July 10th, 1945
Unnamed Grandfather (deceased)
Bob Oscar (B.O.) Plenty was one of eight sons (and at least one daughter). He was a thin man with wiry black hair. He often wears an unkempt beard, though he has shaved it from time to time. He habitually wears a pith helmet, a vest, and sleeve garters. In early appearances, he was frequently shown chewing tobacco.
Not much about B.O. Plenty's past is known. He was born in Slingshot Mountain, Virginia in 1890. His family moved to Ohio shortly thereafter. At one point in his youth, B.O.'s father Morin brought the family west. B.O was separated from his father when the family changed trains Chicago, and Morin had claimed to only have seen B.O. once since then. B.O. and his twin brother Goodin robbed a gas station in 1938.
B.O. eventually came to own a farm, where he lived and worked for fifty years. His farm was near the town of Tinyville, Ohio.
- 1 B.O., Breathless and Itchy
- 2 B.O. Gains a Powerful Friend
- 3 B.O. Meets Gravel Gertie
- 4 B.O.'s First Child
- 5 The Plenty Family Grows
- 6 The Empty Nest
- 7 Sunny Dell Acres II and The Land of Plenty
- 8 B.O. Plenty's Luck
- 9 B.O.'s Second Child
- 10 Appearances in Other Media
- 11 Notes
B.O., Breathless and Itchy[edit | edit source]
B.O. Plenty met Breathless Mahoney when she was on the run with her step-father Shaky's money. He agreed to let her hide on his farm, and tried to conceal her presence from Dick Tracy. Breathless was discovered, but she managed to poison Tracy and Plenty and make her escape.
The men recovered, and B.O. became determined to revenge himself upon Breathless. B.O. was taken to the County Jail after being poisoned by Breathless Mahoney. He later escaped. Eventually, B.O. assaulted Breathless in a bank vault in the city and took the money. Breathless was found and hospitalized.
For a little while, B.O. lived extravagantly with the money he had taken, until the criminal Itchy learned that B.O. was in possession of Shaky's money. B.O. was lured to Itchy's hideout with the help of Breathless' mother Elia. Itchy tortured B.O. by applying fire to his bare feet, demanding to know where the money was. B.O. refused, and was eventually tied to wooden planks and floated down the sewer until he was lodged up in a narrow curve. Itchy eventually found the money and fled. B.O. was not seen in the city for some time thereafter.
It was later learned that B.O. had been washed out to sea from the sewer and was rescued by a ship bound for China. B.O. eventually made his way back to the United States.
B.O. Gains a Powerful Friend[edit | edit source]
When B.O. was next seen, he was in the employ of wealthy industrialist Diet Smith as a groundskeeper. He had witnessed a man crawl out of Smith's basement window, but didn't say anything, thinking it was Smith. He told the chauffeur of what he saw and showed him the "watch" the man had dropped.
At the same time, Tracy was in Smith's mansion, questioning Smith about the murder of his partner. Smith, refusing to cooperate and being the prime suspect was placed under arrest. Tracy found out that B.O. was back in the United States from China. B.O. gave himself up, tired of being a fugitive. Tracy offered B.O. leniency on the charges against him if B.O. agreed to help the police find the person who killed Smith's partner. B.O. complied.
After the ordeal with Diet Smith, his son Brilliant and his ex-wife Irma, Diet became good friends with B.O. In addition to providing him counsel on the charges relating to the incident with Breathless Mahoney, Smith gave B.O. a parcel of land he owned called Sunny Dell Acres, so B.O. could raise vegetables outside the city.
B.O. Meets Gravel Gertie[edit | edit source]
B.O.'s neighbor at a nearby greenhouse was the mandolin-playing, loud-singing Gravel Gertie. Like B.O., Gertie had been a law-breaker who had been at odds with Dick Tracy, but she had since reformed. B.O. and Gertie initially despised each other and each thought the other was the ugliest human on Earth.
Eventually the two grew closer and Gertie eventually accepted B.O.'s marriage proposal. On the day they were married (which was broadcast nationwide over the radio) B.O. was arrested for the outstanding charges against him, specifically the attempted murder of Breathless Mahoney. Breathless, who lay dying in the prison hospital from a terminal illness, dropped the charges against B.O., wanting him to have a chance at happiness.
Nine months later, Gertie gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter they named Sparkle. Before she was born, Tracy and others feared what manner of offspring B.O. and Gertie would have, but to their shock and surprise, the little girl was beautiful.
Sometime later, the unfortunate little dog of ruthless gang boss Mrs. Volts appeared at Sunny Dell Acres and was adopted by the Plentys. Mrs. Volts, wanting her dog back, drove to the Plentys house planning to shoot them. However, she lost control of her car, which crashed into the house and exploded, enveloping the entire house in flames. Fortunately, both the Plentys and the dog were away that night. Diet Smith built an exact replica of their house, including the stove ("I could have bought a battleship easier than I bought that stove").
