Tuesday, November 7, 2006


Another animated series based on a long-running comic strip comes to DVD courtesy of Classic Media, with THE DICK TRACY SHOW: THE COMPLETE ANIMATED SERIES (1961). The four-disc set includes all 130 5-minute episodes.

Designed to be run as individual segments of locally produced kiddie shows, each episode begins with Dick Tracy at his desk, getting an assignment from his superiors. But, instead of rushing out to apprehend the perpetrators, he uses his two-way wrist radio to assign one of his operatives to the case, instead. That’s right – Dick Tracy almost never leaves his desk. And who are the operatives he sends out to do his job for him? Well, there’s Japanese agent Joe Jitsu, Mexican op Go-Go Gomez and Irish beat cop, Heap O’ Callory… some of the most offensive racial stereotypes ever seen in TV animation.

The animation itself is about as static and stilted as it can be, and the five-minute stories don’t have much time to get complicated. Aside from Tracy’s cameos, the only other link to the famous comic strip is the use of some of its more colorful criminals – Flattop, Mumbles, Pruneface – reduced here to bumbling idiots. It’s not pretty.

And neither are the discs. While Classic Media has gone all out with the packaging – a beautiful hardback case with four single-sided discs and free comic book – the cartoons themselves really show their age, with severely faded colors and minor damage throughout.

For Dick Tracy completists only.

BUY: The Dick Tracy Show: The Complete Animated Crime Series