Since the 1930’s a number Dick Tracy movies and television shows have been produced, starting with the Republic Pictures Dick Tracy serials between 1937 and 1941. Sometimes called cliffhanger serials, all four serials consisted of 15 episodes that would each end with a cliffhanger. These serials featured Dick Tracy as an FBI agent instead of a detective with a non-canon cast of characters.
Dick Tracy was brought back to his detective roots in four films produced by RKO Radio Pictures between 1945 and 1947. Each film focused a Dick Tracy case not found in the daily comic strip. The first two movies starred Morgan Conway while the latter two brought back Ralph Byrd who had starred in the earlier serials. Byrd would go on to star in a Dick Tracy television show in the early 1950’s featuring a number of Gould created villains.
A decade after the live Tracy television show, an animated Dick Tracy show was produced for a short time in 1961 followed by a failed live action pilot in 1967. The dedicated detective would then mostly vanish from the film until Warren Beatty‘s 1990 movie, Dick Tracy. Beatty has kept the Tracy film rights and this author is hopeful we may once again see Tracy in film or television.