The criminal known as Shaky (real name unrevealed) was a con-man who was a master of his craft. He had light deep-set eyes, a high forehead, and short dark hair that he wore slicked down and parted in the center. He occasionally wore a hat.
Shaky's most prominent characteristic was his habit of shaking-for which he had to take a prescription nerve tonic. Despite this, he was often shown performing feats of dexterity, including sharp-shooting, threading a needle, and building a ship in a bottle.
The Badger GameEdit
In addition to the other confidence schemes that his gang conducted, Shaky had held the young woman Snowflake Falls captive by drugging her so he could use her to extort money from the wealthy Nat Banks. She was found by Dick Tracy instead. Shaky was able to abduct Snowflake from where she was being held and questioned by the police.
As Shaky was making his getaway, Junior Tracy recognized Snowflake, and was able to ride along with the fleeing gang on their car's rear bumper. Junior managed to attract Dick Tracy's attention by writing "Snowflake" in the dirt covering the gang's car.
Shaky dodged Tracy's pursuit with the help of a hidden garage with an electric door. Snowflake managed to drug Shaky and escape. She was then given the chance to go into show business thanks to Dick Tracy's friend Vitamin Flintheart. Shaky later tricked a drunken Flintheart into bringing Snowflake to a deserted café where Shaky bludgeoned her, then tossed her into a freezing body of water and leaving her for dead. Snowflake was rescued and eventually recovered.
As Tracy closed in on Shaky, most of his gang were killed in a fire and only Shaky escaped (killing a fireman named O'Brien in the process). Shaky was chased to the waterfront, where he hid in a hole under the pier. The hole was closed by breakers that quickly froze, sealing Shaky within. Shaky died from suffocation.
Months later in April 1945, Shaky's decomposed corpse was found by a young girl named Breathless Mahoney, who was later revealed to be Shaky's step-daughter. Elia Mahoney, Shaky's former wife and Breathless' mother, had guessed the probable location of Shaky's body and sent her daughter to "discover" the remains. This enabled Elia to obtain the keys to Shaky's strong box.
This resulted in an extended escapade about who would claim the dead criminal's money which ultimately involved Breathless, Elia, B.O. Plenty, and Shaky's friend, Itchy. The money was finally burned up in a car that Itchy had stolen.Many years later, Shaky's niece Quiver Trembly (a domestic terrorist of indistinct politics) would also encounter Dick Tracy.
It was later revealed that Shaky's cousin Edgar Trembly had a son who shared Shaky's shaking condition. The boy became known as "Little Shaky" and then "Shaky". It was not made clear what Edgar and his family's relationship to Quiver and her brother was.
The Xylon PlotEditIn 1986, reporter Wendy Wichel questioned Dick Tracy about his involvement in the Xylon Affair. Tracy revealed that the first time he met Shaky was when the con man had been hired by a Nazi spy code-named Boche to retrieve the secret formula for the Xylon explosive created by Professor Roloc Bard.
Shaky posed as a man named Mr. Pappy, who represented the organization "Pacifists for Peace". Shaky discouraged the Professor from turning over his formula to the FBI. After it was revealed that Bard had already done so, Shaky suggested that if the United States' enemies also had the bomb, neither side would be inclined to use it. Bard wrote down the formula and gave it to Shaky. As Shaky left the Professor's rooming house, Tracy immediately recognized him and Tracy and Pat Patton followed Shaky while FBI Agent Jim Trailer contacted Bard.
Trailer was able to confirmed that Shaky was now in possession of the formula. Shaky hid the notes with the formula among his cigarette papers and fled, seeing that Tracy was pursuing him. Shaky was captured and held for questioning.
At headquarters, Pat Patton interrogated Shaky and let him smoke three cigarettes, thinking it might calm his shakes. Shaky used the note with the formula on it as cigarette paper and smoked it, thus destroying the evidence against him. Since the formula could not be found on Shaky's person, he could not be held as a suspect.
Shaky informed Boche that he had had to destroy the formula, and Boche severed his ties with Shaky. Shaky then left town for a while, afraid that the Boche would kill him for his failure. This ended Shaky's involvement in the Xylon caper.
