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August 2, 2016

Episode 282: Dick Tracy (1990)

Special Guests: Glenne Headly, Garyn G. Roberts, Dan Kampling
Guest Co-Hosts: Jared Case, Frank Santopadre

Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy is a beautiful recreation of the four-color world of Chester Gould's square-jawed detective. It's also something of an uneasy marriage of Stephen Sondheim songs, Madonna, and a cavalcade of character actors as Gould's "Rogues Gallery."

Interviews feature Glenne Headly who plays Tracy's love interest, Tess Trueheart, as well as author Garyn G. Roberts, and Dick Tracy afficianado Dan Kampling. We also hear just a bit of executive producer Floyd Mutrux from a previous interview.

Jared Case and Frank Santopadre join Mike to debate if the film ultimately works.

Listen/Download Now:

Buy Dick Tracy on Blu-Ray
Buy Dick Tracy and American Culture: Morality and Mythology, Text and Context by Garyn G Roberts
Buy Chester Gould: A Daughter's Biography of the Creator of Dick Tracy by Jean Gould O'Connell
Buy Dick Tracy The Official Biography by Jay Maeder
Read Dick Tracy: A (Re)appreciation by Jared Case
Read Looking Back at Dick Tracy by Becky Lea
Read Remember Dick Tracy? by Keith Phipps
Learn more about the Cash & Epps collection at MSU
Visit the official Stephen Sondheim website
Visit the official Frank Santopadre website
Hear more of Frank Santopadre on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast
Learn more about the Nitrate Picture Show
Hear more from Floyd Mutrux

"Bat/Tracy?" - Danny Elfman
"Dick Tracy" - The Ventures
"Tess's Theme" - Danny Elfman
"The Powerful Fully-Transistorized Dick Tracy Two-Way Wrist Radio" - Man or Astro-man?
"Dick Tracy" - Ice-T



  1. Elfman was actually hired to replicate the Batman sound, because Beatty was so impressed by his work on Batman. He actually said that "Warren was insane".

    Despite the music being similar to Batman, Elfman actually did compose original Gershaw inspired music, particularly with the track "Crime Wave", and "Tess's Theme".

    Saw the film earlier finally. Enjoyed it enough, though I wasn't big on the love triangle.

  2. Actually, in the strip, it's the Kid (Junior)who marries the Moon Maiden - who, years later, is killed in a car bomb attempt on Tracy's life -- and also puts an end to the more fantastic/sci-fi elements in the strip up until then.

  3. Surprised there was no mention of the prequel Dick Tracy comics Kyle Baker did.

  4. ^ written by John Francis Moore, drawn & coloured & lettered by Baker.

    "the four-color world of Chester Gould's square-jawed detective" -??! one of the most bemusing things about the film was Beatty's insistence on the bright, bold colour scheme for an artist who worked in stark black & white.

    (NB: downloading now, maybe this is addressed in the episode.)

    1. I think you're forgetting the full-color Sunday comics as opposed to the daily strip. Dick Tracy was known for his yellow fedora and trench coat.


  5. Just wanted to point out that it was Junior Tracy that married Moon Maid on Oct. 4, 1964. In 1965 they had a daughter “Honey Moon”. Mysta ("Moon Maid") was killed by a car bomb meant for Dick Tracy in 1978.