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The Show

Dick Tracy vs. Cueball

Series info on UEN-TV

In "Dick Tracy vs Cueball" (1946), the square-jawed detective and his sweetheart, Tess Trueheart, try to solve a diamond robbery. Unfortunately, their path leads Tess into the clutches of remorseless strangler Harry "Cueball" Lake. Filthy Flora, proprietor of the Dripping Dagger, is joined by Jules Sparkle, Vitamin Flintheart and Pat Patton to fill out the roster of capital-C Characters in this engaging oldie.

Morgan Conway appeared as Dick Tracy in two films, including "Dick Tracy, Detective" and "Dick Tracy vs Cueball." Though Ralph Byrd’s portrayal of the comic book hero was more popular with contemporary audiences, Conway channels the grittier side of the character in this RKO production, which some viewers find more in keeping with Chester Gould’s original creation.

In another notable performance, Richard (Dick) Wessel plays the psychotic Cueball. An American actor with tough-guy looks, Wessel appeared in hundreds of films, often in uncredited roles. Though frequently cast as a thug, the thick-set actor also played comedic roles, including a secondary character in Three Stooges pics.

The Science

Julie Buck

Dr. Julie A. BuckJulie Buck, professor of Criminal Justice at Weber State College, discusses issues of eyewitness memory and Dick Tracy’s problematic investigative methods in the film “Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome.”

Brent Horn

Brent HornWeber State University professors Brent Horn (above) and Russ Dean (not shown) discuss the fiction of Dick Tracey vs. the reality crime scene investigations and lab work.


More Science to go with the Show

Related Resources

Weber State Department of Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Careers

Dick Tracey and the Spider Gang

American Academy of Forensic Sciences

The International Association for Identification

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