Criminals, beware! After a mere, uh, 33 years, fearless crimefighter Dick Tracy is back on the scene, ready to stop all evildoers with a facial disfigurement and accompanying nickname. That’s because actor Warren Beatty, who played Tracy in the 1990 movie based on the comic strip of the same name, will re-don the yellow fedora for a new special that airs tonight on TCM. Yes, tonight.
This, it should be noted, it not a special where Dick Tracy solves a crime, however,. This is an interview with Tracy the character, as played by Beatty, by film critics/experts Leonard Maltin and Ben Mankiewicz that will run tonight on the TCM channel. That’s bizarre, but what’s even more bizarre is that this isn’t the first special like this. In 2009, Beatty also got interviewed as Tracy—also by Maltin, also on TCM!— for an equally unheralded special that aired once and only once. What’s the difference between the two? Well, the 2008 one was titled Dick Tracy Special; this one is titled Dick Tracy Special: Tracy Zooms In. I’ll let you detectives try to figure out that mystery.
A better mystery is, why do either of these specials exist? Gamespot, which reported the news, suggests they’re so Beatty can hold onto the film rights to the character (if he didn’t make something about Dick Tracy periodically, he’d forfeit them). That tracks, except that Warren Beatty is currently 85 years old—perhaps not the incarnation of the character people would want to see, assuming they want to see a Dick Tracy movie at all, which they almost certainly don’t. Those few that do, however, should head over to TCM at 10:30 p.m. ET, when Tracy Zooms In.
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