On January 3rd of 1938, NBC re-launched a fifteen minute weekday afternoon Dick Tracy Radio show with the sponsorship of Quaker Oats. Ned Wever provided the voice of Detective Tracy and was joined by Walter Kinsella as Pat Patton and Andy Donnelly as Junior. Sound man Keene Crockett did the many sound effects. Radio provided the freedom to make Dick Tracy into a world traveller and early episodes had Dick Tracy solving crimes for Scotland Yard in London. The case of “The Baron and the Sub-stratosphere Plans” came to a close and Dick Tracy and Pat Patton caught a steamer back to the States and protecting a well-known Egyptologist named Driden Small from a “Man with a Yellow Face.” This was an homage to Tracy’s predecessor, Sherlock Holmes, who also solved a mystery of a man with a yellow face. (“The Yellow Face” is included in Conan Doyle’s Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.”)
The man with the Yellow Face turned out to be the High Priest of a secret cult of Osirus named Hoomi Bateek. Bateek sought the return of the Black Pearl of Osirus, stolen from Egypt by Driden Small. Bateek evolves from an enemy into an ally as Small is discovered to be a member of a global ring of art thieves and forgers. Returning to Dick Tracy’s home port, the detective, Patton and Junior work to keep Small and his boss the High Mogul from getting posession of the Black Pearl. To help him hide the pearl, Hoomi gives Dick a the Secret Ring of Osirus which has a secret compartment to hide the precious item. This ties directly into a Dick Tracy Radio Premium offered by Quaker Oats.
Radio Premiums originated in the early 1930’s and were offered to kid show listeners in exchange for box tops and other product liners. The Dick Tracy Radio premium was described as a big resizable gold-plated ring just like the Secret Ring of Osirus. Like the ring in the story, this ring had a secret compartment to hide treasures. The Dick Tracy Premium was offered in exchange for five box tops of Quaker Puffed Wheat or Rice (it’s shot from guns!) and one wonders how many uneaten boxes were dismembered by eager kids before the offer expired.
Quaker Oats recognized that young girls might also be listening to Dick Tracy and also offered a gold Lucky Bangle Bracelet featuring Dick Tracy, Junior and a four-leaf clover. Of course boys and girls might be interested in these items and both could be had with 10 box tops. That’s a lot of Quaker Wheat or Rice!
Near the end of the Black Pearl of Osirus storyline, we are teased with the future enemy, #1 from Europe and also introduced to a caped and cowled figure, not unlike the Shadow who calls himself the Unknown. The Unknown would continue to be a mysterious figure in future Radio episodes but sadly his identity has been lost to time.
|Listen to every Black Pearl Radio Broadcast here. Also available below is a combined two hour broadcast seamlessly put together to eliminate recaps and commercials. These broadcasts are also available on our Youtube channel.
We’ve created the entire 14 chapter broadcast without interruption here!