My brother remembered watching this back in the early '80s when we lived in Southport. I'll never forget this theme tune and I'm pretty sure one or two episodes were repeated by ITV in the mid '80s.
"What was I thinking of, hitting him? Nothing. No, I know. I hate him! I hate his guts, I hate everything he stands for with his PACE and his plus and his statements of purpose and his smiling at the punters and his have a nice day! I mean when was the last time he ever nicked anybody, eh? A real villain! When was the last time he ever put himself on the line?"
I was a big fan of the Dick Tracy newspaper comic strip and this cartoon was a massive disappointment. Tracy is barely in it! He sits behind a desk and assigns cases to detective characters that were created for the show. Even for 1961 the show was controversial for ethnic stereotyping of some characters. By the time I was watching it in the early 1970s its days on tv were numbered. Due to modern Political Correctness this is highly unlikely to ever appear on American TV again. Some episodes have been released on DVD though. There are a couple of good things about it such as actor Everett Sloan doing the voice of Dick Tracy and the use of Tracy's celebrated Rogues Gallery for the villains. Some of the villains have voices inspired by actors like Edward G. Robinson and Peter Lorre.
I remember this very well from the 80s. It was staple viewing on Sunday afternoons on Grampian TV, but it was never really scheduled, usually shown on TV if the Shinty or some other shyte North of Scotland pastime was cancelled due to weather, this usually was shown before the Love Boat to pad out the void in the schedule, which happened quite a bit.
The fact it sounds really politically incorrect has a certain taboo appeal, other than that it's not for me.
It's not really worth making an effort to see even if it's just for how politically incorrect it is. Each cartoon is only runs about five minutes so you don't have to endure it for long. I wouldn't be surprised if there are episodes posted on You Tube.
The Dick Tracy movie serials from the 1930s and starring Ralph Byrd are good. Instead of a police detective Tracy is an FBI agent but they are closer in spirit to the comic strip than that stupid cartoon. There were also four low budget movies made in the 1940s. Two with Morgan Conway and two with Ralph Byrd. These are even closer to the comic strip but Conway is not as good in the role as Byrd was. Boris Karloff played the villain in one of them. Ralph Byrd went on to play Tracy in a TV series in the early 1950s which ended because of Byrd's untimely death. In 1967 the producers of the Batman TV series made a pilot for a proposed Dick Tracy series. The cast is good but it's easy to see why it didn't sell. It's not as crazy as Batman or as serious as The Green Hornet.
Here's a list of live action versions of Dick Tracy before the 1990 movie
Serials: made by Republic Pictures and starring Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy
Dick Tracy (1937) 15 Chapters Dick Tracy Returns (1938) 15 Chapters Dick Tracy's G-Men (1939) 15 Chapters Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc. (1941) 15 Chapters
Movies: made by RKO.
Dick Tracy aka Dick Tracy, Detective (1945) Morgan Conway as Dick Tracy Dick Tracy vs Cueball (1946) Morgan Conway as Dick Tracy Dick Tracy's Dilemma (1947) Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947) Byrd as Tracy with Boris Karloff as Gruesome
TV Series 1950-52 41 episodes starring Ralph Byrd as Tacy
1967 Unsold TV Pilot with Ray McDonnell as Dick Tracy
There is a reason why Ralph Byrd played the part so often. He did it very well. He also bore a fair resemblance to the character. At least as much as anyone could without makeup.