Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween ramblings...

Looks like the Halloween gremlins are up and at 'em.  I had a photo to load, but blogger is blinking out and won't let me load.   
I had a Tracy video on youtube to show but they took it off.
I thought about showing a Halloween outfit, but I don't own one and the only ones I could find were movie-inspired and you know how I feel about that.
The cartoon, perhaps?  Tracy stayed at his desk and it wasn't high on my list of favs either.  No Halloween episode anyway. 
Hey, I read that the Sam Ketchem look was supposedly based on Howdy Doody.  
That scary enough?
Oh well.
Halloween bit me on the arse this year.  Hope I tasted good.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Perhaps don't sometimes say never again, maybe...

All right, you've got me.
I do not as a general rule collect much of the Dick Tracy movie items.  The pictures I have posted have shown that I do on occasion find something that grabs me.  It may not be (and probably won't be) the most popular item or the most valuable.  But, hey if it calls to me I must answer.  Case in point is this badge.  I don't know exactly why I like it.  It's not the most well-designed or made from the disassembled bits of the former Space Coupe but it wanted me and I wanted it and a match was made.
But this is the last time.
No more movie stuff.
'Cept for that oven mitt that has a two-way wristwatch graphic on it.  That's kinda nice. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Underrated Artist Rick Fletcher remembered...

"The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy" was my first intro to my favorite detective.  I have a another entry lined up for the story on this, but at the time Rick Fletcher was the current artist on the Tracy strip.  I found his work to be exceptional.  I was reading classic Tracy at the same time as Fletcher's version and along with Max Allan Collins, it really sang.  
Around the time of Tracy's 50th anniversary, Collins and Fletcher were outdoing themselves and producing work that Gould had to be proud of.  Angeltop and the exquisitely designed Torcher kept me coming back day-after-day.  Big Boy, who killed Tracy's to-be father-in-law was reintroduced and finally got his just desserts.  Elements of the original 'detective' aspect were highlighed and Pat Patton was even almost killed off.  If not for the newspaper syndicate, he would've been.  Fletcher had been inking and ghosting for Gould for a bit before the strip was officially his.  He added to Gould's style and nurtured a perfect look that was very much his own but nodded to the best that had gone before.  He was the natural successor to the legacy.  He was especially good at guns and hardware and took great pride in his accuracy in depicting them.  
Friday, March 11 1983 Fletcher produced his final Tracy work.  He checked into the hospital the next day.  By the 16th, he was dead.
I was genuinely saddened by his death.  The lackluster art produced after his death only made his absence more noticeable.
This is the only piece of art I have by him and although not made out to me, I treasure it.
Rest in Peace, Rick.  Thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dick Tracy-Multimedia Mogul...

We've hit on movies, serials, books, toys and more but the natural progression for our comic strip detective was to conquer funny books!  (I love that term and will use it often)
Point of fact, Dick Tracy was the only long-running single character crime comic in history.  This was with the title 'Dick Tracy' which ran issues 1-24 with Dell comics and Harvey comics with 25-145.  The title ran from 1948 to 1961.  Few Tracy comics featured original material as the source was so good and easy (and cheaper) to copy, why bother trying to compete with it?
Pictured for your amusement is a copy of the Harvey version, issue 44 and what I believe is the only 3D Tracy comic ever published.  The last is a copy of one of 2 titles ACG trotted out in the late 90's.  Reprints all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I wouldn't have found this if Roy Thomas weren't so popular with fanboys...

Now this was just plain fun!  Tell ya why: Procured this 'playset' at the last HeroesCon in Charlotte.  T'was a lovely thing as I was at the tail end of the con and didn't expect to find any Tracy items other than comics.  I had a lively conversation with Al Feldstein of EC fame!  I tried very hard to have an intelligent conversation with Roy Thomas but was constantly being interrupted by a throng of jr. Red Sonja fanboys who just found out he wrote Conan and HAD to tell him how much they looked forward to reading it someday.  Sheesh.  This lead me to look over a few vendors I had passed by earlier and lo' here was the playset.  I though it was priced a bit high so I made an offer of a little more than half what he had priced. (as is the custom at a con.  It's expected to haggle .) 
The man laughed and said he'd be happy to take me up on my offer but he had priced his items at 75% off and I'd have wound up paying more my way.  Lovely!  Got it for a song and am quite happy about it.  
I have not noticed it in any guide, but I may have missed it or memory may have dulled it.  I will try to update any info I get on this.  
It was made in 1973 by Ideal.  Has 3 places to play: the police station, the bank and a run-down shack that makes a great criminal hideout.  The figures have a nice set of Tracy companions and villains.  A car even!   Doors open and shut and I can imagine a kid in the early 70's having a ball with this.  My son loves it (he's 5) and we both play with it.  I usually wind up being the villains.  Go figure!  I hope to find some more undiscovered (by me) Tracy toys at the next con.  There used to be a ToyCon locally but I haven't seen it in a while.  Hope it makes a reappearance soon.
If you like this stuff, or have something to show please, please comment.  Love to hear from you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dick Tracy cares about your hygiene...

