Heels Beals was an especially small man with a criminal past. He had a record as a confidence trickster, embezzler and forger. He had escaped from jail on more than occasion by slipping between the bars of his cell. Beals also had some skill with chemistry.
Heels Beals had light-colored hair that he wore short and slicked down. He typically wore a boater-style hat and a large necktie. He often smoked cigars.
The Object of Acres O'Riley's Affections[edit | edit source]
When Heels Beals learned that Acres O'Riley had become the topic of a popular news story in Dick Tracy's city, he arrived to exploit her newfound fame. Beals and O'Riley had been romantically involved some time previously, and O'Riley retained much of her affection for Beals.
Beals arranged for O'Riley to be employed as an attraction at a drive-in movie theater, with the understanding that he would manager her finances. Beals took most of O'Riley's pay, giving her only a small percentage. Dick Tracy tried to convince O'Riley that she was being taken advantage of, but Beals had treated O'Riley's pay records with a special chemical that caused them to dissolve when touched, thus destroying the evidence against him.
The Fan Blade Deathtrap[edit | edit source]
Heels Beals became wary of Tracy's attention and attempted to kill the detective. He was able to drug Tracy and set up a sharpened table fan blade that was arranged to cut the unconscious detective's jugular vein. Beals fled with Acres, leaving Tracy in this death-trap. When Acres learned of Beals' attempt to kill Tracy, she turned against him.
Beals crashed the car that the couple was driving in and ran off. He hid inside a large papier mache bottle that was part of an advertisment for Sparkle Plenty Cola, unaware that the bottle was about to be installed on a high billboard. Beals spent several days trapped in bottle, crying for help. He suffered starvation, dehydration and heat exhaustion before being rescued and taken into custody (Sept 12, 1948) where he received medical attention.
Acres O'Riley severed her connection with him and returned to her taxi driving job.
Appearances in Other Media[edit | edit source]
1950s Live-Action TV Series[edit | edit source]
Heels Beals was a character in the 1950s Live-Action Dick Tracy television series starring Ralph Byrd. He was played by Billy Benedict.
In the episode, Beals was working out of a furniture refinishing shop owned by Miss Varnish. He and his associate Hefty would use their job of delivering furniture to Varnish's wealthy clients as a way of gaining access to their homes to rob them. After killing the wealthy Mr. Greenbax, Beals was eventually discovered and captured by Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem with the help of Miss Varnish.
He was depicted a small man, but not significantly shorter than other adults. He wore elevator shoes with hollow heels in which he would hide stolen jewels and other valuables.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- It was not explicitly stated in the strip whether Heels Beals survived his ordeal in the soda bottle or not. On September 15th, 1948 he was shown to be in a hospital bed and handcuffed.
- It is unknown if "Heels" was Beals' given name or possibly an alias.
- The dynamic of Heels Beals and Acres O'Riley duplicated the relationship depicted earlier in the strip between Jerome Trohs and Mamma.
- Much like Jerome Trohs, Beals height was depicted inconsistently, though he was generally shown to be as tall as the waist/mid-section of an adult man.
- Heels' name is a play on the well-known expression of amazement: “Hell's Bells!”.