Sunday, February 11, 2007

It Was Easier To Spot Criminals Then

I remember in my younger days how much easier it was to spot criminals.

In the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, for instance, you could pick out the Communists because they always called each other “Comrade.” Easy call.

Dick Tracy’s villains had strange features. The Mole looked pretty much like a mole, right to his nose. “Nothing” Yonson didn’t have any facial features, with a cigar stuck in where a mouth might be. Pruneface, well, self-explanatory.

Superman fought people who just looked like thugs; Batman had his odd group to deal with. But I think Superman’s villains had bigger, fuller chins.

In the cowboy movies, of course, it was white hats and black hats. No problem there and it helped us in our younger years when we might not understand all the dialogue. Also, the bad guys tended to look rougher than the hero.

Even when you were being tempted, there were two figures on your shoulder; one in white with a halo and another, in red, with horns. Guess who’s the bad guy.

Dick Tracy may be around and dealing with the odd guys; Annie may still be going with her villains and the strange bunch who kept an eye on her (Daddy Warbucks, The Asp, Punjab and Sandy the dog). The last western I heard of was about two gay cowboys and I don’t think white or black hats was the issue.


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