and he changed this to Alan D. Brite after the war, perhaps to more closely identify himself with his company, Copper Brite, not to mention less closely identifying himself with a soprano cartoon rodent.  He is a bona fide war hero, having been wounded in action during WWII and receiving a Purple Heart.  He recounts in detail the occasion when he tampered with his rifle, resulting in an overall improvement in efficiency, and “shutdown [sic] Mr. Scarypants”  (i.e. the enemy troops, to whom he also refers as “screaming loonies”.)  He says that instead of being reprimanded for his unauthorized alterations to his weapon, his captain, who was also Dinah Shore’s boyfriend*, invited him to lead the morning patrol.  Not having any personal military experience, I’m not entirely sure this was the honor he seems to think it was; isn’t the first guy in line the one who is most likely to get a bullet in him?  (Read the story in Mr. Brite’s own words.)

As I was about to leave the company’s webpage I noticed a link entitled “UFO Photo in Space.”  How could I pass that up?  I clicked and discovered that Mr. Brite was also an amateur stellar photographer.  On one occasion, he had been using his telescope to photograph the moon when he spotted a small craft moving between him and the lunar surface.  He took several pictures, and claims to have sent them to the film manufacturer, NASA, and “Popular Photography”, none of whom were able to explain them.

He even includes a little quick math in his description of the situation, stating that if the UFO was 100 miles above the Earth’s surface, it would be approximately one mile long.  How have the guys from that “Ancient Aliens” show on The History Channel not picked up on this, and compared his pictures to an Incan carving or a Mesopotamian pottery shard?  (Read about Mr. Brite’s UFO encounter in his own words.)

Mr. Brite also eloquently plugs his own product in a letter he addressed to the Housing Authority.  Apparently, he believes that over 50,000 people residing in public housing have died from exposure to cockroach allergen.  He even goes so far as to accuse the Housing Authority of “Criminally Negligent Manslaughter” in these deaths.  He recommends that since “Roach Prufe” is the only product that can guarantee 100% control of roaches with no significant side effects to humans, that the Housing Authority should provide a can to every resident.  That’s quite a sales pitch: “Buy my product or you will die or commit manslaughter, or both.”  And, to further entice you to use “Roach Prufe”, he also mentions it is used by the First Family in the White House.  Why, it’s almost un-American to let those roaches escape un-“Prufed”.  (Read Mr. Brite’s letter to the Housing Authority.)

As recently as January of this year, he applied for a patent for a “Submergible Oil Well Sealing Device”, no doubt inspired by the events in the Gulf.  According to his military discharge papers, Mr. Brite was born on March 26, 1924, which means he submitted this patent application at the ripe old age of eighty-seven.  Is “Roach Prufe” the key to longevity as well?

How is it that we are not reading in our history books about Alan D. Brite and his roach hating, enemy shooting, rifle improving, patent applying, UFO photographing, innovative life?





*If you don’t know who Dinah Shore is, please look her up on Wikipedia, and enjoy your youth.  Someday you’ll be explaining who “Snookie” and “Taylor Swift” were to puzzled children.

Leave a Reply