McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

October 13, 2013

VIDEO: Pawnee keeps Dick Tracy's spirit alive

PAWNEE, Okla. — You might not recall the name Chester Gould, but almost everyone knows his creation — Dick Tracy.

Tracy probably is the most-famous cop in comic-strip history. It all begin with Gould and a box of Crayons in Pawnee.

Saturday, Pawnee celebrated the birth of the Dick Tracy comic strip, which first appeared in the Detroit Mirror in October 1931. The strip’s popularity grew. Eventually, it was syndicated nationwide and in approximately 25 foreign papers.

Dick Tracy also has appeared in cartoons and the movies.

Saturday Pawnee Mayor Brad Sewell donned Tracy’s famous yellow fedora and a yellow trench coat, similar to the one Warren Beatty wore in 1990 Dick Tracy movie. Beatty produced, directed and starred in that film.

“A lot of the characters (Chester Gould) created are based on the people he knew growing up,” Sewell said. “You read the Dick Tracy comic books and you see a lot of the spirit of the town. It means a lot to the town. Dick Tracy Day is dedicated to keeping that spirit alive.”

Chayton Vogele blended in with the memorabilia. He has worn Dick Tracy garb at the annual celebration since he was 9 or 10 years old. In his youth, he won the events Tracy lookalike contest.

“I’ve seen the movies, and that’s what got me interested. I love the way he talked. I loved how tough he was. His personality is just awesome,” Vogele said.

The villians in Tracy comic strips are just as noteworthy. Pruneface, B.B. Eyes, Mumbles and Flattop Jones are a handful of bad guys that Tracy battled over and over.

Flattop is Vogele’s favorite Tracy’s nemesis.

“I think he is pretty interesting, especially how he looks. I’d really like to know how his head got so flat. I figure somebody got him with a hammer possibly,” he said.

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