Shilling for Proctor and Gamble in 1962, Tracy wants you to not embarrass your dealer by asking him to redeem the coupons without buying the product.  I didn't know you could do that anyway.  Must've been common practice fifty years ago (almost).  
The television cartoon of 1960 must have really loosened up Tracy's image.  It's hard to imagine the same guy who pummeled, shot and pistol-whipped his way through the '30's could use that finger to give the lady in the nice hat a 'no-no'.  Maybe he's just showing the scar he got flinging Flattop around by the nose!  No?  Meh.
Hmm.  Proctor and Gamble? A mystery number coupon sweepstakes contest? 666 maybe?
I am alluding to the P&G controversy about the devilish logo.  I'm glad it was proven false as I wouldn't want Tracy involved in something so scandalous.
Love to get my hands on that Dick Tracy display that Junior is writing about.  
Anybody got one?

Hi Beatrice!

Whoa!  I actually missed a post!  
Very busy day yestid'y, and you missed out on a daily dose of detective so as to make it up we'll go with 2 posts today.  Sound good?  Everybody happy?  Great!  I'm here for you.
Just to show you that I'm not ALL anti-Locher, ( see previous post) I have for your viewing pleasure, my very own Locher sketch of a Dick Tracy profile.  Bought for the sake of having a set of all Tracy artists, I swallowed my pride and got it.  
You may have noticed that my name is not Beatrice but she was kind enough to donate to the cause and I'd feel a bit hypocritical having one made out to me anyway.
Bad karma and all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Insert witty title here...

After reading this little ditty at the Cracked comics website(once there, scroll down to see the Tracy section):, I got a bit depressed realizing that I totally agreed with the author and just could not pop out a decent title.  Sorry about that.  Here's my soapbox rant and then things get back to normal:
The current Tracy strip is a shadow of it's former self and the bulk of it is in the art. Bad writing is bad writing but a comic strip lives or dies by it's artwork.  Not always but sometimes, art can raise a poor storyline to loftier heights.  Comic book collectors who still marvel at Neal Adams early work for DC comics realize this.  I personally can get past a bad story if the art is well executed.  Dick Locher writes and draws the current Tracy strip and although the stories are sub-par I cannot get past the art.  I just have never been a big fan of Locher's artwork, but it does seem more at home in his political cartoons.  
I grew up with Gould's and Rick Fletcher's version and I think they both are spinning in their graves at the current version of the classic detective.  The style is gone.  The heart is gone.  All that is left is a ghost that sort of resembles a once-great icon.  Others may disagree and good for them.  This is America and you have the right to not go along with my views.  I didn't share Gould's politics but man, that guy could put out an interesting comic.  Tracy is no longer an interesting comic.
Sigh.  Okay.  Rant over.  Back to normal.
Today's pic concerns a version of Tracy that has little artwork at all!  These books were put out in 1943 and '45 and were 'Official' versions put out with the blessing of good old Chet Gould.   
They are an odd read, adapting comic storylines into prose novels.  I can't say it worked very well as I kept wishing I had the original version to compare with as I read.  The back the book shows these were the only titles released during this time period by this publisher.  Perhaps others felt as I did when these came out and went back reading the comics section of the newspaper.  Others from Whitman Publishing were Blondie, Son of the Phantom, Tillie the Toiler, Brenda Starr and Little Orphan Annie who shared the limelight with Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers, Ginger Rogers and Betty Grable (!) in mystery stories.
Tracy got these under his belt and went back to the funny pages where he belonged!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hittin' the silks...

