February 13th, 1945
Appearance of Death:
November 10th, 2012
Can Be Found:
Despite his youth, Measles was able to command the loyalty and respect of many older criminals, due to his cunning nature and vicious streak.
The Young Criminal EmergesEdit
Measles supplied his mother with drugs, which she then smuggled into the prison and sold to the inmates. This scheme was uncovered with the help of Gravel Gertie, who was incarcerated at the time. Mrs. Enog and an accomplice discovered that Gertie was helping the police build their case and tried to kill her in the prison pump house. In the struggle, Anna Enog accidentally slipped and fell into the pump house machinery which mangled her to death.
Upon learning of his mother's death, Measles vowed revenge on Gravel Gertie. He ordered a wreath from the "Say It With Flowers" florist shop that Gertie had recently become employed at, and Gertie recognized Anna Enog's name on the order slip. Measles then visited several of his criminal associates and threatened them with violence if they did not send copious amounts of flowers to his mother's funeral.
Gertie called Dick Tracy to inform him of what she had discovered. Tracy came to meet her at the flower shop just as Measles returned. A gunfight ensued, and several of Measles' gang members were hit. Tracy cornered Measles next to the younger man's car, and one of Measles' associates (who was lying inside the car, wounded) was able to throw the car into reverse gear. The vehicle struck Tracy, who was knocked off his feet. Measles took advantage of the confusion and jumped into the car, speeding off. Tracy's clothes had become caught in the car's bumper, and he dragged away behind the escaping Measles. All of this was witnessed by Gertie, who notified the police.
Friction from the road and leaking fuel from the gas tank caused Tracy's clothes to catch fire. Luckily, his clothes ripped as the car went around a curve, and Tracy was thrown free into a snow bank which doused the flames. The fire spread to the rest of the car, and Measles was forced to abandon the vehicle as well as his henchman known as "Shorty" who had succumbed to his gunshot wound. The car continued to burn and was discovered by the police.
Hiding with the Gonzalez FamilyEditMeasles took refuge in the home of the Gonzalez family, who lived in a boxcar shack next to the railroad track. Mr. Gonzalez was suspicious of Measles, but Measles gained the affection of Mrs. Gonzalez by providing her with grocery money and his dead mother's ration cards (this was during the waning days of the second World War). Measles was also the object of affection of the Gonzalez teenage daughter Paprika, who found the mysterious stranger exciting.
Measles had Paprika run small errands for him, and he eventually sent her to his apartment in the city to bring back his radio. Measles apartment was being searched by Dick Tracy and Pat Patton when Paprika arrived. The police officers hid while she got Measles' radio, then followed her as did some shopping. Tracy obtained the Gonzalez's address from a grocery clerk who had delivered to the family, which Tracy used to make some arrangements with the head of the local railroad.
Upon receiving his radio, Measles revealed that it contained his gun. Paprika and her mother realized that they had been harboring a fugitive and turned on Measles, but he held them at gunpoint. At that point, Tracy and the police arrived with a specially authorized train engine and boxcar, trapping Measles in the Gonzalez's home. However, smoke from Mrs. Gonzalez's stove clouded the air between the shack and the train car, obscuring the officers' view. Measles poured more fuel on the fire, hoping to create a smokescreen in which to make his escape. Mrs. Gonzalez knocked over the stove's smokestack, filling the room with smoke and forcing Measles to flee. He tried to escape out a window, but was apprehended by Tracy (April 7, 1945).
Tracy loaded Measles and the Gonzalez women onto the train car, planning to question all of them. When they arrived back at the rail yard, however, the excited railroad worker forgot to throw the derail switch, and the train car crashed into a shed. The collapsing rubble broke the handcuff that held Measles to Tracy and the younger man assaulted Tracy, took his gun and escaped.
Fleeing by TrainEdit
Measles fled across the rail yard and onto a nearby passenger train. Seeking to avoid capture, he hid in a compartment that happened to be occupied by Vitamin Flintheart (another friend of Dick Tracy) and Snowflake Falls. The pair was heading west to star in a film, and they did not take kindly to Measles' intrusion (April 13, 1945). When Measles pulled a gun, Snowflake distracted him, allowing Vitamin enough time to hit Measles over the head with a bottle of cognac.
