Monday, May 13th, 2013
Is there a Moon Maid in YOUR town?
posted by Dean Mullaney
In the summer of 1964 the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate launched what turned out to be its last major Dick Tracy promotion—the Miss Moon Maid Contest. Chester Gould introduced the mysterious girl from the moon as 1963 turned into 1964 and it caused a sensation.
Even today, Tracy fans argue about the succeeding "moon period." Some love it (count me in this crowd), while others simply loathe it. Regardless of whether or not you're a fan of the stories, the period represents (in my humble opinion) perhaps the most abstractly diagrammatic drawing of Gould's career. But then again, I was nine years old at the time and loved EVERYTHING in the Sunday comics!
The Miss Moon Maid Contest invited "girls in the 18 to 25 year age bracket who think they look like Moon Maid." Each participating newspaper appointed a board of local judges to select their town's representative. Ten finalists from around the country were selected and flown to Hollywood for final judging by "a jury of Hollywood celebrities." According to the details sent by the syndicate to local papers, the grand winner would receive "a contract to appear in one or more TV shows and in a movie, a recording contract, and a thousand-dollar wardrobe." (Click on strips for a larger size.)
Thanks to our friends at TMS News and Features for sharing their file copies for this promotion. We're still several books away from reprinting this period. In the meantime, we'll do further research to determine in what TV shows and movie, if any, the winner appeared.