March 19th, 2011

krazy koati

But it wouldn't be make-believe if you believed in me

In reading Dick Tracy: America's Most Famous Detective I found several interesting quotes, most of them from Chester Gould. One which intrigued me was Gould's discussion of a controversial era for Dick Tracy, and I pause here that james_nicoll may prepare to stash this one away for future deployment:

During the 1960's many people referred to some of my work with Dick Tracy as science-fiction when I introduced the magnetic space coupe, the air car, Moon Maid, and the people from the moon. That was not science-fiction. I am not a science-fiction writer. I was basing everything I did on what was being done by NASA, and they were making a lot of noise and doing nothing. So I researched the moon, its extreme heat and extreme cold, etc., and took things from there with my imagination.

Sure I had gangsters in space. I had this one guy in the story taken for a ride and just floated out into space. That's the way it will be. I'm convinced as soon as they've established valuable minerals that can be mined in space, there will be gangsterism in space.

I irritated NASA a great deal because I brought out things they will be doing in space one of these days.

But remember, especially with his moon people and the space-born child of Dick Tracy Jr and the Moon Maid, Chester Gould was not writing science fiction.

(The book contains that sequence where gangsters steal the Space Coupe to rub out a guy by dropping him off in space. I don't mean to tell organized crime their business but it seems like one could kill a guy in much less attention-drawing ways than stealing Dick Tracy's Space Coupe and lobbing the victim off into low earth orbit. The Moon Maid herself looks interesting enough but I'm tempted to see what the fan art community on DeviantArt makes of her, except they don't because nobody draws fan art of 50-year-old stuff that isn't Hanna-Barbera cartoons.)

Trivia: On learning, in 1910, that New York City police had smashed into a poolroom on Park Row, destroyed illegal gambling equipment, and arrested sixteen people without the appropriate warrant, William J Gaynor denounced the police's action as ``mob violence'' and advised the gamblers they would have been justified in resisting arrest ``to the last extremity''. Gaynor was at the time Mayor of New York City. Source: Satan's Circus: Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, And New York's Trial of the Century, Mike Dash.

Currently Reading: The Gutenberg Galaxy, Marshall McLuhan.