15 Hard-Boiled Facts About Dick Tracy

Warren Beatty stars in Dick Tracy (1990).
Warren Beatty stars in Dick Tracy (1990).
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

With prosthetics virtually obscuring the familiar faces of legendary actors Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman, its matte paintings, and its unique color schemes, Warren Beatty’s big-screen take on Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy comic strip was—and remains—singular in its imagery. Whether or not it was a good film remains debatable, even on its 30th anniversary

1. BEATTY WANTED TO MAKE A DICK TRACY FILM SINCE THE MID-1970s.

Before Beatty picked up the film rights to Dick Tracy in 1985, Steven Spielberg and John Landis were each given the opportunity to direct it. Then The Warriors director Walter Hill became attached, but his idea of how the movie should look didn't align with Beatty's ideas. Martin Scorsese was approached as well, but when negotiations fell apart, Beatty decided to direct the movie himself.

2. KATHLEEN TURNER AND KIM BASINGER WERE CONSIDERED FOR BREATHLESS MAHONEY.

But then Madonna happened. The singer advocated hard for herself, wanting to finally be in a big, successful movie.

3. MADONNA WORKED FOR SCALE.

Which reportedly worked out to $1,440 a week. Of course, she also received a percentage of the box office take (which ended up being more than $162 million worldwide), plus money from soundtrack rights.

4. MADONNA INITIALLY HAD TROUBLE SINGING STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S SONGS.

So Beatty got Sondheim to come to the set to coach the singer. One of the five numbers the composer/lyricist wrote for the film, “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man),” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

5. SEAN YOUNG WAS FIRED AFTER ONE WEEK.

The actress, who was originally hired to play Tess Trueheart, claimed that Beatty fired her because she repeatedly refused his sexual advances. Beatty denied it. Young also claimed that Beatty withheld the script from the actors until the last minute. Glenne Headly stepped in to play the part instead.

6. THE FILM'S COMPOSER SAID BEATTY "WAS INSANE."

Danny Elfman was hired because of his work scoring the previous year’s Batman. His work was one of the three soundtracks for the movie. When asked about the experience in 2003 by Movieline, Elfman said that "Warren [Beatty] was insane. But, see, what overshadows all the craziness involved in working with Warren is that I wanted to write a big, romantic Gershwinesque melody and that's what I got to write."

7. GENE HACKMAN REFUSED TO MAKE A CAMEO.

When he appeared in what amounted to little more than a cameo in Beatty’s Reds, 50 takes were “needed” for one of his two scenes. With that in mind, Hackman turned down Beatty’s request to appear in Dick Tracy.

8. THE COLORS WERE PURPOSELY LIMITED.

Costume designer Milena Canonero convinced Beatty to only use red, yellow, orange, blue, green, fuchsia, purple, cyan, black, and white.

9. PEOPLE WERE HIRED AS "MAKEUP POLICE."

Makeup artists Doug Drexler and John Caglione Jr. realized—to their own horror—that eating certain foods (spaghetti included) could ruin the prosthetics worn by several of the actors, including Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. So “MP”s—or Makeup Police—were hired to follow the at-risk actors around during their lunch breaks to make sure they didn’t screw things up.

10. SOME FACES TOOK THREE HOURS TO PUT ON.

That was the case for R.G. Armstrong’s Pruneface. The actor told Entertainment Weekly that he slept while the makeup artists were doing their thing. His visage was covered with alginate, which is similar to what dentists use to make tooth impressions.

11. BEATTY TRIED ON PHONY NOSES AND JAWS.

Ultimately, it was decided that prosthetics on Beatty would have distracted everybody from the movie.

12. AN ANIMATED ROGER RABBIT SHORT RAN BEFORE THE MOVIE.

Disney wanted to make sure to give children a reason to care about seeing a movie based on a 1931 comic strip, which led to the birth of “Roller Coaster Rabbit.”

13. DISNEY CANCELED A "DICK TRACY CRIME STOPPERS" ATTRACTION AT ITS THEME PARKS.

The ride would have been a high-speed chase through Prohibition-era Chicago. The movie didn’t initially get the box office numbers to give the company faith in moving forward with the project.

14. THE HEAD OF DISNEY THOUGHT IT WAS PROBABLY ALL A WASTE OF TIME.

A leaked memo from then-Disney chief Jeffrey Katzenberg claimed that Dick Tracy ended up costing $100 million or so to make and promote, and since it made about that much in the United States, it therefore might not have been worth all of the effort. Beatty was so upset over it that Katzenberg sent the actor-director a picture of himself on a dartboard, two white doves in a gold cage, and an olive tree to say he was sorry. (It didn’t work.)

