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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Whatever the weather, Naperville’s Dick Tracy can count on his 2-Way Wrist Radio to message safety


Every month Positively Naperville reminds readers that “keeping our community safe is everyone’s responsibility.”

Since October 2010, one solid citizen has been withstanding the elements on a plaza near the Moser Covered Bridge along the Riverwalk that, in our opinion, symbolizes that preventative message promoted by Naperville Crime Stoppers.

In late June 2013, the largest full moon of the year, the Super Moon, was caught looking over the shoulder of the Dick Tracy sculpture.

Sunday’s snow inspired this story to wrap up quite a year for the Naperville Century Walk’s Dick Tracy sculpture, the iconic image of the nation’s most famous crime fighter!

As a brief note of history, the comic strip with the Dick Tracy name, first created by Chester Gould for syndication in 1931, has been a quotable fixture in the memories of families around the world ever since. First in newspapers; then movies, radio, television; and now the Internet, Dick Tracy continues to be internationally recognized as the fedora-wearing detective.

Yet for Naperville’s youth, Dick Tracy is better known as the outdoor public art figure, a popular 7-foot attraction that stands near the Moser Covered Bridge, reminding folks of all ages to pay attention to help prevent crime. That “bigger than life” image also was featured on the cover of the 2010 Crime Prevention School Calendar distributed that year to every elementary school student in the city.

The Dick Tracy sculpture is prepared for all seasons along the Naperville Riverwalk.
In April, the DuPage River flooded its banks, and the Dick Tracy sculpture survived.
Throughout 2013, the Dick Tracy Century Walk sculpture has been surrounded by seasonal changes, even disrupted by noisy geese!
At 9PM on December 8, 2013, the Dick Tracy sculpture looked cool in a dusting of snow.

How did the Dick Tracy sculpture end up in Naperville?

Simply put, in 1983, longtime Naperville resident Dick Locher became the illustrator of the Dick Tracy comic strip that appeared in the Chicago Tribune. In time, he became the writer of the comic strip, too. Locher also received the Pulitzer Prize for his editorial cartoons. The versatile artist and sculptor later created the maquette (scale model) that was cast into the bronze tribute to Dick Tracy in 2010 and the rest is Naperville Century Walk history.

The Dick Tracy comic strip character appears to receive finishing touches from a self-portrait of Naperville artist Dick Locher.

World’s Most Renown Crime Stopper meets World’s Greatest Artist

During Positively Naperville’s annual tribute to public safety in October, an illustration depicting artist Dick Locher drawing Dick Tracy as it appears on the exterior wall of the Naperville Art League Gallery was featured on the cover with the Naperville Fire Department mascot, Sparky, and other important signs that promote safety.

The Naperville Century Walk mural titled “World’s Greatest Artists” was created by Mike Venezia and painted by Marianne Lisson Kuhn. Locher is depicted among 36 world-famous artists. The Naperville Art League Gallery is located on the corrner of Fifth Avenue and Center Street.

Pay attention to be safe!

In the worst winter weather, even folks who know better might jest that local citizens can count on Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Wrist Radio to call out the snow plows on a Sunday afternoon to clear the roads for safe passing.

In Naperville, the legendary Dick Tracy one-of-a-kind sculpture serves as a lasting example for all ages to pay attention and help keep the community safe by day and by night.

The snowy scene along the Riverwalk also is an opportunity to express gratitude to thousands of citizens such as Dick Locher who faithfully contribute to the unmet needs and the quality of life in this community, especially during the holiday season. In Locher’s case, his joyful stories, editorial cartoons, amusing headlines and memorable works of art will continue to stand the test of time.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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