Friday, February 29, 2008

A Hayfamzone Salute to Dick Tracy

Dick Tracy is one of the cornerstones of American comics and, though I'm not what anyone could call a big fan, I certainly respect the strip. Back when I was a teenager I bought a thick hardcover edition featuring reprints of early Chester Gould storylines because I wanted to get to really like them, but comic strips in general and Dick Tracy in specific are just not my preferred cup of tea.

Do you know there were Dick Tracy cartoons on television? I would say that these days only old-timers like me would have any recollection of them, but through the magic of YouTube I can show you what you may never have seen before. Click here to see the animated opening credits of the series; it's quite well done and the theme music is perfect. Then click here to see two episodes of the cartoon.

Do you know there is a Dick Tracy Museum? Well yes there is, but not for much longer. I've known of its existence since it opened in 1991 but, not being that big of a fan, I've never traveled the 60 miles from Chicago to Woodstock, Illinois to see the museum for myself. Click here to read a recent Chicago Tribune story about the upcoming shuttering of the brick and mortar. Then click here to visit the museum's website, planning to remain vibrant long after its building closes.

One of the people quoted in the above-linked newspaper article is Dick Locher, current artist of the syndicated Dick Tracy comic strip (which runs in just 50 papers, compared to 650 papers back in the strip's heyday). When I was in college, Mr. Locher's full-time employment was as one of the Chicago Tribune's editorial cartoonists and he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. I spent hours upon hours back then trying to think of ways to break into the comics industry, and one day I picked up my quill and penned a letter to Mr. Locher asking whether he might possibly have need of an assistant; a perfect gentleman, Mr. Locher wrote me back and said that he unfortunately did not. I think it was only later that I learned Mr. Locher had begun his career twenty years prior by assisting Chester Gould on Dick Tracy!