15. THERE WAS A 2008 TELEVISION SPECIAL.

In danger of losing the rights to the character, Beatty put together a 30-minute special that ran on TCM a couple of times. Interviewed by Leonard Maltin, Beatty was in character as Tracy.

10 Reusable Gifts for Your Eco-Friendliest Friend

Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
DecorChic/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

By this point, your eco-friendly pal probably has a reusable water bottle that accompanies them everywhere and some sturdy grocery totes that keep their plastic-bag count below par. Here are 10 other sustainable gift ideas that’ll help them in their conservation efforts.

1. Reusable Produce Bags; $13

No more staticky plastic bags.Naturally Sensible/Amazon

The complimentary plastic produce bags in grocery stores aren’t great, but neither is having all your spherical fruits and vegetables roll pell-mell down the checkout conveyor belt. Enter the perfect alternative: mesh bags that are nylon, lightweight, and even machine-washable.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Animal Tea Infusers; $16

Nothing like afternoon tea with your tiny animal friends.DecorChic/Amazon

Saying goodbye to disposable tea bags calls for a quality tea diffuser, and there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be shaped like an adorable animal. This “ParTEA Pack” includes a hippo, platypus, otter, cat, and owl, which can all hang over the edge of a glass or mug. (In other words, you won’t have to fish them out with your fingers or dirty a spoon when your loose leaf is done steeping.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Rocketbook Smart Notebook; $25

Typing your notes on a tablet or laptop might save trees, but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling of writing on paper with a regular pen. The Rocketbook, on the other hand, does. After you’re finished filling a page with sketches, musings, or whatever else, you scan it into the Rocketbook app with your smartphone, wipe it clean with the microfiber cloth, and start again. This one also comes with a compatible pen, but any PILOT FriXion pens will do.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Food Huggers; $13

"I'm a hugger!"Food Huggers/Amazon

It’s hard to compete with the convenience of plastic wrap or tin foil when it comes to covering the exposed end of a piece of produce or an open tin can—and keeping those leftovers in food storage containers can take up valuable space in the fridge. This set of five silicone Food Huggers stretch to fit over a wide range of circular goods, from a lidless jar to half a lemon.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Swiffer Mop Pads; $15

For floors that'll shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.Turbo Microfiber/Amazon

Swiffers may be much less unwieldy than regular mops, but the disposable pads present a problem to anyone who likes to keep their trash output to a minimum. These machine-washable pads fasten to the bottom of any Swiffer WetJet, and the thick microfiber will trap dirt and dust instead of pushing it into corners. Each pad lasts for at least 100 uses, so you’d be saving your eco-friendly friend quite a bit of money, too.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SodaStream for Sparkling Water; $69

A fondness for fizzy over flat water doesn’t have to mean buying it bottled. Not only does the SodaStream let you make seltzer at home, but it’s also small enough that it won’t take up too much precious counter space. SodaStream also sells flavor drops to give your home-brewed beverage even more flair—this pack from Amazon ($25) includes mango, orange, raspberry, lemon, and lime.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Washable Lint Roller; $13

Roller dirty.iLifeTech/Amazon

There’s a good chance that anyone with a pet (or just an intense dislike for lint) has lint-rolled their way through countless sticky sheets. iLifeTech’s reusable roller boasts “the power of glue,” which doesn’t wear off even after you’ve washed it. Each one also comes with a 3-inch travel-sized version, so you can stay fuzz-free on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Countertop Compost Bin; $23

Like a tiny Tin Man for your table.Epica/Amazon

Even if you keep a compost pile in your own backyard, it doesn’t make sense to dash outside every time you need to dump a food scrap. A countertop compost bin can come in handy, especially if it kills odors and blends in with your decor. This 1.3-gallon pail does both. It’s made of stainless steel—which matches just about everything—and contains an activated-charcoal filter that prevents rancid peels and juices from stinking up your kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fabric-Softening Dryer Balls; $17

Also great for learning how to juggle without breaking anything.Smart Sheep

Nobody likes starchy, scratchy clothes, but some people might like blowing through bottles of fabric softener and boxes of dryer sheets even less. Smart Sheep is here to offer a solution: wool dryer balls. Not only do they last for more than 1000 loads, they also dry your laundry faster. And since they don’t contain any chemicals, fragrances, or synthetic materials, they’re a doubly great option for people with allergies and/or sensitive skin.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Rechargeable Batteries; $40

Say goodbye to loose batteries in your junk drawer.eneloop/Amazon

While plenty of devices are rechargeable themselves, others still require batteries to buzz, whir, and change the TV channel—so it’s good to have some rechargeable batteries on hand. In addition to AA batteries, AAA batteries, and a charger, this case from Panasonic comes with tiny canisters that function as C and D batteries when you slip the smaller batteries into them.

