Dick Tracy’s G-Men, Happy Anniversary! Officially Released on September 2, 1939, but Actually Seen on August 18.

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In May of 1939, it was announced that Ralph Byrd would once again play the folier of evil, Dick Tracy, in the soon to be filmed Dick Tracy’s G-Men.[1] The Republic Pictures serial, DTGM, began production in the middle of June 1939,[2] and the principal filming was finished by the end of July.[3]

Although the official release date for DTGM was September 2, it was playing two weeks before that day, as is seen in the following adverts.

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Playing on August 18 & 19

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Playing August 25 & 26

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Des Moines, Iowa

 

Any full  advertisement  for the new Dick Tracy movie-serial was rare, but always a treat to see, since the franchise’s very conception was  graphic; a large amount of the advertising was accomplished via cross channels: comic-books and the successful Dick Tracy radio program.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire; a rare full sized ad

Portsmouth, New Hampshire; a rare full sized ad

 

The best of the cross promotions was when the Wilby-Kinsey Theater chain booked Dick Tracy himself, Ralph Byrd, to make personal appearances at a number of their southern movie houses; this began on November 20, 1939.[4]

Lumberton, North Carolina

Lumberton, North Carolina, October 23, 1939

 

Of course, as with most serials, the roll-out of premiers was lengthy and episode-one saw it’s grand-opening as late as September (see example ads below), 1940, more than a year after the initial release.

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Kingsport, Tennessee, October 27, Premier

Estherville, Iowa Episode-One opens on December 8

Estherville, Iowa Episode-One opens on December 8

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, held it's Dick Tracy's G-Men Grand Opening on January 19

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, held it’s Dick Tracy’s G-Men Grand Opening on January 19, 1940

Zanesville, Ohio, September 20, 1940, Premier of Dick Tracy's G-Men

Zanesville, Ohio, September 20, 1940, Premier of Dick Tracy’s G-Men

 

Whenever this third Dick Tracy thrill-ride in a line of four serialized DT productions by Republic Pictures was seen, most movie-goers found it worthy of the wait; this was, overall, a well reviewed movie.

All chapters of Dick Tracy’s G-Men are available on YouTube, but you can get DTGM on DVD through numerous outlets including the dreamland for classic film admirers, TCM.com.

Side Note: Charles Hutchinson (in the role of Brandon) may have went uncredited for DTGM, but, he was not completely left out, for Motion Picture Daily reported that Charles “Hurricane Hutch” Hutchinson appeared in the chapter-play;[5] the report was noteworthy because Hutchinson, had seen no roles in four years and just two parts since talkies had become the fashion.

Enjoy! (More of those fabulous Dick Tracy’s G-Men lobby cards below)

 

By C. S. Williams

 

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[1] Film Daily May 2, 1939

Film Bulletin, May 20, 1939

[2] Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) July 8, 1939

[3] Motion Picture Daily, August 3, 1939

[4] Variety, November 22, 1939

[5] Motion Picture Daily, August 4, 1939

 

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