Pat claimed to have lived in Peoria at some point in his youth, and mentioned an attempt to run away from home when he was 12 years old. Before becoming a policeman, he had been a steel worker/welder. While still a uniform patrolman, he carried a picture of the fugitive Tommy McConny for ten years. Patton was then present at the exposure of McConny after 40 years (January 7th, 1962).
In the early days of his career as a plainclothes officer, Pat was not especially adept, often making blunders and saying "I'm not cut out for this kind of work". However, he eventually grew into his profession to become a skilled and courageous police detective. As such, he was eventually promoted to Chief of Police after the resignation of Chief Brandon.
- 1 Early Adventures
- 2 Promotion to Chief
- 3 Pat Patton's New Family
- 4 Who Shot Pat Patton?
- 5 Retirement and Return
- 6 Appearances in Other Media
- 7 Notes
In his first appearance, he was nearly shot to death when Tracy, Officer Mulligan, and some other detectives raided Big Boy's apartment. He looked through the keyhole in Big Boy's door and was shot by multiple rounds. He later made a full recovery.
The young pickpocket known as "The Kid" entered Tracy and Pat's lives when he stole Pat's pocket watch. The kid was taken in and named himself Dick Tracy Junior. Pat gave him a toy gun.
During the case of Toby Townley and Bookie Joe, Pat developed a strong affection for Toby. He later assisted her when she underwent treatments to restore her eyesight. However, Toby eventually married another man and left Pat's life for some time.
When Tracy was severely injured during a battle with the Cut Famon gang, Pat provided a life-saving blood transfusion. Pat saved Tracy's life on other occasions, including when Pat shot a member of Larceny Lu's gang as he tried to throw a bomb at Tracy (causing the bomb to fall into a pickle barrel), and when Pat shot Flattop through the throat which caused the killer to miss his shot at Tracy. Pat also saved Tracy from Heels Beals death trap.
On one occasion Pat both saved and almost killed Dick Tracy at the same time. During the case of The Blank, Pat cut the power wires operating the diving chamber in which Tracy was nearly crushed to death by compressed air. Pat was then about to open the chamber door (which would have killed Tracy by decompression sickness, also known as "the bends") until he remembered to slowly reduce the air pressure first.
In 1940, Pat led a raid on a bookmaker's hideout which resulted in "Diamond Tooth" Rinkles biting Pat on the hand. Rinkles' diamond teeth left a lifelong scar that later helped Pat identify Rinkles' skull in 1973.
In World War II Pat was an aide to Dick Tracy; possibly as a former member of the US Navy Tracy was given the rank of Lt in Naval Intelligence, however Pat was apparently a civilian attached to Naval Intelligence as he was given no rank.
Pat suffered many indignities during his early career, including: having his pocket watch taken by Junior Tracy; mistaking a musician for a contract killer and breaking up the man's valuable Stradivarius violin (and apparently getting sued for $10,000); having his pocket picked of his gun by Alec Penn when Penn tried to escape jail by faking a suicide; having his gun taken by Boris Arson during a jailbreak; going into Cutie Diamond's hideout without thinking and nearly being clawed by vicious wildcats; having to be reminded by Tracy to put a pair of handcuffs on the unconscious body of The Blank; jumping to the wrong conclusion that Rudy Seton shot Fred Mason; being thrown through a plate glass window by Mamma; having his pocket picked of his gun and wallet by The Summer Sisters; mistakenly giving Flattop's gun to Vitamin Flintheart who used it to accidentally wound a bartender.
Promotion to Chief
In 1948, a crime boss named Big Frost killed the son of Diet Smith, Brilliant. Chief Brandon blamed himself for the death of the young genius and retired in shame. Tracy was next in line to become the Chief of Police, but he turned it down and recommended Pat for it. Pat's first move as Chief was to rescue Big Frost's daughter Flossie from her father's deadly wrath.
Pat's replacement was someone who Pat knew from his childhood, schoolmate Sam Catchem. When Sam was abducted in his first case, Pat and Tracy frantically searched for their comrade, finding him under a viaduct thanks to the help of Junior Tracy and his Crimestoppers group.
Chief Patton had to make many a difficult decision in his tenure, including an instance where he had to suspend Tracy, pending an investigation of his assets due to an accusation of corruption. There was also the time when it was discovered that Tracy was targeted with a $1 million open contract on his life, which was later was found to be posted by the dying Big Boy. When Tracy brazenly proposed to simply keep to his usual duties under that threat, Chief Patton refused to expose any of his officers to the potential danger of being collateral targets of other murder attempts on Tracy and ordered Tracy suspended until that case was solved. Tracy furiously protested against this while Chief Patton stubbornly pulled rank on the matter. It took Catchem to break up the heated argument with the proposal to have Tracy simply confined to administrative duty at work and post a guard at his home while Catchem and Det. Lizz Worthington Grove investigated.
Patton founded the Organized Crime Unit, separate from the Major Crimes Unit, consisting of many of the Police Department's best officers. This unit was initially plagued by corruption, much to Patton's consternation upon discovery, but it was soon reformed and was able to operate effectively.
Pat Patton's New Family
During the Splitscreen case, Pat took a pleasure cruise, where he re-connected with and married Toby Townley, whom he had known many years previously. After he returned from the cruise with his new bride, he announced that he intended to retire in a year and wanted Tracy to take his place.
Pat had recently taken in his game-obsessed delinquent nephews Packard and Peter Patton after his brother's death, hoping to start a family in spite of his new wife's protests. The 19-year old boys were sloppy and ill-mannered, but Pat wanted to believe the best of them.
Who Shot Pat Patton?
