On Stage, Mary Perkins!

MaryPerkinsIn classic Mike Curtis fashion, today’s Dick Tracy Sunday features Mary Perkins from the On Stage comic strip.  It looks as though Mary will be co-starring with Vitamin Flintheart, (Perhaps they are doing King Lear).  This marks another retired Tribune Media Services strip crossover, a great way to keep the old strips alive.  The On Stage strip was always well drawn and Joe Staton does a great job duplicating Mary’s look for the panels of Dick Tracy.

MaryPerkinsOn Stage, Mary Perkins was written by Leonard Starr and ran from Feb 10th, 1957 to September 9, 1979.  The strip was a soap opera style backstage broadway drama that followed the career of actress Mary Perkins.  Filming in New York, Hollywood and on international sets across the world, On Stage also brought us adventure and humor to keep the drama from getting to deep.  Unfortunately for Mary, the strip came to conclusion with Leonard left to take over Little Orphan Annie.  Some of you may remember, the Annie strip crossed over into Dick Tracy in 2013, so now two of Starr’s works are in the Tracy universe, Mary and Annie could meet!.  Classic Comic Press has been releasing collected volumes of On Stage.

Merry Christmas

1941 Christmas Greetings

1941 Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas from the Depot! Chester Gould has nearly always referenced the holiday season in his strips. In 1931 Tess Trueheart was upset as Dick dealt with a case on Christmas while through most years of the 30’s at least one member of the Tracy team (often Junior) managed to say Merry Christmas. The 1941 daily was Gould’s first single frame Christmas Day strip, although a similar Christmas Eve daily was drawn in 1940. With all the signatures, it’s fun to see again. Have a good holiday all!

Tracy Family Tree

DickTracyFamilyTreeWith the last week of daily strips focusing on Dick Tracy’s family and the exciting news that Junior and Sparkle will be expecting a new child we began thinking, what would the Tracy/Plenty family tree look like?  With Bonnie Braid’s return to the strip, Joe Staton has amazingly now done art for every major member of the family.  Organizing them into a tree took some work but it turned out well enough.  Click on the image to take a closer look!

Dick Tracy’s Brother – Gordon Tracy


Gordon and Dick (Richard Beach and Ralph Byrd)

In the November 10th Sunday strip, Christmas Early interviewed Dick Tracy for a television broadcast and asked a long overdue question, does Dick Tracy have a family.  Chester Gould never gave us much back ground on Detective Tracy, and we got the sense Dick was an only child and had outlived his parents.  But Gould commonly excluded non-essential family members from his tales.  Take Tess’s mother, Mrs. Trueheart took part in the first stories with the murder of her husband Emil, and then she vanished for decades, only appearing briefly during Tess and Dick’s wedding.

So it is fun to see Dick answer the questions about his family, revealing that his parents were Chester and Edna Tracy, honoring his creator and his wife Edna.  Tracy uses the word “were”, implying his parents have passed away.  We also learn of a sister, Jean, honoring Chester’s daughter Jean Gould O’Connell, an author in her own right.  Jean says in her biography of her father that she thinks of Tracy as her brother and now Mike Curtis has made the feeling mutual!

The final family member, Gordon Tracy is said to have been lost long ago in a car crash after a criminal named “The Lame One”.  Here Mike has written the character of Gordon Tracy, found in the first Dick Tracy Serial into the strip that came out in 1937. For old cinefiles like myself, this is awesome.

GordonTracyFor those who don’t want to watch 15 serial episodes to find out the significance, Gordon Tracy was indeed Dick’s brother and an attorney that assisted the FBI.  Unfortunately, Gordon was ran off the road by the Lame One’s men, who took him to their hideout.  There the vile Dr. Moloch performed an experimental surgery to remove Gordon’s sense of right and wrong.  Essentially Gordon was medical brainwashed, becoming the Lame One’s right hand field agent.  Oddly the surgery also changed his appearance so Dick would not recognize his brother.  To accentuate the transformation, two different actors portrayed Gordon, Richard Beach before the surgery and Carleton Young after.


Dick tries to reason with Gordon

In most of the serial chapters, Gordon led the Lame One’s men in their never-ending plots and it was not until the final chapter that Dick learned who his brother was.  The two battled with Dick trying to reason with his brother but to seeming no avail.  Finally Gordon and the Lame One escaped in a vehicle and during a high-speed chase.  When Gordon saw Gwen and Junior on the road in his path, he finally broke his conditioning and yanked the vehicle off the road.  The crash would kill both him and the Lame One but not before he was able to talk to his brother one last time.

Serials, other films and books are non-canon of course, but much like Cueball from last year, it is fun to see the current team tie our comic strip hero back to some of these old adventures.

Old Dick Tracy Radio

Dick Tracy - Ned Wever - publicity stillWhile we’re finally getting a chance to read a lengthier Dick Tracy adventure, featuring one of our favorite new villains, Abner Kadaver, I thought I’d plug the Depot a little bit. We have a nice collection of Dick Tracy Radio plays from the 30’s and 40’s and have been slowly putting them together for your perusement. With the exception of Dick Tracy in B Flat, which was an Army radio musical comedy, these radio drama’s were aimed at a younger crowd and honestly you need a fairly high Dick Tracy fandom quotient to listen to them. To make things slightly easier for the modern listener, we’ve also been compiling stories into single 1-2 hour-long radio streams with all the commercials cut out.  Dick Tracy and the Black Pearl of Osiris and Dick Tracy and the Purple Rider are now done.  So, if you’re really into all things Dick Tracy or old-time radio shows, check out the Radio section.