B.O.'s First Child[edit | edit source]
In the wake of Sparkle's popularity, a soda company began marketing a soft drink that bore her name. B.O. sued, because the soda company had not gotten his permission. As part of the settlement, B.O. became an exclusive distributor of the drink and secured a share of the profits.
Later, the successful baby clothes designer Talcum Freely wanted to use Sparkle in his advertising campaign. B.O. and Freely quarreled frequently about how Sparkle should be represented. Freely was eventually found murdered and B.O. left town, thinking that he would be considered the prime suspect (when in reality, he was killed by rival clothing designer Sketch Paree). After a long absence, B.O. returned to Sunny Dell Acres when he learned that he learned that he was not a suspect, bringing a dog that he befriended during his time living in the wilderness.
B.O. entered Sparkle in a children's talent show on television when he discovered that she could play the ukulele and had a wonderful singing voice. She immediately became very popular. Dick Tracy recommended Vitamin Flintheart to be young Sparkle's agent, and B.O. agreed. However, Vitamin was blackmailed by T.V. Wiggles, a gangster who shot B.O. As B.O. lay near death in the hospital under an oxygen tent, Tracy prayed for B.O. to recover, which he did.
Later, B.O. and his family went on a vacation in the North Woods, where they met up with the also vacationing Tracys. It was during this trip that Dick Tracy was shot by the young singer called Tonsils, resulting in Sparkle and Bonny Tracy going missing for several days. B.O. was not active in the search, opting instead to stay at the hotel to provide comfort for Tess Tracy and Gertie.
The Plenty Family Grows[edit | edit source]
B.O.'s wealthy brother Kincaid Plenty (who was also known as "Canhead") came to stay at Sunny Dell Acres, and offered to pay for a modern-style bathroom to be built on the property. B.O. initially refused, not wanting to take "charity" from his brother. B.O. relented when he was informed that building the new bathroom would bring his home in line with mandatory health code regulations. While the facility was being built, B.O. often quarreled with the contractors and builders. This distracted him from the criminal machinations of 3-D Magee and Pony and their blackmail plot against Canhead, though B.O. took notice when the criminals endangered Sparkle and Wingy. The plot was eventually foiled and the girls returned to safety.
The Empty Nest[edit | edit source]
Sparkle eventually married the successful cartoonist Vera Alldid, who was also a distant relative. B.O. did not approve of the marriage because Alldid was an artist, which B.O. considered to be an unreliable profession. B.O. was won over by the expensive things that Alldid was able to buy for him and Gertie. Sometime prior to 1978, Alldid grew dissatisfied with Sparkle and divorced her. B.O. refused to allow her to come back home to Sunny Dell Acres, as his family had always been strongly opposed to divorce. After Sparkle's new boyfriend Johnny Snow was killed, B.O. changed his mind and invited Sparkle to move back home with his blessing.
B.O. and Gertie were present at the marriage of Sparkle and Junior Tracy.
Sunny Dell Acres II and The Land of Plenty[edit | edit source]
That following Christmas, B.O. was drenched with toxic waste by the midnight hauler Oxen Cixot. Sunny Dell Acres was contaminated and B.O. started glowing in the dark, so their house was quarantined and they were forced to move in with the Tracys (much to Dick and Tess' dismay).
B.O. and Gertie moved out soon after when B.O. won the $3,000,000 lottery, with which he bought Sunny Dell Acres II. Tracy urged B.O. to put his money in a safe place (which B.O. took to mean burying in the yard). B.O. finally decided to invest his money in an amusement park called the Land of Plenty (designed with help from Junior).
When B.O. unveiled the park on TV, his brother Goodin Plenty arrived to blackmail B.O. into letting him become his real estate agent. Goodin convinced B.O. to buy a plot of land from Oxen and Dye Cixot which had secretly been used as an illegal toxic waste dump.
The night of the park's opening, the ground split open and started an earthquake, seeping out toxic waste and destroying the Land of Plenty. Threatening his brother with a shotgun, B.O. forced Goodin to tell him where to find the previous owners of the land that B.O. had purchased. B.O. then gave his brother a head start to leave town.
B.O. located the Cixots as they were planning to flee the city. B.O. shot at the Cixots' truck, which caused a barrel of toxic waste to explode. The Cixots escaped the burning truck and B.O. menaced them with his shotgun. Tracy and Sam arrived and ordered everyone to clear the scene before a chain reaction engulfed the property. The Cixots were taken into custody.
