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Dick Tracy statue will be here in town GRAY MATTER

June 22, 2009 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Sun Staff

It's four o'clock in the morning, when most Naperville dwellings are in complete darkness. However, in one northern subdivision of our city there is a home reflecting activity that could be associated with a dwelling at high noon.

This building happens to be the headquarters of Dick Tracy. With the imagination and talent of Dick Locher, Tracy and all his enemies and friends come alive for one more day of the detective's 78-year career. The artist/storyteller, along with Jim Brozman, have shared a third of the crime fighter's life.

The 80-year-old Locher was born in Dubuque, Iowa, eventually moving to Chicago to study art at The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. While in Chicago, he became an assistant to Rick Yager, who was drawing Buck Rogers.

World War II was raging. Consequently, he enlisted in the Air Force where he eventually became a test pilot and freelance writer for The Stars and Stripes. In 1957, Chester Gould, the originator of Dick Tracy, hired Locher as his assistant.

In 1961, he founded and actively ran an advertising company, where he designed some of the McDonald's characters that are still known today.

1973 found him as an editorial cartoonist at The Chicago Tribune. To this day he still draws in this field. In 1983 he returned to work on Dick Tracy after the previous cartoonist died. That same year, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his editorial cartooning.

Locher's studio is filled with memorabilia reflecting his contributions and rewards for a gift that he has given America. As children we can all recall Dick Tracy as part of every morning. Additionally, as we have become seniors we definitely get a chuckle out of his political cartoons.

There are numerous sketches of the detective, and characters he has brought to justice. Autographed pictures of politicians, celebrities and awards - in particular the Late John Locher Award given to students pursuing the art of cartooning. This is the 23rd year of this prize.

Dick Locher with his wife, Mary, have lived, enjoyed and raised three children in Naperville over the past 40 years. They have also been blessed with five grandchildren.

Everywhere Americans may travel on our planet, we have learned that many citizens of other countries have heard of Dick Tracy. He is as American as Mickey Mouse and apple pie.

This symbol of America lives in our town. It is then quite fitting that we erect a statue of this super sleuth, announcing that Naperville is his home town.

After all, there are statues of "Superman" in Metropolis, Ill., "Charlie Brown and Snoopy" in Santa Rosa, Calif., "Willie and Joe" in Santa Fe, N.M., and a sculpture of "Andy Gump" in Lake Geneva, Wis.

Locher was asked to select a location for this sculpture. He has suggested it be on the south side of the DuPage River next to the headquarters of Naperville Township. The dedication is scheduled for Oct. 4.

Note: Meeting of the Involved Naperville Seniors will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Municipal Center.

Dick Locher of Naperville was asked to select a location for the sculpture of Dick Tracy, who he drew for a third of the crime fighter's life. He has suggested it be on the south side of the DuPage River next to the headquarters of Naperville Township. The dedication is scheduled for Oct. 4.

 

Section: OUR CITY — Page: 9

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