Toby Patton née Townley was a attractive young blonde woman who was first seen working at Mary Steele's lunch counter restaurant. She became involved in several criminal acts that resulted in her being briefly incarcerated and then temporarily blinded. She recovered and left the city. Years later, she was reunited with Pat Patton and the two were married.
Toby's Gambling Scheme Edit
Toby was hired by Mary Steele to be the cashier at The Coffee Pot. Toby was a friendly, high-spirited young woman. Part of her duties involved making a daily bank deposits of the restaurant's profits. Unbeknownst to Mary, Toby was taking the cash to a horse race track where she and her boyfriend Mark Masters would place bets. Mark was a teller at Mary's bank, which enabled him to create false deposit receipts to cover their tracks. Mark received good tips on the races, and he and Toby were always able to replace Mary's money and keep the winnings for themselves. Toby bought several expensive outfits, which made Dick Tracy suspicious.
Toby and Mark lost $5,000 on a race and Mark became desperate. He tried to rob his bookie, Joe, and shot the man in the process (June 16th, 1935). Toby was a witness to the crime, and when she discovered that Joe was still breathing she took him to a hospital. Panicked, Toby fled to her friend Tess Trueheart's home, where Dick Tracy found her and took her into custody for questioning.
The Kidnapping PlotEditJoe recovered and arranged the murder of Mark. Tracy investigated the killing, along with Joe's various gambling activities in the city. Joe arranged for the kidnapping of Tess Trueheart in an attempt to stop Tracy. Tracy received a ransom note, and decided to use Toby as an intermediary to secure Tess' release. Tracy arranged for Toby be released from her holding cell, and sent her to meet with Joe.
Toby arrived at Joe's hideout, located at a horse farm. Toby was determined to avenge Mark's death and demonstrate that she was on the side of the law. When Joe refused to release Tess to Toby, Toby pulled a gun on Joe and his associate Blake. A struggle ensued, during which a gasoline lamp was knocked over. The barn caught fire and Joe was killed in the blaze (July 31st, 1935). Tess, Toby and Blake all escaped, and Toby and Blake were taken into custody.
Framed for MurderEditToby and Blake were held in an examination room at police headquarters, with a uniformed officer named Donovan watching over them. Blake used a small pen-gun that he had concealed in his shoe to shoot Donovan, then planted the gun on Toby, framing her for the murder (August 4th, 1935). Donovan went into a coma, and in the absence of any other witness, Toby was charged with the crime. Donovan died shortly thereafter without waking long enough to reveal the truth, and Toby was sent to prison for murder.
Tracy refused to believe that Toby was guilty, and worked to prove her innocence. While in prison, Toby befriended Maybelle, another inmate. Toby learned of an impending prison riot, but was unable to convince her fellow inmates not to proceed. While this was happening, Tracy gathered evidence (including a lie detector test) to prove that Blake had shot Donovan. When presented with the evidence, Blake confessed (September 1st, 1935).
Released from PrisonEditTracy was on his way to the women's prison to release Toby when the riot broke out. Toby was trapped in a small room when the police threw in tear gas bombs to suppress the violence. She was rescued, but was suffering from blindness (September 15th, 1935). It was unclear if the condition was permanent. In spite of her misfortune, Toby was grateful to be free.
Mary forgave Toby for her actions and allowed her to come back to work at The Coffee Pot. Mary also let Toby come to live with her, as Toby did not want to go to her own family. Junior Tracy trained his dog Oscar to work as a seeing eye dog for Toby, and the young woman looked forward to starting a new chapter in her life.
While Dick Tracy was engaged in fighting the Cut Famon gang, Toby began to see an eye specialist to determine if her vision could be restored. This was at the behest of Pat Patton, who had developed an attraction to Toby. At around the same time that Tracy was recovering from injuries he had received during the Famon case, Toby regained her eyesight (February 28th, 1936). Shortly thereafter, she left the city and was not seen for some time.
The Baby in the SuitcaseEditBy the time Toby next encountered Dick Tracy, she had married the wealthy Kress Kroywen and given birth to a son. Kress' father was an unlicensed physician, and wanted to use their child as a test subject for his vaccine against infant sleeping sickness. Toby, fearing for her child's safety, smuggled it away inside a suitcase.
Tody and the suitcase were separated, and the suitcase was discovered by Dick Tracy. The abandoned baby became a sensational newspaper story, and Toby was able to track her son Tracy's city. Hiding her face behind a veil, she contacted Tess (who had temporary custody of the child), and asked her to take care of the baby until her troubles could be resolved (January 28th, 1940).
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Kroywen kidnapped his grandson and injected him with the sleeping virus, planning to test his serum. Tracy had tracked Kroywen to his secret laboratory and two men struggled. The elderly Kroywen's heart failed and he died. After a dangerous experimental treatment, the baby recovered (March 4th, 1940) and was reunited with his parents. A grateful Toby thanked Tracy and left the city with her family.
Reunited with Pat PattonEditMany years later, Pat Patton (who had been promoted to Chief of Police) took a vacation cruise and was delighted to discover that Toby was also on board the ship (and single). The pair developed a romantic relationship and decided to get married (August 21, 1982). They returned to the city and announced their marriage to their friends and families. No mention was made of Toby's previous marriage and child. Pat bought a house in the same neighborhood as Junior Tracy and agreed to take custody of his two recently orphaned nephews Peter and Packard. Pat was very happy to have a new family and home life, but Toby was displeased by the young men's poor manners and slovenly habits.
Pat announced his intention to retire and write his memoir. Shortly after this, he was shot and seriously injured by an unknown assailant. When Interim Chief Climer refused to allow Dick Tracy to investigate the case, Tracy quit the police force and formed a private detective agency. His first client was Toby, who hired him to find Pat's assailant.
Pat recovered, and Climer was revealed to be the attempted murderer. Pat decided not to retire, and Tracy eventually re-joined the force. Shortly thereafter, Peter and Packard were found to be part of the car theft ring operated by Lofty, and the two young men were sent to jail. Pat severed ties with them, and he and Toby settled down to enjoy their domestic life together.
Toby remains married to Pat, and has been seen by his side at various holiday celebrations and other events.
Appearances in Other Media Edit
1990 Feature Film ContinuityEdit
Toby was not a character in the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film. She was a character in the follow-up novel Dick Tracy Goes to War written by Max Allan Collins. In the novel, Toby's depiction was very similar to her situation in the comic strip during the 1930s. She was shown to be the cashier at Mary Steele's lunch counter restaurant, and she had a slightly flirtatious relationship with Pat Patton.
- Toby's maiden name has sometimes been spelt as "Townly", but "Townley" appeared in the strip first.
- Toby's name and appearance were apparently inspired by the actress Toby Wing
- It's never been revealed what happened to Toby's first husband, Kress Kroywen, or to their son. Presumably, Toby was either widowed or divorced at the time she remarried to Pat.
- Despite being married to a regular character, Toby has rarely been seen since Pat's nephews went to jail. She was seen among those invited to Sam Catchem's home for his family Hanukkah celebration in December 2011. She did not re-appear until September 2016 when she was contacted by Pat's criminal nephew Pack as part of a plot by Rikki Mortis to kill Pat.