Re your question below:
"Did Chester Gould and/or Elliott Ness read Nick Carter? In two of his prose Dick Tracy novels, Max Allan Collins has it that Dick Tracy read Nick Carter as a boy. Did he take that from the life of Chester Gould or Elliott Ness?"
According to Gould himself, in interviews with Al Collins, the main impetus behind the creation of TRACY was the concept that came to him while he was listening to a Sherlock Holmes radio drama. Earlier a front page story of how Capone had slipped through the law again had frustrated him. During the show he thought to himself, "What if Sherlock Holmes was alive today and fighting Capone."
News stories about Ness, the real-life emobidment of the "modern-day, American Sherlock Holmes" that Gould had conceived, led Gould to include some elements of Ness into his characterization of Tracy.
According to biogrpahies of Ness, the future gangbuster was, like Gould, a Conan Doyle fan.
This, of course, does not mean that neither Ness nor Gould were unfamiliar with Nick Carter, and, in his Tracy novels, Collins, an expert on both Ness and Tracy, might have substituted Carter for Holmes. As I recall, in one of those novels (it might have been Collins's prose adaptation of the 1990 film), Pat Patton was the Conan Doyle fan.
Just to toot my own horn, you might want to check out two article on TRACY I wrote as part of my "I Like 'Em Tough" columns for MYSTERICAL-E, here:
Hope that helps.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Dec 2009 EST