Dick Tracy In WWII

1942 War Bonds Advertisement

Throughout the strip’s first decade, Dick Tracy scaled the heights of popularity among all segments of the country’s newspaper readers. In the seeming quiet preceding the Second World War, however, the momentum of Tracy’s meteoric growth in popularity slowed.

Chester Gould, with his penchant for deep research in any subject that gained his attention, joined other Americans in their concern over the steady march the country was making into global affairs. His concerns were quite contemporary as a deep nationalism swept over the country following the First World War.

Quite unlike the vast majority of his cartooning contemporaries, with war clouds forming on the horizon he set his nationally-famous detective to tracking down the culprits of the coming conflict and addressing their crimes, case by case.

The Dick Tracy comic strip published daily throughout World War Two and the beginning of the Cold War is an incredible time capsule that offers valuable insight into the insidious side of the war and the unseen forces manipulating the levers of power on the homefront.

Going forward, we will introduce material here featuring aspects of Chester Gould’s work during the war and we begin by showcasing the Hollywood star-studded, Armed Forces Radio Service Command Performance comic operetta, Dick Tracy in B-Flat, along with a rare view of Breathless Mahoney’s relation to stateside events near the end of the war.

Dick Tracy in B-Flat (Armed Forces Radio Service Performance)

This exhibit features photos, back stories, and original audio from the Armed Forces Radio Service performance on February 15, 1945, that included Bing CrosbyBob HopeCass DaleyFrank Sinatra, and many more top stars from the World War II era!


New York Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union Strike

On June 30, 1945, the NYC Newspaper and Mail Deliverers went on strike. During the strike, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia ordered radio station WNYC to read the comics to audiences every day, and he himself gave a memorable Sunday reading of Dick Tracy’s adventures on July 8, 1945! View the July 8th strip and watch exclusive video of Mayor LaGuardia reading Dick Tracy!