NEWS COLUMNS

THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014

CHRISTMAS AT THE MUSEUM 2005

By James Johnson

originally printed in the Woodstock Independent
December 21, 2005

Children visited the Chester Gould-Dick Tracy Museum again this year to meet with Santa Claus and Mrs. Santa Claus. Prior to the lighting of the Square on November 25, more than 200 parents and children were greeted by Jean Gould O’Connell, Brett and Sue Sanders and Tracy and Cindy O’Connell with their daughter Elizabeth.

Santa Claus patiently listened to each child’s Christmas list, and each boy and girl received a small gift, compliments of the museum. Mrs. Santa Claus did readings of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and “Once There Was a Christmas Tree.” Thank you to all who attended that evening. A special thanks is also extended to John Cole and Cav Peterson. Without their help, the program couldn’t have occurred.
Cindy O’Connell has installed an exhibit of Chester Gould’s Christmas greetings from 1940 to 1977. There are seven daily strips from this period. Dick Tracy and Tess look somewhat different over the years, although no older. Their Christmas message remains the same: “Peace on earth and good will toward men.”

Ed Beling’s winter newsletter was recently mailed to the membership. It contains a variety of recipes related in some way to Dick Tracy’s friends and foes. Matt Masterson offers “Shaky’s Milk Shakes,” easily prepared with classic ingredients. Richard Pietrzyk has recreated “B.O. Plenty’s 7-layer salad.” Visitors to the museum are invited to pick up a free copy of this issue. Andy Feighery’s collectible Dick Tracy Magazine, No. 57 is available at the museum for holiday shopping, along with Dick Tracy coffee mugs, T-shirts, golf shirts, cards, golf balls and a variety of colorful items. The public should remember the museum for last-minute gifts.

Christmas tips in Chester Gould’s “Crimestoppers Textbook” panels are still relevant today. Begun in 1949, the panels have continued in Dick Locher’s Sunday strip. Initially, the information given was on forensics, covering fingerprints, ballistics, microscopic analysis and other police investigative techniques. Later, Gould expanded the concept to give the general public practical advice. Readers should check home wiring and monitor fireplaces. They should avoid toys with sharp points or edges, avoid leaving packages in plain sight in the car and beware of pickpockets and purse snatchers. Perhaps most important is something that applies year-round–never drink and drive. Gould also said “Count your many blessings and make some unfortunate children happy Christmas Day by your gifts and contributions.”

Follow-up note: Christmas was always a special time at the museum. It was beautifully decorated and a happy place to be. “Breakfast with Santa” occurred in the third floor courtroom for many years; later Santa appeared at the museum. Museum visitors often told of their interest in the Crimestoppers Textbook. Many would clip the small panels and save them in a scrapbook. As the website grows, many of these will be shown. We also hope to show a sampling of Ed Beling’s quarterly newsletters. These were classics, well researched and a delight to Chester Gould fans.

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“When I invented the 2-way wrist radio in 1946, I had bought a bundle of laughing stock.”
- Chester Gould
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