Part 1: Musical Killer
Appeared from October 16, 1947 to December 10, 1947
Mumbles was a humming guitar player and leader of the Mumbles Quartette. He also was a thief and a killer. Mumbles was a short, blond man with slits for eyes and a twisted mouth that caused him to mumble almost incoherently. There was usually someone saying “What did he say?” and someone else translating what Mumbles said. Once, after the question was asked once too often, Mumbles slapped the offender silly and said “Afthis wheni zpk payt enchn”.
Mumbles played the guitar and hummed with three other men singers and they called themselves the Mumbles Quartette. They sang for charity benefits and then stole the money that was collected. Kiss Andtel, a former singer with the group, told Tracy that Mumbles and his gang were thieves who had stolen her car. It was from Kiss Andtel’s car that Mumbles and his gang had thrown the back seat cushion into the path of motorcycle patrolman Ferris, who was pursuing them on his motorcycle. Ferris’ motorcycle hit the cushion and he was thrown against a tree and killed.
Mumbles then burned the car to destroy any evidence. Tracy brought Mumbles and the Mumbles Quartette in to question them, but had to let them go for lack of evidence. Mumbles then made a secret compartment in his guitar to hold a vial of acid. When Mumbles and his group performed at the De Pyster Charity Bazaar, Tracy and Kiss were in the audience. Mumbles had Kiss Andtel called to the stage to sing a song. When Kiss reached the stage, Mumbles quietly threatened to throw acid in her face if she didn’t leave with him after the show. Mumbles showed Kiss the small bottle of acid hidden in the secret compartment in his guitar. After Mumbles and his gang stole the $60,000 that the Charity Bazaar took in, they took Kiss and escaped together to a plane to fly to a coastal city. They put to sea in a small cabin cruiser and headed south.
However, Mumbles was angry that his gang had forced him to split the money evenly, so he put together a dynamite bomb and planned to blow up the boat. When Mumbles found Kiss signaling the helicopter carrying Tracy that was following the boat, he knew he had to act. The Quartette passed out from drinking too much, so he tied up Kiss, lit the bomb’s fuse and then left the boat in a small inflated rubber raft. When the explosion came, Mumbles was sure he had killed everyone, but his joy turned to chagrin when he realized that his rubber raft was being blown farther and farther out to sea in a storm. Mumbles had no water and was unsuccessful in signaling any passing ships. Mumbles was horrified when he accidentally punctured his rubber raft with a splintered paddle. Slowly the deflating raft dropped Mumbles into the sea until he disappeared. Mumbles, the humming guitar player and killer, had supposedly drowned in the sea.
Part 2: Fortune Seeker
Appeared from April 8, 1955 to July 30, 1955
Although Mumbles’ body was never found, Tracy thought he had seen the last of Mumbles. However, Mumbles reappeared in 1955. He turned up as the tutor that George Ozone hired for his two wild sons, the Neki Hokey Boys.
George’s yacht had rescued Mumbles from his sinking rubber raft in 1947 and had taken him to Jamaica. There, Mumbles taught the boys to play the guitar and to talk in the same unintelligible, mumbling speech that he used. After eight years they all returned to the United States. When Mumbles left the two wild Neki Hokey Boys alone, they managed to burn down the shack they lived in. Tracy had the boys placed in a juvenile home. George was angry at Mumbles and began to wonder about Mumbles’ past. When George went to the library to read the newspapers from 1947 about Mumbles’ crimes, George’s first wife, Cinn, now an ally of Mumbles, shot and killed him there.
Cinn and Mumbles wanted to collect George Ozone’s fortune, which he had buried somewhere. Cinn told Mumbles that the map to the fortune was tattooed on the soles of the feet of the Neki Hokey Boys. Cinn then disguised Mumbles as a socialite friend of hers named Miss Van Gregory. The disguise let Mumbles enter the juvenile home, chloroform the Neki Hokey Boys and copy the map. Instead of returning to Cinn, however, Mumbles went after the fortune himself. After many hours of digging unsuccessfully at the seaside, Mumbles returned to Cinn without the treasure. Cinn was angry and told him she had a missing piece to the map. They both returned to the seaside marsh with the complete map. There, Cinn pointed a gun at Mumbles and forced him to dig a shallow grave, where she would bury him after he dug up the fortune. When he was almost finished digging, Mumbles threw his shovel at Cinn and knocked her off her balance. Using the shovel as a weapon, Mumbles killed Cinn. Leaving her body, Mumbles located a tall statue that was marked on the map. He began digging at the statue’s base as the map indicated. He unearthed a large, heavy creosote-covered bundle – George Ozone’s fortune. Mumbles strapped the heavy bundle to his back like a knapsack to begin his walk out of the marsh. By this time, the tide has begun to come in and heavy fog had settled over the area. Mumbles lost his way and stumbled into Tracy, who had followed the same map.
After a scuffle, Tracy captured Mumbles. Al the Pilot, who had brought Tracy to the marsh in a helicopter, lowered a leather sling on a cable from his helicopter, which was flying above the fog. When Al tried to lift the two men and the bundle using the cable, the leather sling broke and both men fell into the water. Mumbles’ heavy bundle drove him under water and held him there, where he drowned. After the fog lifted, Tracy found Mumbles’ body and airlifted him to the morgue. George Ozone’s bundle contained two million dollars in cash and gems, all of which were left to the Neki Hokey Boys.
- March 2, 1969: No further mention of Mumbles was made after his supposed death in 1955, until a musical group named Mumbles 5 appeared twice at Hy Jacky’s restaurant named “The Painted Lady”. They were only seen from a distance and they were singing “Yume Ade Mewot Tyam 2 Day”. No direct connection to Mumbles was made.
- August 27, 1978: Mumbles was featured in the Rogues’ Gallery.
- July 22, 1979: Mumbles was featured in the Rogues’ Gallery.
Adapted and reprinted with permission from the author Victor E. Wichert, “The Dick Tracy Encyclopedia, Oct. 4, 1931 – Dec. 25, 1977”
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