High tech supersleuth Dick Tracy turns 75
By Mike Hanlon
September 20, 2006
September 21, 2006 It’s time to pay homage to super sleuth Dick Tracy who turns 75 next week, or more specifically, it’s 75 tears since Dick first appeared in the Detroit Mirror in 1931. The creation of cartoonist, indeed futurist, Chester Gould, Detective Tracy used forensics, futuristic methodology and wireless technology way ahead of its time. Gould’s imagination gave us the Closed Circuit TV Police villains line-up in 1953 - real suspect lineups were introduced the following year. Dick was using Electronic Telephone Number Pickup in 1954, 28 years before Caller ID was patented. One we’ve still to see was the Magnetic Space Coupe which took Tracy to the moon in 1962, seven years before the first actual moon landing, with the prospects of the magnetic car still realistic, having been used in the Lexus Concept from "Minority Report". The most iconic of Dick Tracy’s kit though, was his wrist communicator, a device that started countless millions of technological dreams in a young American technology community which went on to create ubiquitous wireless communication. There would not have been one leader in the communications revolution who wasn’t touched by Dick Tracy’s videoconferencing wrist watch. The device arrived in 1946 with two-way audio, became video in 1964, and a wireless wrist-worn computer in 1987. Gould’s imagination deserves credit for helping to fuel the communications boom of the late 20th Century.
The creator of Dick Tracy, Chester Gould, arrived in Chicago with the dream of becoming a published cartoonist. After ten years of submitting ideas to the Chicago Tribune, Dick Tracy was picked up and first published in the Detroit Mirror in 1931, followed by the New York Daily News and finally the Chicago Tribune.
To commemorate the anniversary, Classic Media will release the complete animated series in a 4-disc DVD Box Set Classic Media with a limited edition Dick Tracy comic book on pack. It will be the first time ever that the entire, animated series will be offered on DVD. The Dick Tracy Complete Animated Series DVD set will be available for US$40 for a total 645 minutes of playing time.
The Adventures of Dick Tracy originally aired on TV from 1961 - 1964, with local personalities introducing the cartoons. The voice of Dick Tracy was performed by character actor Everett Sloan, with other notable characters being voiced by the likes of Paul Frees, also known as the voice of Boris Badanov from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, and Mel Blanc, of Bugs Bunny fame.
Chester Gould continued to draw the strip, which became a globally syndicated newspaper comic section favourite, until 1977.