Buy it: Amazon

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15 Extremely Valuable Funko Pop! Figures That Might Be Hiding In Your Collection

In the 1990s, collectors salivated over Beanie Babies. In the 2000s, it was Pokemon. Today, the collectibles market is dominated by Funko Pops!, the ubiquitous vinyl figures that turn pop culture characters into block-headed, saucer-eyed cute bombs.

While Funko has a deep bench of licenses, many figures are exclusive to retailers, available for a limited time, or are otherwise hard to find. After perusing recent auction sales and Funko online price guides, we’ve excavated a few figures that are being bought and sold for stacks of cash larger than the toys themselves—and could be hiding in your very own collection. Take a look at 15 of the most sought after and valuable Funko Pop! figures that could net you a small fortune on the secondary market.

1. Ghost Rider Metallic Freddy Funko // $4210

The spirit of vengeance was unleashed as an ultra-exclusive variant edition that's a mash-up of the Marvel hero with Funko mascot Freddy Funko. Released in 2013, it was limited to just 12 figures. As a result, it’s a high-ticket item. The Pop Price Guide, which tracks Funko Pop! values and sales, estimates it at $4210.

2. She-Ra // $690

Funko

The warrior princess of the 1980s Masters of the Universe spin-off cartoon made a splash in 2013. The figure wasn’t a limited edition, but so many fans snapped her up that she’s hard to find.

3. Mike Wazowski Glow-in-the-Dark // $1960

The jolly green creature from 2001’s Monsters, Inc. was available in a limited glow-in-the-dark edition beginning in 2011, but collectors had to go on a scavenger hunt—only 480 were produced.

4. Reggae Rasta // $1200

Walmart

This Bob Marley-inspired figure has been sought after by collectors for sporting a limited-edition green outfit instead of the multi-colored one in the image seen above. That regular version sells for around $400.

5. Holographic Darth Maul // $5070

The horned villain from The Phantom Menace, 1999’s Star Wars prequel, got the glow-in-the-dark treatment from Funko in 2012. San Diego Comic-Con attendees had first crack at the variant, which was limited to 480 figures.

6. Master Chief // $650

Funko

The hero of the Halo 4 video game was a Blockbuster Video exclusive and commands $650 on the open market.

7. Ken Griffey Jr. Bronze // $3150

One of Major League Baseball’s most celebrated players got the Pop! treatment in 2018, with just 24 gold-finish variants made for fans at Seattle's Safeco Field (which was renamed T-Mobile Park in late 2018). The current market value is $3150.

8. Headless Ned Stark // $980

Funko

One of the most tragic and unexpected deaths on Game of Thrones was immortalized in this 2013 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, which features the head of the Stark family and his detachable melon. The Pop Price Guide has valued Stark at $980.

9. Black Ranger Freddy Funko // $1850

This hybrid of Funko mascot Freddy Funko and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was limited to fans attending the Funko Fundays event at 2017's San Diego Comic-Con. Only 24 were produced, which is why they’re extremely difficult to find, even on auction sites.

10. The Notorious B.I.G. Metallic // $1930

Funko

The late rap headliner got the deluxe treatment in 2011, with a metallic coat and hat version that was limited to 240 pieces. (The regular version is pictured.) Its listed value is $1930.

11. Batman Blue Metallic // $1400

The Dark Knight is looking a little more ostentatious in this 2010 San Diego Comic-Con offering, with a shiny blue cowl and accessories.

12. 1970s Elvis Presley Glow-in-the-Dark // $2170

Funko

A 1970s-era Elvis (above) comes in a special glow-in-the-dark version that has an estimated value of $2170. Another limited chase figure that depicts him at the height of his powers in the 1950s will run you as much as $1700.

13. Clown Dumbo // $5900

The ear-shaming of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo continues to strike a chord with people. The 2013 edition of Dumbo in clown make-up was limited to 48 pieces for San Diego Comic-Con attendees.

14. Planet Arlia Vegeta // $3500

Funko

The flame-haired Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z was exclusive to fans at the 2014 New York Comic Con and the Toy Tokyo store in New York City.

15. Bob’s Big Boy // $850

This iconic advertising character was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive in 2016. Only 1000 were made.

This story was updated in 2020.