Vitamin left Snowflake with the seemingly unconscious Measles and went to get help. Measles, however, had recovered quickly and locked the door behind Vitamin. He then took Snowflake's suitcase and used it to break the compartment's window. The train was passing through a rural area that was experiencing a spring flood and had slowed enough to allow Measles to safely jump out.The train stopped at a nearby town and Vitamin phoned Tracy, telling him what happened. Based on Vitamin's description, Tracy realized that the suspect must be Measles. Tracy soon arrived in the area and resumed his manhunt. Measles had been found by flood relief workers and was taken to a shelter. There, Measles stole a rescue boat, not realizing that it had no oars. He was swept along by the current until the boat became tangled in some barbed wire.
Arrest and JailEdit
Measles swam to shore and came across a horse that had gotten loose during the flood. Weakened and desperate, he used the horse as a shield to protect himself from Tracy and the police, who were tracking him in motorboats. The police officers found the horse, which was spooked by the noisy boats. It knocked Measles loose and kicked him in the head. Measles was taken into custody, injured but alive (May 10th, 1945).
Shortly after his arrest, Measles attempted to escape from the local jail in which he was being held by deploying some tear gas capsules that he kept pasted to his body with a plaster. The capsule went off while Measles was being showered and he tried to flee. In the cloud of gas, he could not see where he was going, and he "fled" into an adjoining jail cell. This amused the officers on duty who promptly closed the cell door on him, though Dick Tracy was already at work on the case of Shaky's body involving Breathless Mahoney and was not present.
Parole and New AccomplicesEdit
Measles had been recently paroled in 1981 and became a a suspect in the case of the threatening letters that Dick Tracy had been receiving. Measles had befriended another Tracy foe in prison, "Wormy" Marrons. Measles was staying with his cousin Wally Enog, and met up with Wormy even though it violated the conditions of their parole. The pair planned an armored car heist, enlisting the help of Wormy's seamstress friend Dewdrop, another paroled criminal who had crossed paths with Dick Tracy in the past.The plan was for Dewdrop to provide Measles and Wormy with counterfeit guard uniforms, which the two men would wear and then subdue the real guards. They would then slip the third armored car guard some drugged coffee, and drive the car to Dewdrop's derelict garage hideout.
Dewdrop expressed a romantic interest in Measles, even though she knew Wormy would be jealous if he found out. Following a late night planning session, Measles asked Wormy to drop him off at his cousin's home, unaware that the house was being monitored by Johnny Adonis and Lee Ebony. As Measles emerged from the car, the two officers approached and identified themselves. Measles surrendered, but Wormy backed the car into Lee, knocking her off her feet. Lee drew her gun and fired through the rear window, striking Wormy in the shoulder and wounding him. Wormy and Measles were taken into custody, and Measles inadvertently confessed that they had been planning a robbery (December 25th, 1981). He was charged with violation of his parole and conspiracy, but it was soon discovered that he was not responsible for the threatening letters that Tracy had received.
Measles' RevengeEditIn 2012, Measles was shown out of prison again, still involved in the illegal drug trade. He killed his partner Bookie and took up residence in the dead man's trailer. Another criminal associate provided Measles with pain-killing adhesive patches, to which Measles quickly developed a dependency.
Measles encountered Sparkle Plenty by coincidence, and learned that she was the daughter of Gravel Gertie. Measles saw the chance to get avenge the death of his mother, and he tracked Gertie to her home at Sunny Dell Acres. Measles burst in with his gun, but was caught off guard by Gertie (who delivered a blow to his back with an axe) and Sparkle (who burned him with hot ash from the stove). Tracy then arrived, having been called by Gertie. Measles fled, but was followed by Tracy and other police.
Measles took refuge near a tree in a clearing where he applied several of his pain-killing patches and prepared to engage in a shoot-out with Tracy. However, the combination of his wounds and the drug overdose killed him before any additional shots could be fired (November 10th, 2012).
- Vitamin Flintheart described Measles as having blond hair, but it has often been colored red or strawberry blond in various publications.
- Measles attempt to escape from jail following his initial arrest took place at the same time as Dick Tracy's first encounter with Breathless Mahoney. As a result, that portion of the first Measles storyline was included in the Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy book.