Vincent Musetto, who wrote for the New York Post what the New York Times calls “the most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism — HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR,” died yesterday at 74. It happened in 1983, when a drinker shot a bar owner to death in New York City’s Queens borough. He took several women hostage, raping one and forcing another, in an apparent bid to confound the police, to cut off the owner’s head. (The shooter died in prison in 2012).
What endured in public memory far longer than the crime was the headline. It appeared on T-shirts; as the title of a 1995 movie starring Raymond J. Barry and loosely based on the crime; and as the name of a 2007 book, “Headless Body in Topless Bar: The Best Headlines From America's Favorite Newspaper.”