Interesting story.
This is a silk cachet for the first day of issue of the Dick Tracy stamp.  Cool item as the pic of Chet is silken and looks nice all framed up.
When I got it, the pic nagged me for a bit.  Seemed familiar.  Searched though some of my Tracy books and found that it was pic of our Mr. Gould signing an old 'Dick' capgun.  One-of-a-kind item that is framed with the gun in a shadowbox-type thing.  Don't know how it got from the one of a kind collectible in a one owner collection to the USPS for the official portrait.  
I'm probably the only person who even gives a hoot, but whatever.
I bet it's an interesting story.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An assortment of non-chocolates...

Ah hates me some Monday.
But anywho, today we have a lovely assortment of Tracy items.  The button is for FedEx, the mug is an announcement promo piece for Sunday Funnies and a cancelled stamp collectible from the not-so-recent-now Tracy Stamp.
But the book.
The book is my favorite.  It is an item from the '60's that clearly shows that when he is not giving guidance to notorious villains (
he cares enough to rescue a poor cat.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wake up and Smell the Future...

Friday at last!  Although not stated before, my official stand will be to take the weekends off.  No, stop begging.  It'll do you no good.  Dry your weeping eyes.
To make the wait worth it, here a framed setup of 2 of the mid-60's Norcross fluorescent cards.  There were more, but these are my favorites.  On the left is an example of the almost never seen Alltel ad campaign for their digital cellular phones.  "Wake up and smell the Future" is a bit dated now, but the art is great and it features the Brow!  
I have a poster from the same campaign that I will show off later.  If you have any examples from this, please let me know.  I'd love to see them!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going on record...

Here's a couple of LPs (look it up, kids) of good ol' Tracy on the radio!  Being a tactile person, I love these things!
Kiss my tush, digital downloads!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Corrections and reflections...

Being remiss implies the culpable omission or the careless or indifferent performance of a task or duty.  
That being the case, I am really remiss in not mentioning that this blog started the day after Dick Tracy's 77th birthday!  Sorry, Tracy and it won't happen again!
Moving along with the puzzle theme introduced yesterday, I have a quartet of puzzles (some of which are still wrapped in cello).  These are from the 1960's cartoon that I didn't like very much. 
It stands accused of being racist and promoting stereotypes.  As a kid, that didn't occur to me at all.  It was just a bit boring, nothing more.  Not enough emphasis on Tracy and too much on the other characters that didn't appear  in the strip.  The potential of a Dick Tracy cartoon in competent hands is an exciting thing for me.  Unfortunately, the route taken by the creative team on this animated version of the great detective leaves me cold.
I do like the puzzles, though!
I'm very much enjoying working on this blog, pulling out and photographing the Tracy items I have acquired over the years.  It is rekindling my love of the character and even reminding me of things long forgotten.  I used to have a much better grip on Tracy facts.  As time progresses, I hope to get back to that and hopefully this blog will reflect that and become something that would do Tracy proud!
Hope you are enjoying it in the meantime.
And for the luvva Pete, comment!  I wanna hear from ya!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bizarre item of the week....

Here's a puzzle with the box from the late '40's or early '50's that depicts the members of the "Crime Does Not Pay Club".  Coming in to say thanks to Tracy for ending their careers in crime are the Brow, the Mole, B.B. Eyes, Pruneface, Mrs. Pruneface, Littleface, the Blank, and Flattop.
Bizarre factor is upped by the fact that most, if not all of the villains here died either directly or indirectly from Tracy's hard-boiled efforts to bring them down.
"Thanks for impaling me with a flag, Tracy.  I appreciate that.  Here's some assorted chocolates."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nothing says love...

This is from the 1940's or early 1950's if I am not mistaken.  I have seen this in a couple of Tracy books and have always wondered if it really is official 'Tracy' or just a rip by some company wanting to make a buck.  
The cool thing about this is the fact that 'Tracy' wants ta love ya but he's still packin'!
Nothing says love like a gun in the face.  Ahhhh.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday's "Item I don't really like, but bought anyway!"

