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The confidence trickster known as "Bubbles" was a tall, dignified, wide-bodied man with wavy black hair. He had the habit of chewing bubble gum.

Bubbles and his confederates had targeted the wealthy widow Mrs. Richards, convincing her to give them two million dollars to start a university in her late husband's name. This scheme took a significant amount of time to bear results, and Bubbles engaged in some smaller, shorter con jobs in the meantime.

Bubbles would search the newspaper obituary section and find widows of recently deceased men. He would then contact the women and claim to be an associate of their late husband. He would tell the widows that their husbands had purchased bonds for them, but one final payment was required for the bonds to mature. The widows would pay Bubbles, who then disappeared with their money.

Tracy and Tess' Trap[]

One of these widows contacted Dick Tracy, who enlisted Tess in a plan to trap Bubbles. Tess posed as a recently widowed woman and moved into Sam Catchem's apartment in the city under an assumed name. Tracy then placed an obituary in the local newspaper, hoping that Bubbles would see it.

Bubbles saw the obituary and went to Sam's apartment building to make contact with the "widow". However, the elevator operator in Sam's building did not recognize the false name that Bubbles gave and revealed that the detective lived the apartment that Bubbles was planning to visit. Bubbles changed his plan and made a threatening phone call to Tess from the building's lobby.

By coincidence, Bubbles then got into a taxi cab with Sam, who was leaving his stakeout of the building. Later, Sam realized that he had shared the cab with their suspect, and he and Tracy tracked down the cab driver to get more information. The cab driver told the detectives that he had dropped Bubbles at Mrs. Richards' home.

The Siege of Mrs. Richards' House[]

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Tracy and Sam placed Mrs. Richards' house under surveillance. When Bubbles and his confederates arrived to collect the final payment from Mrs. Richards, they realized that the house was surrounded by police. Bubbles lost his composure and demanded that Mrs. Richards tell him if there was any other means of leaving the house. She revealed that there was a secret underground passage to her horse stable, which she used as a storage area so it was filled with junk.

Bubbles and his men planned to make their escape, but Mrs. Richards cried out in terror. This alerted the police, who started to storm the house. Mrs. Richards fainted from the stress, and Bubbles carried her unconscious body believing that she would be a valuable hostage. Bubbles and his men fired at the approaching police officers as they fled into the cramped tunnel.

As Bubbles and his men made their way through the tunnel, the ceiling began to collapse in on them. Bubbles was separated from his confederates one by one, and he eventually abandoned Mrs. Richards as well. Trapped in the collapsing tunnel, Bubbles panicked. He saw a beam of light at the other end of the tunnel and pushed the rubble aside to make his way out. He was met by Dick Tracy and the police and taken into custody.

Mrs. Richards revived, so Bubbles did not face a murder charge. He was charged with several counts of fraud, and his victims' money was recovered.

Notes[]

  • BubblesEnd
    Bubbles appeared in Dell Comics' Dick Tracy Monthly #24 (cover date December, 1949). This was the final issue to feature an original full-length story produced for specifically for the comics. The writer and artist(s) were not credited.
  • Bubbles identified himself to Mrs. Richards as "Dr. Wilson" and to another victim as "Sam Kaiser". It is not clear if either of these were his real name.
  • The final page of this story contains a notarized statement of the ownership and staff of the Dell Comics unit.
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