Dick Tracy - in Popular Culture

In Popular Culture

  • The superhero The Tick had several villains that made fun of the disfigurements of Dick Tracy villains, including Chairface.
  • The artist Jess Collins used an X-Acto knife and rubber cement to reassemble Gould's strip into Tricky Cad. Gould threatened to sue if the Tricky Cad collages were published.
  • In Al Capp's satiric comic strip Li'l Abner, there was a long-running parody of Dick Tracy called Fearless Fosdick. An intermittent, strip-within-the-strip feature in Li'l Abner, Fosdick lampooned every aspect of Dick Tracy—from Fosdick's impossibly square-jawed profile to his propensity for bullet-riddled "ventilation." The style of the Fosdick sequences closely burlesqued Tracy, complete with outrageous villains, ludicrously satirical plotlines, and ramped-up cartoon violence. Whatever Capp really thought of Dick Tracy, he was always careful to praise Gould and his strip in conversation and in print, invariably referring to it as "Chester Gould's magnificent Dick Tracy."
  • On February 15, 1945, Command Performance presented "Dick Tracy In B Flat," or "For Goodness Sakes, Isn't He Ever Going To Marry Tess Trueheart?" Billed as "the world's first comic strip operetta", it starred Bing Crosby as Dick Tracy, Dinah Shore as Tess Trueheart, and Bob Hope as Flattop Jones. The cast also included Jerry Colonna (police chief), Frank Morgan (Vitamin Flintheart), Jimmy Durante (The Mole), Judy Garland (Snowflake Falls), The Andrews Sisters (The Summer Sisters—May, June & July), Frank Sinatra (Shaky), Cass Daley (Gravel Gertie), and Harry Von Zell (narrator).
  • Dick Tracy is also spoofed in the comic strip Red Meat by Max Cannon. The character of Stacy is a down on his luck alcoholic kicked off the force.
  • A classic Warner Bros. cartoon with Looney Tunes star Daffy Duck called The Great Piggy Bank Robbery spoofed Dick Tracy as "Duck Twacy". The cartoon was directed by WB legend Bob Clampett in 1946. Daffy wore Dick's yellow hat again in a Tiny Toons episode where Plucky Duck becomes the protagonist of a Dick-Tracy-themed dream sequence just like Daffy did in TGPBR. Also, in Easter Yeggs, Elmer Fudd says "I can't miss with my Dick Twacy hat!"
  • The "Crimestopper's Textbook" was parodied in two editions of The Stan Freberg Show in 1957, both in a discussion sketch called "Face the Funnies." In the first, a self-proclaimed Dick Tracy expert (voiced by Daws Butler) advised, "If vandals kidnap you, look for fingerprints on or about your person." In the second example, Butler said, "If someone shoots you in the chest, extract the bullet and look for small tell-tale bore markings on the slug, and then call a doctor."
  • Mad once eulogized Tracy as having died from lead poisoning, which resulted from being shot in the left shoulder 47 times (noting Gould's repeatedly showing Tracy being wounded in that spot). Other issues of Mad showed Tracy identifying Pruneface despite a facelift (by viewing his still-wrinkled buttocks), or ranting in Doonesbury style about changing trends in police procedures. (In the latter, Junior suggests "There's always the CIA!") A parody of the 1990 film was also made, where Warren Beatty's Tracy is killed in the end by the Blank, who reveals himself to be the original comic-style Dick Tracy.
  • In issue #5, October/November 1954, Mad's sister magazine, Panic, ran a full-length Tracy parody titled "Tick Dracy."
  • Parody show Robot Chicken recently parodied the Dick Tracy strips labeling of villains based on their facial features. Tracy nicknames everybody, in an insulting way. It's later revealed that Tracy himself is named Dick because his head looks like the head of a penis .
  • Parodying a period when Tracy was blind, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Underground comix books featured Tricky Prickears, a very conservative blind and deaf detective. These comic-within-a comic episodes appeared under the heading Crime Stoppers, Mein Kampf.
  • In the crime drama The Closer's episode Tapped Out, a character named Richard Tracy was a psychotic man who thought he was a cop.
  • Maxwell House 'hug-a-mug' 80's TV commercials sometimes featured cartoon Dick Tracy cameos, including one where he's sitting at a live action diner counter along with some live action cops. As Tracy raises his coffee mug, his wrist radio sounds. He tilts his wrist to listen, only to have the coffee spill to the amusement of the cops.
  • The February, 1949, issue of The Yale Record (cover titled Record Comics) contains several full-color comics parodies, including the Dick Tracy parody called "Hotshot Stacy". In this two-page feature, the detective pursues "The Head", a man with a giant egg-shaped head, and corners him at the head, literally, an outhouse. During the strip, The Head puts "Bright Boy" through a meat grinder. The art is signed by Sylvester Goul, in the style of Chester Gould's signature. The whole magazine is a precursor to the comics parodies in early issues of Mad.
  • In 1933, Humor Publishing Company produced a comic featuring a Dick Tracy knock-off named Dan Dunn.
  • In 1960, American Pop artist Andy Warhol made several paintings, each called Dick Tracy, faithfully reproducing Gould's hero in a faux Abstract Expressionist style.
  • La Guardia Reads The Funnies - New York mayor shown reading Sunday comics, telling Dick Tracy story aloud into WNYC radio mic: A film clip "Czechs Fight For Freedom, 1945/07/09 (1945)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • In the 80's, Spanish cartoonist Marti Riera updated the style with his graphic pastiche "The Cabbie", an even grittier take on Dick Tracy's world.

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