Dick Tracy, He's a Good Cop - Macleans.ca

Dick Tracy, He’s a Good Cop

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I usually try not to have two “obscure YouTube clips” posts in one day, but I just found this one and couldn’t resist talking about it ASAP. In 1966-7, William Dozier, the producer (and narrator) of the Batman TV series, tried developing some other comic-book and comic-strip franchises into shows. He’d already done The Green Hornet, and in 1967 he produced a pilot based on Dick Tracy. This made sense, since Dick Tracy was an influence on Batman in the first place — Tracy was a cop and Batman worked outside the law, but they both fought grotesque villains with strange motifs and obsessions. But the pilot didn’t sell; neither did Dozier’s pilot for a comedy version of Wonder Woman as a plain-Jane teenager.

I have never seen the Dick Tracy pilot, which apparently is different from the opening credits (Tess Trueheart, Dick’s wife, appears in the credits but supposedly isn’t in the pilot). I’d be interested to know what it was like. Dozier’s Batman was a lampoon, but The Green Hornet was more serious; from the title sequence, it looks like Dick Tracy would have been somewhere in between: the theme song is utterly ridiculous — a surf-band theme whose lyrics consist of only one sentence (at least that gives it six words to Batman‘s one) — but it looks marginally less silly, and seems to point with pride to the resemblance of the actors to the  comic-strip characters.

Dick Tracy is a franchise that really ought to make a good movie or TV show, but never really has.

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