NEWS COLUMNS

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2014

HATS OFF! FOR DICK TRACY DAYS

By James Johnson

originally printed in the Woodstock Independent
July 14, 2004

The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce has again given the community a successful Dick Tracy Days event. It was a busy time at the Chester Gould-Dick Tracy Museum, with a cartoon art class, sidewalk chalk art contest and the opening of the Cartoons 2004 and the Hats Off! exhibit. Cartoonist Richard Pietrzyk appeared as Professor Ulysses F. Orion for the cartoon class.

Sidewalk chalk art winners were Dan Libbey and Zach Brokaw of Woodstock, Andrew Lopez-Franco of Carpentersville and Stephanie Rosendahl-Ropers of Wonder Lake. Nichole Gray, the museum’s 2003 Chester Gould Memorial Art Scholarship winner, managed the sidewalk program and helped select the winners.

Entrants in Jean O’Connell’s Hats Off! contest brought a wide range of ideas on how to decorate Dick Tracy’s yellow fedora. Sydney Phillips of Trinidad used a West Indies theme, with a steel drum musician and several of Dick Tracy’s references to the Caribbean. Vic Wichert of New Jersey selected a forensic display. Beau Kaelin of Kentucky showed Chester Gould’s “villains graveyard” on his hat. Autographed hats were received from Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley and also Dick Locher, the current Dick Tracy cartoonist at the Chicago tribune. Andy Feighery’s Colorado entry honored the U. S. Army’s military police. Six Harley-Davidson motorcycles circled the brim of Cindy Garcia’s entry. Retired Captain Richard Tracy of the Chicago Police Department had uniform patches and his old 21st District identification on his entry.

Jason Porrtilechio and friends won a first-place ribbon and prize for a patriotic hat. Alicia Moberg helped Jason decorate his hat, showing “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Another winner was Caitlin Galasso of Cary, with a depiction of the North Michigan Avenue skyline. Henry and Sam Franks of Woodstock won a first-place award with an artful series of Dick Tracy drawings on their hat. Mike and Matt Kuechenberg of Crystal lake were second-place winners.

The Cartoons 2004 exhibit features extensive original art. Nancy Steinmeyer has a whimsical display of three-dimensional characters (such as “Doreen the waitress”) with accompanying paintings continuing the theme of her work. Max Gruenberg and John Manley from Alaska show a newly-created villain “Sludge” in their cartoon strips. Four of Rick Fletcher’s original Dick Tracy strips from the early 1980′s are displayed. There is an original sketch, donated by Jean Schulz, of Charlie Brown and Snoopy by Charles Schulz. Woodstock’s Will Girson has amusing “Gramps” cartoons on display. The Charwicz family of Harvard has several items shown. Children’s art is shown, including Anna Kuechenberg’s wooden stool picturing “Tess Trueheart.”

Readers of the Woodstock Independent are invited to see the exhibit during regular museum hours. There is no admission charge, but donations are accepted. A “Garfield” sketch by Jim Davis displayed at the door says “Thanks.”

Follow-up note: Woodstock’s “Dick Tracy Days” was a revered community event with museum activities and special exhibits, the police department’s Crimestoppers Breakfast, a spectacular parade through the Woodstock Square and a long weekend of fun for everyone.

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