Diet Smith offered B.O. the chance to rebuild the Land of Plenty and take responsibility for any legal grievances. B.O. gave him his permission, but said that he wouldn't be able to be a part of it. B.O. turned himself into the police the next day for the thing that Goodin held over his head, a gas station robbery that the brothers had committed in 1938. Tracy explained that the statute of limitations had long since elapsed and that B.O. would still be a free man when The Land of Plenty reopened.
B.O. was apparently not charged for his acts of trespassing, assault, or reckless endangerment against the Cixots, and his luminescence soon subsided.
B.O. Plenty's Luck[edit | edit source]
In 2002, B.O. took a job as a department store Santa and became embroiled in the plot of a gang of thieves who would commit robberies while dressed in costumes. They were led by a criminal called Chameleon. B.O. aided Dick Tracy in capturing the gang.
In 2004, B.O. inherited a dilapidated farm from his cousin Stink. He later found the murdered body of Stink's wife, Aroma, buried on the property. It was discovered to be part of a plot by neighboring farm owner Grimley Reaper.
In 2005, B.O. won another lottery and used his winnings to take a tour of Washington, DC. He became embroiled in the plot of Al Kinda and Lottie Latte. B.O. lost a large portion of his winnings, but received a commendation from the President for helping to thwart Kinda's terrorist plans.
B.O.'s Second Child[edit | edit source]
In 2011, B.O. and Gravel Gertie had a second child, which they named Attitude Plenty, after the pizza deliveryman who drove the Plentys to the hospital. Unlike when Sparkle was born, this baby boy was hideous according to Sam Catchem, Lizz and Junior.
The publicity of Attitude's birth inspired celebrity chef Flakey Biscuits to send her agent Hot Rize to deliver some giant bags of free biscuit flour to the Plentys. Unfortunately there was a mix-up and Hot Rize accidentally confused some hidden cocaine bags (from a smuggling operation that she and Flakey were involved with) for flour. This caught the attention of Dick Tracy and Sam when Gravel Gertie baked a batch of biscuits for them that turned out to be laced with cocaine. Gertie and B.O. were not charged.
B.O. had taken Attitude to visit his side of family, and was therefore not present when Measles came to Sunny Dell Acres seeking revenge on Gertie.
Some time later, it was announced that a feature film based on the story of Breathless Mahoney would be filmed in Dick Tracy's city. B.O. learned of this and became concerned, as he believed that he had successfully kept the full extent of his involvement with Breathless a secret from his wife and children. Gertie eventually learned about the film production and she assured B.O. that she and their children were not bothered by his past.
Later, B.O. Plenty fought and subdued the fugitive Tiger Lilly when Lilly attempted to steal his truck.
Appearances in Other Media[edit | edit source]
1950s Live-Action TV Series[edit | edit source]
B.O. Plenty appeared as a character in two episodes of the 1950s live-action television series starring Ralph Byrd. He was played by actor Si Jenks.
B.O. was depicted in a very similar fashion to the comic strip, though his beard was white/grey rather than black.
Archie's TV Funnies[edit | edit source]
B.O. Plenty was a character in the "Dick Tracy" segments of the 1971 animated television series Archie's TV Funnies, produced by Filmation Associates. B.O.'s appearance closely resembled his depiction in the comic strip. He was portrayed as Gravel Gertie's husband, and a friend of Tracy's who occasionally became involved in Tracy's investigations.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- At the time of B.O.'s escape from jail in 1945, the local Sheriff remarked B.O. had lived on his farm for 50 years (since 1895, apparently).
- When Morin Plenty met Dick Tracy in 1957, he claimed that B.O. was 67 years old at the time, which would have put B.O.'s year of birth at approximately 1890.
- B.O. is typically characterized as a proud and often stubborn man, though his wife and daughter are softening influences on him. He is a sentimental man and is known to cry when overcome by emotion.
- B.O. and his family are prone to alternating streaks of good luck and misfortune. He has won several lotteries and contests in his life, for prizes including money and vacations. However, these prizes usually led to adventure and peril for the Plentys.
- B.O. (and by extension, his family) is a well-known individual within the world of Dick Tracy. His marriage and the birth of his first child were national news stories. He is known for his connection to Dick Tracy and his involvement with various criminals, but he is not generally considered to be a criminal himself. Real world analogues may include Bernhard Goetz, Kato Kaelin, or Richard Jewel.
- B.O. Plenty seems to have been a recluse on his farm for an extended period of time before meeting Dick Tracy, much like his future wife Gravel Gertie had been isolated at her gravel pit.
- B.O. and Gertie are 2 of the major recurring characters in the "Dick Tracy" comic strip not to appear in the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film. They were both supporting characters in the second original follow-up novel Dick Tracy Meets His Match.
- In the Midnite Mirror series, the character based on B.O. is called Samuel Theodore (S.T.) Ench.