Dick Tracy

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 5, 2004

    Comic strip detective created by Chester Gould who reached the height of his popularity in the thirties and forties, even to the extent of appearing in movie serials. The comic strip was famous for elaborately designed villains, such as Flattop Jones, The Blank, and Pruneface -- referred to by Bugs in The Old Grey Hare (Clampett, 1944) and Daffy in Porky Pig’s Feat (Tashlin, 1943) -- whose physiques matched their monikers. Bugs parodies this when, after causing a little accident to Sir Pantsalot of Dropseat Manor in Knights Must Fall (Freleng, 1949), he refers to him as “Accordian Head”.

    The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (Clampett, 1946) is easily the most prominent Warner Brothers spoof, with Daffy Duck starring as “Duck Twacy” opposite a whole series of goony criminals with names and physiques like “Pickle Puss,” “Neon Noodle,” “Jukebox Jaw,” “88 Teeth” (based on 88 Keyes, a murderous pianist in the comic strip), “Double Header,” “Hammerhead,” “Pussycat Puss,” “Wolfman,” “Rubberhead” (the one who threatens to rub Daffy out -- and does so), “Pumpkinhead,” “The Human Fly,” and “Mouseman”. One that apparently got cut from the final film was “The Nostril,” who was supposed to say the line “You mugs stay here, I gotta blow!”. In addition, Flattop Jones from the strip makes an appearance, his head put to punning use as a “flat-top” aircraft carrier.

    Other references to Dick Tracy are seen in Easter Yeggs (McKimson, 1947) with Fudd’s Dick Tracy hat, Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (Jones, 1941) with Fudd perusing the comics, and Farm Frolics (Clampett, 1941) with the farm dog also perusing the comics.

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