Prune Face

Appeared from Sunday, October 18, 1942 to Sunday, February 7, 1943

Panel from January 5, 1943

Prune Face, aka Boche, was an enemy agent, spy and a saboteur during World War II. He was a light-haired, wrinkle faced man who tried to disrupt the United State war effort in any way he could.

One of Prune Face’s underlings was Cal Bullet, who manufactured poison gas. Prune Face had a “Jap accomplice” named Togo and he reported to another agent named Twenty.

Prune Face was angry when Cal Bullet came to his hideout with Tracy following him. Prune Face imprisoned Tracy and Officer Dennis O’Copper in the basement of the building. He drew a gun on Cal. Pleading for his life, Cal showed Prune Face the capsules of poison gas he had manufactured. Prune Face threw the capsules into an overhead light fixture, tied up Cal and escaped to the roof in the house. The light bulbs in the fixture slowly melted the capsules and the poison gas filled the room and killed Cal. From the roof, Prune Face climbed into his one-man helicopter, lifted it off the roof and settled it quickly onto the roof of an abandoned building two houses away. Togo was waiting for him as his helicopter landed and a portion of the roof dropped down to hide the helicopter from view. However, Prune Face’s helicopter had accidentally broken a telephone wire during his trip and when the telephone repairmen came to fix it, one of the men was overcome by the poison gas that had exited through the chimney.

This brought the police and Tracy and Dennis were rescued. Prune Face realized it wouldn’t be long before his other hideout would be discovered, so, leaving Togo asleep, he went to the roof and lowered a cantilevered flagpole that allowed him to crawl onto yet another building roof from which he descended and dashed to freedom. Prune Face fled to the city and took a room in Mrs. Trueheart’s house, posing as Mr. Jones, a seminary student. There he set up his short wave radio, which looked like a typewriter, and his radio aerial, which was an umbrella, that he hung out his window.

Prune Face had plans to damage a defense plant by rolling a bomb down a railroad track decline using a small machine he had built. However, Mrs. Trueheart became suspicious of her “roomer” and, with Junior’s help, managed to get the machine away from him. Prune Face was angry and struck Mrs. Trueheart with a rock. He forced a taxi driver to follow Junior’s bicycle tracks in the snow. Junior was peddling as fast as he could to deliver the machine to Tracy when Prune Face caught up with him. As Prune Face opened the taxi door and stepped out onto the icy running board to grab Junior, he slipped, fell from the taxi and broke his left leg. Junior and the taxi sped away. Prune Face crawled to a nearby basement stairway and knew now that every policeman would be looking for him. He killed a dog and covered his face with the dog’s sweater.

Struggling with his broken leg, Prune Face crawled to a nearby doctor’s office. At gun point, he forced Dr. Rex to set his leg and put it in a cast. Prune Face then telephoned his superior, Twenty, who came to the doctor’s office. With the doctors unwilling help they transported Prune Face in a stolen ambulance to a large house on the outskirts of town. It wasn’t long before Tracy and the police had the house surrounded. Prune Face shot and killed Twenty when he panicked. Prune Face then had Dr. Rex carry Twenty’s body out to the police.

That left Prune Face alone inside. Tracy ordered the men to cut the fuel line to the house and to throw stones to break every window to let the snowy, cold, winter air in. Freezing, Prune Face pointed his gun out a window and aimed at Tracy. Just then an icy breeze dislodged a piece of broken window glass that fell and sliced into Prune Face’s hand and made him drop his gun. Tracy entered the house and found Prune Face in a pile of snow, nearly frozen to death. Prune Face was taken on a stretcher to the hospital.

Part 2: His Legacy

Although Tracy found Prune Face nearly frozen to death, with frostbite marks on his hands and face, it was never stated that Prune Face did indeed die. Prune Face was last seen wrapped in blankets and lying on a cot in a hospital. Tracy said, “After being hospitalized for a couple of weeks, he’ll be transferred to the county jail”.

Later in 1943, after Tracy had been captured and put in chains by Mrs. Prune Face, she told Tracy that she was going to avenge her husband’s death. This was the first indication that either Prune Face had really died, or that Mrs. Prune Face really thought he had died.

Reprinted with permission from the author Victor E. Wichert “The Dick Tracy Encyclopedia Oct. 4, 1931 – Dec. 25 1977″

Dick Tracy is a registered trademark of Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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