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Case Studies in Intellectual Property: Dick Tracy

I'm only familiar with Dick Tracy from the Dick Tracy show cartoons, which were apparently from the 1960s but must have been shown on British children's TV in the 1980s.

It seemed like false advertising to me, since Dick Tracy himself didn't do any of the work, instead delegating to an over-the-top comedy underling chosen apparently at random. Wikipedia describes a couple of these as offensive stereotypes, but all of the characters were ludicrous apart from Tracy so I guess I didn't really notice at the time.

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I mean, how would you bring Dick tracy into the modern era? What would be the plot? What would you do with all the characters? They were very cartoonish, but how would that look for a modern movie/series/etc.?

First idea: lean into the outdatedness. Feature an aging Dick Tracy who realizes his world has changed and he’s no longer a good fit for it. Call it ‘The Retirement of Dick Tracy’ and it’s about his last case alongside a new detective.

Second idea: Chip ‘n Dale it. The story is about a washed-out actor who used to play Dick Tracy in a fictional movie serial who accidentally gets involved with actual criminals. Also see Tales of the Rodeo King by Decoder Ring Theatre for a more serious take on the idea.

Third idea: Give it to Wes Anderson. The color and outlandishness of it all would fit the director’s style.

Fourth idea: Make it a musical. Musicals are already exaggerated reality. Who wouldn’t want a musical with a car chase and shoot outs? And a mobster with prosthetic make up singing a villain song?

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