Friday, April 11, 2008

A Disney MGM Studios celebration - Part Four - The Dick Tracy Crime Stoppers attraction that never was - original artwork

Hello, as promised, here is the part four of this Disney MGM Studios article series, and this time it will be about an attraction that never was - or almost was: Dick Tracy Crime Stoppers.

Remember this Warren Beatty movie adaptation of the famous Dick Tracy comic strip in 1990 ? The stylised movie where Al Pacino and all vilains had masks to have their faces looking like in the comic strip.

Yes, the one with Madonna playing in it - she was dating with Warren at that time!

Well, everybody at the WDC was so much convinced it will be a big hit that Walt Disney Imagineering designed a fantastic Dick Tracy attraction, a whole park area in fact.
An attraction where "Dick Tracy will recruit guests to shoot it out with gangsters bad guys"...

The 1990's press release was saying that " Guests will literally get "into the act" in this new high-tech action-adventure featuring the very latest in Audio-Animatronics, simulation, sound and special effects." And also: "Guests will join America's favorite comic-strip detective in a high-speed chase with his gangster adversaries." And in what kind of decor this high-speed chase would have take place? Well, this kind of decor - a really great great one.

Just below, two close shots of this artwork to have a better view how detailed it was.

As for the high-speed chase itself, this rendering below will give you a perfect feeling of it.

Here also, two close shots of the artwork.

It looked great, doesn't it? And not only the Dick Tracy Crime Stoppers attraction was envisioned for the Disney MGM Studios, but also for Disneyland, Anaheim for a whole new land: "Hollywoodland". And if you ask any imagineer who worked at WDI at that time and who had the luck to see the model, they will all tell you how great the attraction would have been.

Yes, but...the problem was that the box office of the movie didn't reached the WDC expectations, and, well, you know what kind of things happen when a "eagerly anticipated summer hit" finally is not that successful, don't you? That's right, all the plans were cancelled, and we're all still waiting for this Dick Tracy attraction...although...when i looked again to that cinemascope rendering of the decor, the right part of it reminds me something that i saw in the best themed park on earth: the streets under the elevated tramway at the American Waterfront of Tokyo Disney Sea.

Hmmmm, i'm wondering if something from Dick Tracy Crime Stoppers finally survived? Your thoughts?

Artwork: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc.


Ryan P. Wilson said...

With MGM being "the Hollywood that never was, and always will be," this stylized era of crimefighting would have been yet another perfect fit! Sadly, MGM followed the route laid out by Hollywood years before, follow the money.

I have yet to make it out to Disney Sea, but if any of this concept survived to see a brighter day, it is just one more reason to start planning a trip across the big blue.

Anonymous said...

I think this ride would have been a great fit to the theme of the park. However, there was a problem besides box office. This ride was essentially a combiantion of two technologies - the enhanced motion vehicles of Indiana Jones Adventure together with the interactive guns of Buzz Lightyear. The idea of guests "shooting" gangsters is little jarring for a family park. I am not sure the imagineers ever managed to resolve this conundrum satisfactorily...and this may have contributed to the demise of the attraction. At least that's what I've hear. Thanks for the great pics - Tasman.

Michael said...

Thank you! I had never seen those first renderings before. While I was never very eager for an attraction based on Dick Tracy, I would have loved to see a period-specific ride like this at MGM. I think that it's a shame that they've neglected to take advantage of the 1930s and 40s era more in MGM attractions. And the EMV/Lightgun combo would be far more impressive than either Buzz or TSM.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that you should bring up the Dick Tracy attraction. I remember seeing the sketches for it, and hearing about Disney's plans for it years back. Around the time that the Tracy movie came out, a showing of "Swiss Family Robinson" aired on the wonderful world of Disney. I bugged my mom to tape the movie, and Eisner hosted it. At the movie's conclusion, He talked about some of the "coming" attractions planned for Disneyland & Disneyworld. One of them was the Rogger Rabit ride. Another (surprisingly) was a ride based on "Close encounters of the third kind" I believe they may have also mentioned "Honey, I shrunk the kids (of which an attraction finally came to fruition), and lastly the attraction based on Dick Tracy. It's too bad that it didn't make it into the parks. Interestingly enough, the guy who played "the kid (dick tracy jr.)" left his handprints in cement infront of the chinese-theatre style Disney world attraction in Flordia. I'd like to see that sometime, but have never been to florida. yet to have the opportunity. If I can find it, i'll try to upload the "coming attractions" bit to youtube. I remember Eisner was walking on some beach (in keeping with the Swiss Family Robinson theme) finding a glass bottle with a message from a Disney character. I think Disney's take on the movie would have been great. IF only they had gone ahead with it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The only thing that came from this is the Hollywood section of DCA in Disneyland in CA