1990 Playmates Dick Tracy Toys

Posted 11 years ago by Toys

Dick Tracy Toys

Action figures based on bad movies of the 90s seems to be a recurring theme in my nostalgia. Some of my favorite toy lines growing up came from films like Super Mario Bros, Last Action Hero, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and last but not least, Dick Tracy.

Dick Tracy has been around in one form or another for almost 80 years, but in 1990 Warren Beatty decided to make a film version of the pulp icon, and pretty much buried the character.

This isn’t a movie review, so bring on the movie tie-ins! Like most big Hollywood event films (especially those adapted from cartoons or comics) Dick Tracy had a toy line, apptly titled Dick Tracy: Coppers and Gangsters. The figures had the classic 90s Playmates stocky look to them, and came with awesome accessories. Check out a commercial and lots more after the jump.

Luckily, the characters in the movie were completely crazy, so their action figures turned out pretty nice. Lets face it, if it wasn’t for these characters’ messed up faces, they’d be pretty boring. Dick Tracy himself is cool because he has a yellow hat, pistol, billy club, and smarmy expression.


Dick Tracy is my favorite of the line (a fine accomplishment) because he was so versitile. You know what I mean, when it came time to mix your favorite action figures up to act out whatever crazy mini-series you had going on in your head, you always wanted some generic guys that could easily fit into your story. If every toy you had looked like Spider-Man or Spawn, it’d be pretty hard to reenact the assassination of Ronald Reagan or create your own Space Western, right? Come on, I wasn’t the only kid who did that was I?


Anyway, Dick Tracy was the perfect policeman action figure. He even had a cool 1930s gangster car, but since I didn’t have that he cruised around my room in Arnold’s convertible from Last Action Hero, or on a motorcycle.


There were plenty of other cool characters in the toy line, including Sam Catchem, Big Boy (Al Pacino), The Brow, The Blank, Flattop, Pruneface, and get this: Steve the Tramp.


Since the movie had the worst combination of prosthetics and overacting, the action figures have some great expressions. But wait, Steve the Tramp? I don’t remember this character from the movie, but then again I try not to think of the movie much. As far as I can remember, Steve the Tramp is only the second hobo action figure next to the Playmobil police officer/hobo set.


I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think this would fly today. Especially when you take a closer look. He comes with a board, a knife, and a garbage can lid. His profile is pretty descriptive too. Here are some highlights.

  • Description – Ignorant bum with cauliflower ears, dirty and scarred from a life on the streets. You’ll smell him before you see him.
  • M.O. – Recruits runaway children into his army of little street thieves and con artists.
  • Warning – Steve the Tramp will use and abuse any young, helpless prey he comes across. Beware.

I really wish I was funny enough to make those up, but they’re really on the back of his card.

The nice thing about liking toys like this is that they are not very collectible. I bought a bunch of figures in the package on ebay on the cheap, and I have two or three loose Dick Tracys. I often check and see what’s available just in case I need some more. So there you have it, just one of the many toy lines of the 90s based on bad movies.

What were some of your favorite toy lines?

Update: – For some reason, you can still buy a Dick Tracy MIB on Amazon.

  • I remember there being a big upset about the Tramp figure back then. He was supposedly recalled from stores and was “rare” because of his questionable and offensive bio and negative depiction of the homeless.

    Luckily, as you stated, no one really cares about the Dick Tracy toys anymore, so I bet you can still buy the Tramp on eBay.

    • Yeah, I think I got all the ones I have now as a big lot that included a carrying case. I think I saw someone trying to get $50 for Steve the Tramp, but also saw him for $5 or so.

      I just wish I had a good way to store/display figures still in the package without making my office look like a Wal-mart from 1992.

  • hey kids, wouldn’t you like an action figure of a “child abusing bum”? Like you said, he’d fit into any toy scenario.

    • If only I had a Michael Jackson action figure.

      • hey now, I’m a MJ fan. one day I’m gonna bust out my MJ toys on the pizza. I have some crazy shit.

        • I didn’t even know there were MJ toys. I’m jealous.

  • Awesome. I had Dick Tracy, but never got the rest. =( That’s my story with so many action figure lines. But hey, I didn’t have any money! I was at the mercy of my parents.

  • Wasn’t the Tramp the guy who Dick Tracy rescues the Kid from in the beginning of the Movie? Ok, enough descriptive capitalization.

    Other great movie ti-in toy lines that spring to mind are The Last Action Hero ones, like you said. The Axe Murderer guy had a crazy-nasty looking face, but not a lot of playability because his arms could only go over his head – handy if you’re swinging a massive axe or doing a Mexican wave, but not much else. I had the Arnie figure that burst out from a trench coat… ok, a plastic shell shaped like a trench coat, to show his I.D. and a gun.

    I used to love playing with a bootleg Freddy Kruger figure which is odd because a mere photo of that guy was enough to make me burst into tears. I remember he had a soft rubber head and was part of a series of classic Hollywood monsters, but other than that I don’t remember much else.

    What about Aliens? I had the queen, the alien that blew up (I think it might’ve been the scorpion alien) and Bishop with a sweet gatling gun. None of the characters looked like their on-screen counterparts though. I wonder why.

    Ok. I’ll stop here for now 😉

  • The Dick Tracy movie was FUCKING AWESOME!! Yeah, it had some hammy acting, but that’s partly why I like it XD
    I agree that the toys are cool though 😀

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