Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Real Dick Tracy

Cleveland News April 4, 1936
Thousand Young Dick Tracys Thhrill and Cheer as Ness Tells How G-Men Got Capone Gang

Guns, criminals, hidden rooms, underground tunnels, G-men, deserted haunted houses --

Such things were woven by Safety Director Eliot Ness today into thrilling stories for nearly 1,000 of the latest recruits to the Dick Tracy Detective squad.

The howling, yelling, whistling crowd of youngsters filled every available inch of space in The News auditorium to listen to the former G-man and sign up for a Dick Tracy badge.


It was 15 minutes before Director Ness could quiet them down to the point where his voice could be heard. Then he took out his big gold police badge.

“You have a badge just like mine,” he said. More cheers. More shouting.

“Only maybe yours is a little bit smaller…. When you grow up to be a man with long pants perhaps your badge will grow up with you … And when that time comes I’d like to have you all working for me as real detective.”

The enthusiasm was uncontrollable.


Then the director held the boys and girls spellbound with stories of how he and other G-men ran down one-time lieutenants of Al Capone, Chicago gangster.

He told them also about an experience uncovering a large still in an underground passage beneath a deserted house when he was in charge of the government’s alcohol tax unit here.

Dick Tracy, the swashbucking detective who started all this, appears daily in a News adventure strip.
FYI - Shortly after Ness' departure from Chicago, the Tribune was the first paper to pick up Chester Gould's new strip Dick Tracy, which many have speculated was based on Eliot Ness' crime-busting legacy.

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