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Pear-Shape
PearShape02

First Appearance:

April 14th, 1949 (obscured)
April 16th, 1949 (revealed)

Known Associates:

Nellie Biggs
Charlie & Joe Gass
Jim Pistol
Pedro Zelene

Created By:

Chester Gould

Can Be Found:

The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy
The Complete Dick Tracy Vol. 12

The man known as Pear-Shape (sometimes "Pear Shape" or "Pearshape") was the owner and operator of a popular weight-loss correspondence course. This was ironic, as Pear-Shape himself was heavyset, as his name would indicate. In addition to his bottom-heavy physique, Pear-Shape had wavy, light red hair. He typically wore eyeglasses and often smoked cigars.

Jewel Thief (and Killer?)Edit

Pear-Shape was ambitious and greedy. In addition to his correspondence course, he established connections to the underworld and became involved in jewel theft and smuggling. He discovered that one of his clients was the wealthy widow Mrs. Waldo. Pear-Shape endeared himself to Mrs. Waldo in an attempt to gain access to her famous collection of jewels. He was eventually able to do so, but Mrs. Waldo was shot and killed during the robbery (it is unclear if Pear-Shape acted alone during the robbery of Mrs. Waldo, or if it was one of his confederates who actually shot her).

Upon obtaining the jewels, Pear-Shape sold them for a fraction of their value to an elderly fence who lived on the edge of town. Pear-Shape's plan was to learn where the man hid the jewels and then steal them back to sell to some sucker. Time passed, and the elderly man died before Pear-Shape could learn the information that he wanted. The only other occupant of the man's home was his large Boxer, the dog who later became known as Mugg. The man had buried the jewels on his property and had trained Mugg to dig them up when given a certain command.

Upon learning of the man's death, Pear-Shape and two of his criminal associates broke into the home at night to search for the jewels. Mugg, who had also been trained to guard the house, attacked them and bit out the seat of Pear-Shape's pants.

Undaunted,  Pear-Shape returned, intending to subdue Mugg with tear gas, or shoot the dog if necessary. When Mugg (who had been taken into police custody) returned, he was followed by Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem. A shoot-out ensued at the house, and Pear-Shape fled, abandoning his men. Mugg followed, but Pear-Shape was able to elude the dog.

Living in His OfficeEdit

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Fearing that the police would be able to track him down, Pear-Shape took up residence in his business office. He recruited his assistant Nellie to bring him food and help secure the premises. Nellie urged Pear-Shape to give up his criminal endeavors and focus on his weight-loss school, which was lucrative. Pear-Shape seemed inclined to agree.

Tracy and Catchem had investigated several clues and learned about Pear-Shape's connection to Mrs. Waldo. In an effort learn more about Pear-Shape without arousing suspicion, Sam Catchem went undercover to Pear-Shape's office disguised a wealthy, overweight woman. Pear-Shape saw through Sam's ruse and pulled a gun on him, demanding to know who he was. Nellie knocked Sam unconscious and tied him up just before Tracy arrived with Mugg in tow. Pear-Shape fled (May 25th, 1949) and Mugg followed while Tracy freed Sam.

Pear-Shape stole a car and attempted to escape, but Mugg jumped on to the roof of the car, where his barking and howling attracted attention. Pear-Shape drove through a city park, hoping that a low-hanging tree branch would knock Mugg off the car. He was successful, and Mugg suffered a severe injury (June 1st,1949). Tracy arrived shortly thereafter and gave up pursuit of Pear-Shape to see that Mugg received medical attention.

Hiding Out at the Health SpaEdit

Pear-Shape, knowing that the car he had stolen could be identified, abandoned the vehicle and hid in a steam cabinet that was being delivered to the Health Spa of the fitness expert Jim Pistol. Pistol discovered Pear-Shape and took him on as a client (June 4th, 1949). Pistol imposed a rigorous training regimen on Pear-Shape as well as a strict diet and no-smoking policy.

Pistol's regimen included suntanning sessions on the roof of his building. During one of these sessions, Pear-Shape was seen by Junior Tracy who was visiting the observation deck of the nearby Empire Building. Junior recognized Pear-Shape from Tracy's description, and the young Crimestopper alerted the detective.

By this time, Pear-Shape had grown weary of Pistol's harsh techniques and became determined to escape. He contacted an old associate named Pedro, a helicopter pilot. Pear-Shape knew about Pedro's involvement in past criminal activities and threatened to inform on him unless Pedro came and collected Pear-Shape. Pedro reluctantly agreed.

Escape in a HelicopterEdit

Pedro's helicopter arrived just as Tracy and the police closed in on Pistol's building. Pistol was uncooperative and refused to tell Tracy where Pear-Shape was. This gave Pear-Shape enough time to board Pedro's helicopter and escape (June 17th, 1949).

Pedro and Pear-Shape argued, with Pear-Shape demanding to be flown Mexico. Pedro told him that there was barely enough fuel to get out of the county. Pear-Shape threatened Pedro that if he was left where the police could catch him, Pear-Shape would shoot Pedro. Pedro set the helicopter down in what he claimed was a park, but was actually an outdoor zoo. Pear-Shape left the helicopter and found himself in what he soon discovered was a lion habitat. Pear-Shape attempted to re-board the helicopter, but Pedro took off without him (June 21st, 1949).

PearShape03
Pedro's helicopter had been traced and Dick Tracy met him at the airfield. Pedro cooperated with the police, and he led them to where he had abandoned Pear-Shape. At first it appeared that Pear-Shape had been devoured by lions, but it was soon discovered that Pear-Shape was alive, stranded in the upper branches of one of the habitat's trees with several broken bones and other injuries. Pear-Shape was taken to a hospital, where he revealed that he had attempted to grab the helicopter's landing gear as it took off, but he had lost his grip and fallen into the tree, which kept him out of the lions' reach. He was arrested, pending his recovery.

Prison and ReformEdit

Pear-Shape was tried, convicted and served a prison sentence. He was later released and opened a genuine health spa and weight-loss clinic in Los Angeles, partnered with Jim Pistol. He publicly claimed that it was the methods he taught that
PearShape81
had resulted in his weight loss, but it was actually his aversion to prison food.

Pear-Shape was one of several former criminals (along with Coffyhead, Mousey, and Influence) that Dick Tracy visited on his cross-country trip with Diet Smith's Fusion Now tour. Pear-Shape and Tracy reconciled, and Tracy believed that Pear-Shape was not responsible for the threatening letters Smith had received.

Pear-Shape later attended Junior Tracy's wedding to Sparkle Plenty.

Appearances in Other MediaEdit

Archie's TV Funnies

PearShapeArchie
Pear-Shape was a character in one of the "Dick Tracy" segments of the 1971 animated television series "Archie's TV Funnies", produced by Filmation Associates. Pear-Shape's appearance somewhat resembled his depiction in the comic strip, though the cartoon version had brown hair and was prone to fits of maniacal laughter. Pear-Shape was one the villains featured in the show's opening and closing credits sequence.

NotesEdit

  • Pear-Shape's real name was apparently "P.S. Tone". It was not revealed what the initials stand for.
  • In addition to his criminal activities, it is possible that Pear-Shape's weight-loss correspondence was also fraudulent. It seemed to consist only of mimeographed pages with instructions for simple exercises.
    PearShapeRG
  • A Rogues' Gallery feature stated that Pear-Shape received a life sentence for his crimes, but he was later granted parole.
  • Pear-Shape's appearance was a self-caricature of Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould.

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