The killer known as The Blank (sometimes referred to as "The Man Without a Face") was a criminal named Frank Redrum ("Murder" spelt backwards). He disguised his features by covering them with a piece of semi-opaque cheesecloth. This gave him the appearance of having no face.
A known killer who escaped from the State prison in 1927 while serving a life sentence, the Blank was seeking revenge on his former criminal cohorts. The men had all been members of the Redrum Slot Machine Gang of 1926. The gang had turned on Redrum and cut him out of their schemes, thinking that he wasn't good enough for them. Redrum adopted the identity of "The Blank" and vowed revenge.
After a long dormancy period, the Blank put his revenge scheme into action. He managed to kill four of his former allies (though not all at once), and left a fifth tied up in front of the police station.The Blank seemed to have a certain moral code, as he refused to harm Junior Tracy when the boy got caught up in one of his revenge plots. However, he was willing to kill Dick Tracy and Pat Patton when he found them trying to protect Stud Bronzen, the last of his intended victims.
The Blank was eventually captured by Dick Tracy. He was unmasked and his identity was confirmed. Redrum's face had been disfigured during his escape from prison, which partially allowed his mask to lie flat over his features. Though he survived his encounter with the Blank, Bronzen was later killed in a gunfight with Dick Tracy.
Legacy of the BlankEdit
Many years later, Dick Tracy's encounter with the Blank would be adapted into a play as part of a revenge plot by the Blank's grandson Johnny Nothing and the actress/director Anja Nue. It was not stated if the Blank was still alive, only that he had "disappeared". The Blank's fate and current status are unknown.
Appearances In Other MediaEdit
Movie ContinuityEditIn the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film, the Blank was a disguise used by Breathless Mahoney. She altered her voice as "The Blank" to be raspy and hoarse.
She used the piano player 88 Keyes as her agent. She adopted the disguise in an attempt to profit off of (and hurt) Big Boy by framing Dick Tracy. She also bore a grudge against Tracy for rejecting her advances. She eventually aided Tracy by informing the police where the kidnapped Tess Trueheart could be found and helping Tracy in his final showdown with Big Boy.
Tie-In Video Game Edit
- Nintendo Entertainment System- The Blank appears in Dick Tracy's mug shot files, where is identified as a "faceless felon". Whilst the Blank can be encountered in the boiler room, they're a mere red herring without any relation to Tracy's cases. Breathless Mahoney also appears in the game and is treated as a different character.
- The Blank was one of the first "grotesques" to appear in the strip, foretelling the coming of more flamboyant and gruesome villains.
- When The Blank confronted his first victims - Neely and Dirks - they recognized him and called him by his alias. This would indicate that Redrum had used the Blank identity in the past. The exact timeline of when Redrum was disfigured and adopted the Blank identity is unclear.
- There is no established connection between The Blank and the criminal called No Face.
- Marvel Comics also has a character called "The Blank". He is a low-level criminal who has faced Spider-Man and the West Coast Avengers.
- Due to the surprise nature of the Blank's identity, the action figure produced by Playmates Toys for the 1990 movie saw very limited release. Contrary to some rumors, it does actually exist, with both English-only and bilingual packaging. It features a removable mask and hat with a likeness of Breathless Mahoney (as played by Madonna) underneath, and comes with a briefcase and a pistol.
- The film's novelization established Frank Redrum as a separate character, an Alcatraz inmate. The police suspect Redrum of being the Blank, but Chief Brandon discovered that Redrum had died in an escape attempt.
- In order to preserve the mystery aspect of the Blank's identity in the film, only the final edition of Max Allan Collins' novelization (released after the film was in theaters) revealed that Breathless was the Blank. Previous editions stopped short of revealing the Blank's identity. This made it one of the few novels in the history of crime fiction in which the question of "whodunit" is left unanswered (making the final version highly collectible).
- When finally unmasked, Redrum's disfigured face resembled that of the titular character from the 1925 silent film version of Gaston Leroux's novel, The Phantom of the Opera, as portrayed by Lon Chaney.
- A later Rogues' Gallery entry indicated that Redrum had been returned to the State Prision to finish out his life sentence.