SHOULDERS

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2016

Part I: The “Head Fix”

Appeared from Friday, June 14, 1946 to Wednesday, July 31, 1946


Panel from June 18, 1946

The “head fix” for local street criminals and a killer, Shoulders was a handsome, large-eyed man who had massive shoulders and a twisted left ear. For a high price, Shoulders offered protection to street criminals. If they got into trouble, Shoulders would send the Fixer to arrange for their freedom from jail by having him pay bail or pay off policemen, judges, attorneys and whoever else would “fix” the situation.

A group of pickpockets, headed by Roach, got into trouble when they picked Dick Tracy’s pocket and were arrested. When Shoulders heard about Roach, he was angry and sent the Fixer with money to pay Roach’s bail. Shoulders also sent Honey Doll, his moll, to police headquarters to pretend her purse was picked, so she could find out what she could about the police’s plans for the pickpockets. When Roach’s daughter, Themesong, a singing street urchin who kept the crowd’s attention while pockets were being picked, came to warn Shoulders and Roach that Tracy was on their trail, Shoulders became furious. Shoulders knocked out Themesong with a desk lamp, and shot and killed Roach when he came to her defense. Shoulders fled his apartment, only to realize that Themsong could identify him as Roach’s killer.

With the death of her father, Themesong was now ready to tell Tracy all about Shoulders. As she was about to talk, Shoulders knocked out Tracy with his gun butt and shot Themsong twice, leaving her for dead. Honey Doll, Shoulders’ moll, wanted to escape with Shoulders to Vancouver and she bought two airplane tickets. Shoulders angrily slapped her and told her he was going on alone. Shoulders burned one of the tickets and left Honey Doll on the floor. However, Shoulders went to a private airport and stole a small airplane instead. Shoulders piloted the plane down the runway, but when the plane took off, it didn’t gain enough altitude. The plane spun out of control and dove into a gasoline storage tank, where it exploded. Tracy figured that it was possible that Shoulders wasn’t in the plane, but he closed the case anyway.

PART II: Jewel Thief

Appeared from Tuesday, December 16, 1947 to Friday, Feb 27, 1948

Shoulders, a man with broad shoulders and a nasty disposition, didn’t die when his small plane hit a gasoline storage tank in 1946.

1947: Shoulders reappeared with two accomplices, Joie and Nehru Gandh, to steal a fortune in Indian gemstones imbedded in the marble of the Old Settler’s Monument that stood in the city park. Nehru Gandh died when the piece of marble fell on him. Shoulders filled his shoulder pads with gems and planned to fence them. On New Year’s Eve, Shoulders shot and killed Joie and threw his body in the river.

1948: Shoulders had gotten married and he used Mrs. Shoulders’ house as a hideout, unknown to Mrs. Shoulders or her little daughter, Honey. He told them he was a brush salesman with the Emptier Brush Co. and he even carried a brush sample case that he had stolen. Shoulders finally found a fence, Beardsly, who offered to buy the stolen gemstones for one hundred thousand dollars. Shoulders agreed, but when he went home, he found Tracy waiting. He managed to get the gems from their hiding place, but was shot in the right shoulder as he made his getaway.

When Shoulders arrived at Beardsly’s place, he was already losing a lot of blood. Beardsly at first refused to get Shoulders some medical help, but Shoulders pulled out his gun and forced Beardsly to drive him to a doctor. On the road, near some woods Beardsly thought Shoulders had passed out and called to him by name. Shoulders awoke up with a start and pulled the trigger of his gun which was stuck into Beardsly’s ribs. Beardsly died instantly and slumped over the steering wheel. The car bumped to a stop near a woodland pond which was ice covered. Shoulders took the gems and Beardsly’s money, and staggered to Miss Varnish’s nearby antique shop. Miss Varnish provided him with medical assistance and reluctantly allowed him to stay in her shop. Shoulders was pleased with himself for finding such a good hideout, even though Miss Varnish demanded that he refinish old furniture as a condition of his stay. When he was able, Shoulders went back to the car and pushed it through the ice and into the pond.

One day, while Miss Varnish was out, a young boy named Spud ran into the antique shop and told Shoulders that he and some of his friends were ice skating on the pond and they found a car under the ice. Spud asked Shoulders to call the police. Shoulders faked the call and after Spud left, tried to figure out what to do next. When Miss Varnish returned that night Shoulders realized she had gone to the police. He became enraged. Miss Varnish plunged the shop into darkness as Shoulders went on a rampage trying to kill her. In the dark, Shoulders climbed a stepladder to reach his money, gems and a gun that he had hidden in an old kettle that was hanging from a ceiling beam. Miss Varnish, who had escaped Shoulders’ fury, pushed the ladder out from under him, forcing Shoulders to hang from the kettle or fall into a varnish barrel she placed underneath him. Miss Varnish turned on the lights and Tracy came in to take charge of the trapped killer. Tracy erected the ladder again and Shoulders got his footing. Instead of climbing down, Shoulders grabbed his gun from the kettle. Tracy saw him and kicked at the ladder. As Shoulders fell, he accidentally shot himself in the head. He died instantly and fell to the antique shop floor among his money and gems. Shoulders’ body was taken to the morgue.


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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“After the first offense, a criminal walks in the shadows. These shadows get darker and darker till he reaches the spotlight at show up.”
- Chester Gould
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