Years later, Shaky was enshrined along with Flattop Jones and Pruneface by their relatives when they hid on the 2nd replica of the Santa Maria. These relative were also involved in plan to use Xylon as an explosive.
Appearances in Other MediaEdit
Dick Tracy in B FlatEdit
Shaky was a character in the humorous radio play Dick Tracy in B Flat, produced for Armed Forces Radio in February of 1945. He was played by Frank Sinatra.
1950s Live Action TV SeriesEditShaky appeared on the 1950s live action Dick Tracy TV series starring Ralph Byrd. He was played by Dabbs Greer.
Shaky had been a member of a gang run by Blowtop (who was now deceased) and had been sent to jail. Upon his release, Shaky (and his associate Buck) returned to the gang's old hideout seeking clues to the whereabouts of some hidden loot. His actions attracted the attention of Dick Tracy and Shaky was eventually captured.
Shaky had his characteristic shaking hands, but it was not as prominently featured as in the comic strip.
Archie's TV FunniesEditIn the 1971 Archie's TV Funnies animated series, Shaky was shown as a criminal who used abandoned subway tunnels as a hideout. He stole plans for a futuristic flying vehicle, then kidnapped Tess and Moon Maid, holding them hostage in an outdated subway car. They escaped in the car, but Shaky disabled the brakes. Tracy was able to stop the runaway car and traced Shaky back to his hideout. When confronted by Tracy, Shaky's shaking prevented him from operating his vehicle's controls properly, causing him to crash and be arrested.
He was depicted as only shaking in the presence of Dick Tracy, or at the mention of Dick Tracy's name.
Movie ContinuityEditShaky does not appear as a character in the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film or in the comic book tie-in. He is a character in the follow-up novel Dick Tracy Goes to War written by Max Allan Collins.
In the novel, Shaky was a confidence trickster who posed as a military general to collect money for the war effort. He was caught and arrested by Tracy, but was later freed. Shaky joined the subversive organization being operated by Mrs. Pruneface, along with B-B Eyes and the Mole. He trained various other criminals in how to run confidence scams that will affect negatively affect Americans' morale and raise money for the fifth-columnists. Shaky was not portrayed as sympathetic to the Nazi cause, simply motivated by self-interest.
Shaky was instructed to again pose as a general and gain access to a military aircraft factory operated by Diet Smith. There, Shaky's assignment was to kidnap the professor Roloc Bard and flee the premises before a bomb goes off, destroying the plant. Shaky was successful in abducting the professor, but his escape was cut off by Dick Tracy. Fearing that he will be caught in the explosion, Shaky revealed his part in the plot. The bomb was diffused and Shaky was taken into police custody.
- At the time the comic was written, the electric garage door opener that Shaky used to escape Dick Tracy was cutting-edge technology and not widely in use.
- Shaky's real/full name has not been revealed. It is speculated that his last name is Trembly, the same as his niece Quiver. In the Midnite Mirror series, Shaky was the Mayor of the city, identified as Mayor Trembly. This has not been confirmed as his name in the mainstream continuity.
- Shaky used the name "Pappy" on several occasions, including in Dick Tracy Goes to War in which he posed as a "General Pappy". It is assumed to be an alias.
- Elia Mahoney later told Breathless that Elia and Shaky had been introduced by Shaky's sister. It is not clear if this sister is the mother of Quiver.
- Shaky and Elia were married while Breathless was away at school. As a result, Shaky and Breathless never met.
- Elia was identified by police as Shaky's fourth wife.
- In the 80th Anniversary Flashback storyline, Shaky was shown conspiring with Itchy about a new confidence scheme.
- Prof. DeRita, a member of the Rogues' Gallery Cosplay Club dressed as Shaky for their Dick Tracy-themed event, as seen in a 2018 Minit Mystery.
- When Shaky II introduced himself to Dick Tracy, Tracy claimed that he had never met Shaky. Writer Mike Curtis acknowledged on the Dick Tracy Fan Club Facebook page that he had forgotten about Tracy's encounter with Shaky during the Wartime Memories storyline.
- Other criminals with a habit of shaking (who were not related to Shaky) included T.V. Wiggles and Bernard Breakdown.