Pawnee, Oklahoma was the birthplace of Dick Tracy creator, Chester Gould, and a mural painted on the side of a building is the world's largest Dick Tracy cartoon. - Artist, Ed Melberg, Tulsa, OK, 1990.
6th and Harrison
Chester Gould - Born in Pawnee, Oklahoma in 1900, Chester Gould started drawing at age seven and graduated from Pawnee High School in 1919. On August 30, 1921, a 21 year-old young man, lonely but full of ambition, arrived in Chicago by train. With $50 in his pocket, a suitcase and a portfolio, he was ready to hit the big time cartoon world.
Part of that precious money went to buy a drawing board and tabaret to put in his $6 a week room on North LaSalle Street.
To be a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune had been this man's goal since he was a boy. Now, he would pursue this. What he didn't know was that it would take 10 years working on other papers while submitting ideas to the Tribune before one would catch J.M. Patterson's eye.
Then, it happened! A new concept in comic strip stories was presented to Patterson. It was a detective story, filled with action and fast-pace, the first of its kind - Dick Tracy was born.
On October 4, 1931, Dick Tracy first appeared in the Detroit Mirror, one of the Tribune- owned papers, then in the New York Daily News, then the Tribune and one and one taking the country by storm.
So popular was the strip that it appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News for 45 consecutive years, and it was seen in 27 foreign papers.
On December 25, 1977, this young man, now 77 years of age, retired, having written and drawn Dick Tracy for more than 46 years. His dream had been fulfilled. Eight years later, on May 11, 1985, Chester Gould passed on.
The drawing board and tabaret that have found a permanent home in the Chester Gould-Dick Tracy Museum, Woodstock, Illinois, are the same ones purchased by that young man who was filled with ambition on that hot day in August of 1921.
Address: 503 Harrison
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