Panel from October 28, 1944

Part 1: Confidence Man

Appeared from September 27, 1944 to January 21, 1945


Shaky, also known as Mr. Pappy, was a confidence man and a killer. He had an elongated head, swollen eyes, thick lips and a terrible case of the shakes, which he treated with liquid nerve tonic.

When Shaky’s henchmen told him that their plan to extort money from Nat Banks, the wealthy financier, had failed, Shaky shook with anger. His men had doped Snowflake Falls, dressed her in a wedding gown, and planned to have her stop Nat Bank’s car and embarrass him by creating a scene on the city street corner by claiming that Nat was backing out of their planned marriage. However, Snowflake had stopped Tracy’s car by mistake and now Snowflake was in police custody.

Shaky knew they had to get Snowflake back before the drugs wore off, so he put guns into two cameras. Jones and Williams were his two henchmen who posed as reporters doing a story on Snowflake. They arrived at police headquarters and Shaky introduced himself as Mr. Pappy. Jones and Williams opened their cameras and got the drop on Chief Brandon and Pat. Shaky grabbed Snowflake and carried her to his waiting car driven by Marty. Jones and Williams were shot by police. Junior saw Shaky’s car and climbed onto the back bumper. While waiting in traffic, Junior saw Tracy’s car and signaled to him by writing “Snowflake” in the dust on Shaky’s car trunk. Tracy took up the chase but Marty drove the car into a trick garage with two exits and escaped leaving Junior in the garage. Marty drew Shaky’s attention to the name on the car trunk and Shaky sent Marty to have the car waxed.

When Shaky learned that Marty had been captured by Tracy, Snowflake saw her chance and slipped Shaky an overdose of his nerve tonic medicine, which put him to sleep. Showflake then wedged Shaky’s hand in a door jam and closed the door, imprisoning Shaky and breaking all his fingers. She then ran to Tracy. Eddie and Joe, Shaky’s other two henchmen, found Shaky, released his hand and drove him to a doctor who set Shaky’s broken fingers. Shaky, swearing to get revenge on Snowflake, hid out with Eddie and Joe in a cold-water tenement flat.

When they learned that Snowflake had become a smash hit on the stage with Vitamin Flintheart, Shaky saw his chance. Shaky befriended Vitamin at a bar one night and offered to host Vitamin and Snowflake’s wedding supper. On the night Vitamin and Snowflake were married they arrived at the place designated by Shaky and found themselves trapped. Vitamin was knocked unconscious. Shaky beat Snowflake with his gun and then threw her body into the icy snowy waves at a waterfront pier. Shaky, Eddie and Joe then celebrated in their cold rooms.

Later they heard that Snowflake had been found alive on some Christmas trees that were on a scow at the pier from which she had been thrown. Shaking with anger, Shaky and his men planned to flee the city the next day. During the cold night, Vitamin’s fur coat, which they had taken from him, fell from the coat rack onto a plug-in heater Eddie had bought to warm the rooms. That started a fire. Shaky, Eddie and Joe awoke to find their rooms in flames. Soon the whole building was on fire and then the firemen arrived. Even though Shaky’s rooms were on the third floor, Eddie panicked, jumped from the window and died on the fall. Joe burned to death on a landing. Shaky killed a fireman with an axe and took his fire hat and slicker.

Emerging from the burning building, Shaky was spotted by Tracy and even though the firemen played a stream of water on him, Shaky managed to get to the fire chief’s car and take off down the snowy, icy streets. Tracy and Pat pursued him, but Shaky got to the waterfront ahead of them. Jumping out of his car, Shaky let the car drive off the pier into the waves. Shaky had just lowered himself into a hole in the pier when Tracy and Pat came racing up. The waves from the water splashed and into Shaky’s hole and he stuffed snow into the opening above.

Ultimately the hole froze over and Shaky became entombed, unable to get out and unable to breathe. His cries went unheard over the crashing of the waves and he finally suffocated in his icy prison. When Tracy didn’t find Shaky in the car after it was pulled out of the water, he had a suspicion that Shaky’s body might never be recovered. Shaky was one criminal that Tracy never actually met face to face. In the spring, Shaky’s skeleton was discovered in the hole in the pier by Breathless Mahoney, whose mother, Mrs. Mahoney was once married to Shaky.


Part 2: His Legacy

Appeared from May 11, 1945 to May 18, 1945


In the spring of 1945, Shaky’s skeleton was discovered under the pier by two young women who had gone to the pier to sun themselves. One of the young women was Breathless Mahoney. It turned out that Breathless was Shaky’s stepdaughter, since Shaky had been the fourth husband of Mrs. Mahoney, Breathless’s mother. Breathless pestered Tracy for a remembrance of her finding Shaky’s skeleton. She decided that she wanted one of Shaky’s shoes. Tracy let her have one. Breathless knew what she was doing, because sewn into Shaky’s shoe was a key to Shaky’s safe deposit box that contained $50,000. Getting Shaky’s money was easy for Breathless. Holding on to it was another matter. Shaky’s “treasure” led Breathless to commit two murders, and the money ultimately cost the lives of Mrs. Mahoney and Itchy.

Also Appeared:

  • May 12, 1945
  • September 17, 1945
  • September 30, 1945
  • January 29, 1978:Shaky 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”. Dick Tracy is a registered trademark of Tribune Media Services, Inc.