Saturday, February 25, 2012

Calling All Cars! (A Look Back At Playmate's Dick Tracy Figures)

Looking back on the late 80s and early 90s I have some very fond memories of all the toys I had when I was a kid. I covered the WWF Hasbro line and some other random toys here in the past few weeks. Today I'm going to take a look back at Playmate's Dick Tracy line of figures!

In the Summer of 1990 when the Dick Tracy movie came out the ads that ran on TV said something to the effect of, "Move Over Batman . . . Dick Tracy's In Town!"

Since I was already a huge fan of the Bat after seeing the Tim Burton movie the previous summer I was pretty pumped for Dick Tracy. I didn't really know much about the character's history before seeing the movie, but I remember getting a toy of both Dick and Al Big Boy right before I saw the film on opening weekend. I remember not caring for the movie as much as Batman, but I still thought it was pretty cool and would beg my Dad to get me a new figure anytime we went to Jamesway or K-mart that summer. He didn't mind because he liked all the classic cars and what-not they used in the film lol. What I liked the most about those figures was that they were the perfect size to fit into my epic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles battles! I would use my steps in my house as a giant building and the Turtles had to fight their way up each flight of steps to save April and/or Splinter! Having guys like "The Tramp" or "Pruneface" cut the Foot Clan some slack!

Here are the figures I owned plus the official Collector's Case that holds up to 12 Figures . . .

Dick, Al "Big Boy" Caprice, and Sam Catchem

Steve "The Tramp", The Brow, and Influence

Lips Manlis, A Pair of Cement Shoes, and Shoulders

Mumbles, Pruneface, and Itchy 

This is the front of the Collector Case

Side of the Case.

The Case's Back

Missing figures that I didn't own are below . . . 

The Rodent
Pretty cool looking figure, would have much rather had him then say "The Brow"!

Flat Top 
He was one of my favorites from the movie, but I never ran across him when these were in stores :(
Not to mention years later I would find out he was played by the very awesome
 William Forsythe . . .

And Last But Not Least, here is perhaps the best figure of the lineand also the one almost nobody had the chance to own . . .

The Blank

The Blank, the film's antagonist, is the rarest of all the figures. According to Topless Robot, "The story goes that the Blank was initially held back from the first toy release because it had a removable mask, and would therefore give away the plot twist. 
It was Madge The Whole Time!

However, when the Toyline didn't become the hit Playmates was hoping for they canceled their plans to release the Blank at mass retail in the United States." The story goes on to say that The Blank's figure was released only as a Canadian Sears exclusive in 1990, with only 3,000 figures rumored to be made!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this look back at another toy line from years gone by. I had a lot of great adventures with these guys even if the movie was only so-so :)

- Tom Bryce


  1. Flattop is my favorite, too. I always like revisiting this flick every few years, fun to watch a collection of fairly big-name stars just basically having fun and hamming it up in the colorful mobster villain roles.

    Speaking of colorful, these figures all look like they are wearing lipstick. Weird paint-job choice back then.

  2. Good point with the lips, that wasn't very well planed out by the makers

  3. Man, this post brought back some memories! Your story is pretty much the same as mine. Loved Batman in '89 and got really into Dick Tracy in '90, but ultimately didn't like the film as much as Batman. I liked the toys quite a bit and had some comics that I really liked to. Flat Top was my favorite thug too. I think I had the toy, but can't really recall who I had besides Tracy.

    Me and my brother used to match up Ninja turtles with Dick Tracy toys too! They were perfect size matches and just kinda worked together.

  4. I had a bunch of these too...but even then, I didnt understand why several of the characters were missing their coats. Was this the more causual line?

  5. I see what you are saying H.H., I guess they were going to make a second wave with different pant jobs or clothes but plans fell through.

    Anthony that was really the Golden Age of Toydom, add the Toxic Crusader to the mix and many hours of carnage was had in my living room :)