December 1, 2009
After years of
inactivity, following his starring/directing turn in the 1990 Disney feature "Dick Tracy", actor/producer Warren 'Clyde Barrow'
Beatty recently sued a unit of Tribune Co, to prevent Tribune from taking back film/TV rights to creator Chester Gould's newspaper
comic strip detective character.
Budgeted at $47 million, "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 would revert to Tribune if "a certain period of time" lapsed without
Beatty having produced another Dick Tracy movie, TV series or TV special.
Tribune sent Beatty
a letter November 17, 2006, giving him two years to begin production on new "Dick Tracy" programing. "Tribune asserted it
still wanted to terminate Beatty's 'Tracy' Rights and effect a reversion, and purported to do so," the lawsuit said, with
Beatty seeking a declaration that his work on a developing Dick Tracy documentary TV special precludes Tribune from taking
back rights to the property.
Gould's "Dick Tracy" Chicago Tribune
newspaper comic strip, 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'.
In January 1946, Gould introduced Tracy's '2-Way Wrist Radio', upgraded to
a '2-Way Wrist TV' in 1964.
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'.
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.
Radio Pictures followed with the features "Dick Tracy, Detective" (1945) and "Dick Tracy vs. Cueball" (1946) starring Morgan
Conway. Ralph Byrd returned for "Dick Tracy's Dilemma" and "Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome" in 1947, co-starring Boris "Frankenstein"
Karloff. 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 "Batman" Dozier, 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', Dustin Hoffman as 'Mumbles' and Madonna as 'Breathless
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 the top-ten hits, "Vogue" and "Hanky Panky".