Not many people know that Ralph Byrd used to get drunk as a skunk in Mexico and let people film him for more drinks.  No, wait.  That was me.
This on the other hand is a lobby card for 31 episodes of Dick Tracy that ran in Mexico years agone.  I post this to show that as a Tracy collector (or a collector in general) sometimes you buy something you don't particularly like but Hey, it's Tracy. 
The artwork for the plane is nice, but the Tracy figure looks like it was one-offed by that guy with his hands in the air in the photo to get 'em to stop shooting.  Not Gould for sure! Overall design pretty much bites on this but your eyes do follow the copy.  Hey, I'm trying to like this thing.  I spent money on it, y'know.
Dick Tracy!  He's everywhere you wanna be!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Grail of Gould Part II

This note is another item I got from Art (the fellow I got the Tracy profile from/see previous blog entry).  The figure is ERTL (?) I think.  From the movie.
I am still amazed that he sold these.  This is a wonderful glimpse into a different era where email didn't exist and a handwritten note (with a pre-printed graphic) could bring your heroes to you in a much more personal way.  Art had asked for advice on getting into 'the business' and Gould was very polite and helpful.  I'm sure Gould got a lot of letters like these and the fact that he would write and send a letter like this says a lot about him.  He had these cards printed up with a Tracy profile just to reply to his fans.   
Wish I'd thought to write him.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It is time for all good Americans... Vote!  From the 1970's.  Tracy prompts you to do your civic duty.  This one is beat a bit but I hope to upgrade one day.
Hope this timely pic gets you off your duff and out to the polls this year!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Old Yeller...

Even though the Dick Tracy movie of 1990 will be what most casual observers of Tracy will associate with his look, it wasn't all that accurate.  I have posted older items with the yellow look, but Tracy was quite a dapper dan back in the day and appears to have more than one look.  The yellow outfit is nowhere to be seen on the boxes of these three card games from various years.   I believe they all fall within 1934-8.  The one on the left is the only one that looks like actual Gould art, but it is unverified.  The center game is in the best condition with most of its original gloss.  It looks almost brand new but for a penciled in box near the bottom of the blue circle.   I regret not photographing the cards themselves as they have some wonderful graphics. 
A future picture for sure.  

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday 2fer...

Here's a combo of an old Crime Club Badge and a set of chalk salt and pepper shakers.  The badge is pretty common and if you like it (like I did) you can get it cheap.  It was part of a Crime Club set that I have a few other pieces of and will post soon.  
The shakers must have come as white chalk and as perhaps part of a paint set.  Reason being I have seen them in so many different color combos and all seemed hand-painted as opposed to a factory professional finish.  Please comment if you have more info than I.  I'd love to hear what you have to say.
I have a collection that spans the various eras of Tracy, but the early items are the ones I like best.  Tracy was new, big-name Chicago gangsters and prohibition weren't ancient history quite yet.
And Flattop and the Brow were coming.

Carolina Chris and the Grail of Gould...

This was  a personal Holy Grail of  my Dick Tracy collecting:  Actual profile of Tracy by Chester Gould himself!   A friend of mine had this on ebay, so I had to bid on it but it finished late at night so I got a very nice price.  It's on Gould's letterhead at the time (mid-70's).    It's not mint, but who cares!  Hope you like seeing this as it's been stored for a bit and I like having a good reason to dust it off and look it over again.  
I am enjoying this blog for that reason especially.  

Sunday, October 5, 2008

As sweet as it gets...

In keeping with the candy motif of the last post, here's a nice candy bar wrapper from the 1950's.  Tracy looks a bit happier on this so perhaps the taste was better than the caramels.  If you've ever seen any of the strips from the 1940's, (with Tracy and his department-issue sidearm dispatching villains to the land of no return with alarming regularity) you know this is as sweet as Tracy gets.

First picture...

Starting with an oldie but a goody:  Sometime in the 1930's, this once contained caramel of questionable taste (see the faces of Tracy and Junior!) and a card with a continuing story.  More you bought, the more of the story you could read.  Nice idea.  Coming out of the Great Depression, you needed to have an edge on the competition because a penny actually meant something.  The art is crude and at best was probably copied from a Chester Gould (Tracy's creator) panel.  I don't see as many for sale these days as I did a few years ago.  


Introducing...!  And my Dick Tracy Collection.
This is my first post/blog attempt at sequential wording and it'll probably show for a while.
My name is Chris and I have an affinity for Chester Gould's seminal detective, Dick Tracy.  In my search for others of my ilk, I have come up a little more empty-handed than I thought this brave, new internet world would've let me.  So using the the bring-the-mountain-to-me philosophy, I am creating this thing to search you out.  If you like the same weird stuff I do, comment and add to what I post.  I am going to be posting pics of my collection over the course of however long it takes and if you have some neat shots, send 'em to me and we'll drool over them together!  
Please don't spam or be vulgar or insulting.  No one likes that stuff and you're not as clever as you think for posting that way.  
Besides, vulgar and insulting is my territory anyway.