Before the advent of television, non-musical Radio shows were one of the favored mediums of mass entertainment. In 1934, only three years after Chester Gould’s Tracy comic strip hit the newspapers, Dick Tracy Radio was born in the New England region and the show was an immediate hit and continued between 1935 and 1937. Both kids and adults enjoyed listening in as the detective battled crime.
The show’s reach began to expand once Republic Pictures began producing Dick Tracy cliffhanger films and starting in 1938 fifteen minute serials voiced by Ned Wever were produced five nights a week. The Black Pearl of Osirus and Purple Rider series are the only known recordings from this time period to survive. The Dick Tracy time slot was reduced to a single half-hour show on Saturday’s in 1939 until the outbreak of World War II when Dick Tracy Radio went into hiatus.
In March 1943 Dick Tracy returned to the air as a fifteen minute serial on weekdays by the the ABC Blue Network and this would be expanded to half hour episodes. Episodes featured the classic Dick Tracy team of the famous detective and his partner Pat Patton, side kick Junior Tracy and sweetheart Tess Tracy. Many of these Dick Tracy Radio broadcasts have survived and are considered Public Domain. Those that we’ve collected will be made available here.
One well known Dick Tracy Radio show was a single hour broadcast produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service for American soldiers abroad in 1945. Titled, Dick Tracy in B Flat, this was a witty comic opera featuring stars such as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby as Dick Tracy.