June 21st, 1981 (full)
Unnamed Parents (Deceased)
Ownley Chylde was the wealthy heir to a baby food fortune. He was heavy-set, with thin hair that gave him a babyish appearance.
Obsession with Sparkle Plenty
Ownley lived a life of leisure, devoting himself to his various hobbies and collections. His most prized possessions were his collection of Sparkle Plenty merchandise. In the early 1980s, Sparkle attempted to revive her singing career. This corresponded with Ownley’s trust fund maturing, giving him complete control over his family fortune. He fired his house staff, placed his collections into storage, and put the family home up for sale.
Ownley had decided to devote himself to courting Sparkle, who had recently split from her first husband, Vera Alldid. Ownley attended many of her shows, eventually summoning the courage to introduce himself. When he declared his affection to Sparkle, he was devastated to learn that she had become engaged to marry Junior Tracy.
The Jealous Suitor
Ownley determined that if Junior was eliminated, Sparkle would become available to return his affections. He arranged several “accidents” designed to seriously injure or kill Junior. When these failed, Ownley decided to abandon subtlety and simply shoot Junior.
Ownley had been following Sparkle on her cross-country tour, aware that Junior was accompanying her. At a fair in the Midwest, Ownley attempted to lure Junior into a trap in the haunted house. Dick Tracy, who had met up with his son and Sparkle while on a separate cross-country tour with Diet Smith, arranged to have the lights turned out inside the haunted house. Tracy was aware that Chylde was deathly afraid of the dark, and after a few minutes inside the darkened attraction Chylde was found alone and whimpering in a fetal position.
Chylde was arrested and taken into custody, facing charges of attempted murder.
Chylde was briefly suspected of being responsible for Sparkle's disappearance during the mystery of the "new" Moon Maid, but he was not involved. It was implied that he was no longer in prison.
- The name Ownley Chylde is a play on the term "only child", meaning a child without siblings, who would therefore presumably receive attention and indulgence from their parents.
- Ownley Chylde was in his early twenties at the time of his attempt on Junior Tracy's life, though his physical appearance (thin hair, round face, heavyset build) made him look paradoxically baby-ish and middle-aged.
- Chylde's appearance (and backstory) was apparently inspired by the Gerber Baby, the baby mascot that appears on jars of Gerber brand baby food.
- Running in mid-1981, the Ownley Chylde story was an early fictional representation of the mentally-unbalanced "celebrity stalker"-type. Previous real-life examples would be the men who had shot musician John Lennon and U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The phenomenon would become more well-known with the murders of actress Rebecca Schaeffer and singer Selena.
- A version of Chylde appeared in the Midnite Mirror storyline as a uniform police officer.