Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Dick Tracy" Returns

Archie Comics has confirmed a comic book reboot of "Dick Tracy", available April 11, 2018, as actor Warren Beatty continues to hold onto the character's screen rights, despite a 'use it' or 'lose it' clause in a long-standing  agreement with Tribune Co. to produce a "Dick Tracy" movie or TV show:

The monthly comic book series will be illustrated by Thomas Pitilli...

...with the first cover by Francesco Francavilla.

Created by Chester Gould as a newspaper comic strip, the character has so far appeared in five movie serials from 1937 through 1941, six movies, including Beatty's 1990 feature, plus three TV series including animated cartoons.

Tribune Co. is "...very excited to work with Archie Comics. 'Dick Tracy' is an iconic character, who still resonates with his fan base. 

"The reboot of the franchise will keep 'Dick Tracy' and his cast of rogue villains at the forefront of heroic characters in the battle of good and evil..."

Budgeted at $47 million, Beatty's "Dick Tracy" earned $103,738,726 domestic and $59,000,000 foreign for a worldwide box office of $162,738,726.

According to court documents, rights to the character would revert back to Tribune if "a certain period of time" lapsed without Beatty having produced another "Dick Tracy" movie or TV series, with Beatty quickly cobbling together a TV 'interview special' in 2014, that only aired once.

Gould's "Dick Tracy" debuted October 4, 1931, reflecting the violence of gangster Al Capone's 1930's Chicago, while staying current with crime fighting techniques, forensic science and advanced gadgetry.

The "Dick Tracy" rogues gallery of villains included 'Flattop', 'Bigboy', 'Pruneface', 'Itchy' and 'The Mole'.

January 1946, Gould introduced Tracy's '2-Way Wrist Radio', upgraded to a '2-Way Wrist TV' in 1964.

The character had a long run on radio, 1934 to 1948, with the special "Dick Tracy In B Flat" in 1945, starring Bing Crosby as Tracy, singer Dinah Shore as girlfriend 'Tess Trueheart' and Bob Hope as 'Flattop'.

Tracy made his live-action debut in "Dick Tracy" (1937), a Republic Pictures serial starring actor Ralph Byrd.

A second serial, "Dick Tracy Returns", was released in 1938, "Dick Tracy's G-Men" in 1939 and "Dick Tracy vs. Crime Inc." in 1941, featuring Tracy as an FBI agent, based in California.

RKO Radio Pictures followed with the features "Dick Tracy, Detective" (1945) and "Dick Tracy vs. Cueball" (1946) starring Morgan Conway.

Villains in the RKO film series included Mike Mazurki as 'Splitface', Dick Wessel as 'Cueball', Esther Howard as 'Filthy Flora' and Jack Lambert as 'The Claw'.

A TV series starring Byrd again, aired on ABC from 1950 to 1951.

The first animated Tracy TV series "The Dick Tracy Show" was produced from 1960 to 1961 by UPA, starring Everett Sloane as Tracy and Mel Blanc as 'Go-Go Gomez', 'Joe Jitsu', 'Hemlock Holmes' and 'Heap O'Calorie'.

A second Filmation cartoon series was produced in 1971, with short episodes inserted into the show "Archie's TV Funnies".

In 1967, producer William Dozier ("Batman"), developed a live-action TV pilot starring actor Ray MacDonnell.

In 1990, Beatty starred in and directed the Disney feature "Dick Tracy", with Al Pacino as 'Big Boy' and Madonna as 'Breathless Mahoney'.

The film won an Academy Award for Best Song, with Madonna's soundtrack album "I'm Breathless: Music from and Inspired by Dick Tracy" spawning top-ten hits, "Vogue" and "Hanky Panky".

Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "Dick Tracy"...