Many writers aspire to be remembered for a book, a series of articles, a particular good piece.
Here’s a guy who made his mark with one really good headline 30-some years ago.
Vincent Musetto, a longtime editor and film critic for the New York Post, died June 9 at 74.
His obit and all the stories about him featured the famous headline (or hed, in newspaper parlance) he wrote for that paper on April 15, 1983.
A night club owner had been shot and the perps had decapitated the man. Musetto’s headline:
Headless body in topless bar
Musetto said in a 1987 interview that the idea for the headline was discussed, but there was a factual question: Were there in fact topless dancers at the club? The Post actually sent a reporter to the bar to confirm that fact, and the rest is headline history.
The Post prides itself on its cheeky, sometimes in-your-face headlines. In fact, there is a book of their best stuff you can buy, entitled, in a hat-tip to Musetto, “Headless body in topless bar.”
More recently, the Post launched a really good one in a story about Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the fact that the former Secretary of State had erased thousands of messages:
Deleter of the free world
Headline connoisseurs also will appreciate a hed from a New Mexico paper from 2001. A well-known Santa Fe attorney was gunned down near his office by a former client. During trial, the defendant demanded new counsel, prompting this story:
Man accused of killing lawyer receives a new attorney
A less gory story comes from Asia via the Washington Post. The city of Seoul in 2007 held the world’s first high-wire championship, with 18 contestants seeking to cross the Han River on a cable a half-mile long. The hed, of course, was:
Skywalkers in Korea cross Han solo
And here’s one from the sports pages. Pat Venditte of the Oakland A’s is ambidextrous and pitches both righty and lefty, in the same game. He finally made it to the bigs this month. The East Oregonian had the story, but not exactly:
Amphibious pitcher makes debut
When he plays, they’ll never have to worry about a rain-out.