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Flattop Jones

Eat lead, copper!
~ Flattop shooting at Dick Tracy

Flattop Jones Sr. is a well-known antagonist in Chester Gould's comic strip Dick Tracy. He was a killer-for-hire with a reputation for viciousness. In the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film, he is the right-hand man of crime boss Big Boy.


In the storyline in which Flattop is the featured villain, black marketeers hire him to eliminate Dick Tracy for a fee of $5,000: five times his regular rate. However, Flattop stopped short of doing the deed after abducting Tracy when he decided to extort $50,000 from his employers lest he let the detective go with their names to arrest them.

This move allowed Tracy time to send a secret distress call to a neighboring woman who was learning Morse code as a Women's Army Corps officer. The woman and her mother got the message and called the police. However, as Tracy's comrades were mounting their rescue, Flattop prepared to shoot the detective. Tracy made a last-second lunge at the killer and wrestled for his gun. In the struggle, Tracy managed to use Flattop's gun to kill Flattop's minion in the gang who was holding a submachine gun and use it to kill the others while Flattop escaped.

An extended manhunt for Flattop followed, who has his money but is aware of how distinctive his appearance is. That leads to of a young miscreant, Bud Jenkins, being bribed to hide the gangster as a boarder in his mother's house, only to have the child extort him further when he learns his identity. The boy later drowns in a lake while trying out expensive skates bought with the extortion money, which leads to Tracy to his mother's house. When the police request a photograph of Buddy, they discover that the photo album was secretly hollowed out by Flattop to hide his money. When questioned where this money came from, Ms. Jenkins guessed it had to be her roomer, which forces Flattop to flee without his money as Tracy storms his room. 

Flattop eventually kills a street vendor and steals his war bonds and hides out in a hotel. The war bonds are blown out of the window, and the person finding alerts a police officer about the incident.  Desperate to hide from a probable search, he assaults actor Vitamin Flintheart and uses his makeup supplies for a disguise. Tracy, Patton, and Flintheart continued the search and battle Flattop after almost being fooled by a child to whom Flattop had passed off his disguise in hopes of making him a decoy. Flattop is severely wounded, but successfully treated in custody.

Eventually, on May 14, 1944, Flattop is drowned attempting to flee Tracy, after getting trapped between two struts of a replica of the Santa Maria.

Flattop's last appearance in the strip was during a flashback storyline set during World War II. He abducted the scientist Professor Roloc Bard, then met with Pruneface (who had hired him) to collect his $50,000 and tell him where to find Bard. Pruneface swore that he'd kill Flattop if he ever dared to betray him again.

Some members of Flattop's family have also become criminals and sought revenge against Dick Tracy. Flattop has also appeared in Tracy's dreams, or been used as a disguise by other villains.

Flattop is generally accepted to be Dick Tracy's greatest nemesis, and his name is often invoked when making note of Tracy's most dangerous foes.

Dick Tracy (film)

In the Warren Beatty film, Flattop is the right-hand hood of Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice. He retains the comic Flattop's demeanor—suave, sneering, and impeccably dressed—but does little throughout the film besides menace Big Boy's enemies and shoot people. He is usually paired with fellow hoodlum Itchy.

Flattop is gunned down by Tracy in the Club Ritz shootout near the end of the film.

He is portrayed by William Forsythe, who also portrayed Pigiron in the 1985 action Savage Dawn, Richie Madano in the 1991 action film Out for Justice, Ronnie White in the 2007 remake of Halloween and as Buster Dawkins in the 2005 TV series Masters of Horror in the 2007 episode "We All Scream for Ice Cream".


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