Pat Patton was in the process of writing his memoirs, which contained revelations that implicated several city officials of being corrupt. Patton went missing for a short time, and was later found to have been shot. Pat was hospitalized and put into a coma.There were several suspects in the shooting, including former police officer Johnny Adonis and Patton's ghost writer Kasper Hackett. Tract insisted on investigating Patton's shooting, though Interim Chief Climer refused to grant Tracy permission. This prompted Tracy to resign from the police force and start his own detective agency with Toby Patton as his first client.
The assailant turned out to be Climer himself, who had learned that Patton intended to reveal Climer's corruption in the book. Tracy discovered Climer's plot and Climer was later accidentally shot and killed by a rookie at a Hogan's Alley Shooting range, while Climer himself was making an attempt Tracy's life. While Pat was recovering, Sam was made temporary Chief of Police.
Later, Pat severed ties his nephews after it was revealed that they were arrested for their involvement with a car-theft ring. Pat agreed to pay for the young men's legal representation, but told them they were no longer welcome to live with him and his wife.
Retirement and Return
In 2007, Patton was diagnosed with cancer, prompting him to retire. He promoted Lizz to be his replacement as Chief of Police. Later, his cancer went into remission and Patton returned to his position as Chief (March 15, 2011) while Lizz happily rejoined the Major Crimes Unit.
In 2011, former Chief Brandon was found shot in his lawn and garden store. Pat removed himself and Tracy from the investigation, believing that they would be too emotionally invested and therefore more inclined to miss clues and act irrationally. The shooter was later discovered to be Big Frost, seeking a final revenge on Brandon.
Chief Patton was shot in the line of duty while attempting to apprehend the corrupt police officer Lt. Teevo. He was shown to have recovered.
Later, Pat was targeted by Rikki Mortis, after the purported death of her partner Abner Kadaver. Rikki hoped to hurt Dick Tracy by killing someone close to him. With the help of Pat's criminal nephew Pack, Rikki was able to lure Pat to a park in the city where she attacked him with her specially modified vehicle known as the Vampire Car.
Appearances in Other Media
1940s Feature Film Continuity
Pat Patton was a character in the 4 "Dick Tracy" feature films produced during the 1940s starring Morgan Conway and (later) Ralph Byrd. In all 4 films, he was played by Lyle Latell. He was depicted as one of Tracy's fellow plainclothesmen. Much like in the strip, he was often used as comic relief, experiencing bad luck and embarrassing setbacks.
Pat was a supporting character in the original stories produced for Dell Comics' Dick Tracy Monthly. In issue #19, Pat appears as Tracy's partner in the plainclothes division, and they investigate the case of Mumps. In subsequent issues, Pat has been promoted to Chief of Police and Sam Catchem appears as Tracy's partner.
1950s Live-Action TV Series
Pat Patton appeared in four episodes of the 1950s live-action Dick Tracy TV series starring Ralph Byrd. He was played by Pierre Watkin.
Pat Patton appeared in the opening credits of the pilot for the unproduced 1960s Dick Tracy live-action TV series. He was played by Ken Mayer.
Archie's TV Funnies
Pat Patton was a character in the "Dick Tracy" segments of the 1971 animated television series Archie's TV Funnies, produced by Filmation Associates. Pat's appearance closely resembled his depiction in the comic strip. He was portrayed as the Chief of Police, with a slight Irish accent in his voice.
1990 Movie Continuity
Pat was a supporting character in the 1990 feature film Dick Tracy. He was played by actor James Keane.
Pat was shown as being one of Tracy's partners, along with Sam Catchem, under the command of Chief Brandon. Pat aids Tracy in his escape from Big Boy's locked room by catapulting Tracy through a skylight. How Pat got out from the attic room is a mystery, as he is later heard contacting Tracy through the wrist radio in the film's final scene.
Pat appeared as a supporting character in the 2 original follow-up novels written by Max Allan Collins. In Dick Tracy Goes to War, he was shown to have a flirtatious relationship with Toby Townley, an employee at Mary Steele's restaurant.
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive
Pat Patton appeared in the comic book miniseries Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive published by IDW. In the series, Pat was one of the few non-corrupt members of the city police force. He was recruited in Brilliant Smith's team of operatives that aided Dick Tracy.
In some printings, Pat's hair appears orange, while it is yellow in other editions.
Dick Tracy: Forever
In issue #3, Pat was shown supervising the police briefing regarding the sting operation against the smugglers of illegal medical devices in the city.
Issue #4 was set in the future. Pat was depicted as a robotic entity.
- Pat Patton was featured on promotional art for the cover of IDW's The Complete Dick Tracy Vol. 4. Some versions of the book feature an image of the members of the Purple Cross Gang instead. It is not known how many copies of the book were produced with the image of Pat, if any.
- A character called "Detective Pat" appeared in a mini-strip drawn by Chester Gould before Pat Patton's formal introduction as Tracy's partner. However, he did not resemble Pat Patton as he was later drawn.
- During the 1960s and 70s, Pat was often depicted as crusty and irascible. This portrayal has softened in subsequent years.
- Pat was occasionally shown smoking cigars (which may have contributed to his cancer, though this was not explicitly stated). He seems to have abandoned this habit later in life.
- During the case of Little Boy Beard, Pat stated that he had an uncle named Beardsley.
- In one strip in 1974, Pat referred to his wife. He had never been identified as married before, and this unseen wife was never seen or referred to again.
- In a strip from 2013, Pat stated that he was Tracy's partner "for a year". Writer Mike Curtis later announced (via Facebook and Yahoo Groups) that this was a typo, and that it should have been "for years".