Flattop Jones Sr. (real name Floyd) was a contract killer from Cookson Hills, Oklahoma. After his death, a newspaper headline referred to him as an "Ace Killer", as he had apparently committed five known contract murders.
Flattop was a slim man with dark hair and thick eyebrows. His most-defining physical characteristic was the flat top of his head (hence his alias). He had puckered lips and freckles.
According to his older brother Sharptop Jones, Flattop spent some of his formative years working on the farm of a church-going aunt and uncle. This uncle was apparently physically abusive of Flattop.
Sharptop later described Flattop as a "product of his environment". He also claimed that Flattop had been very intelligent, and could have been a great success if he'd set his mind to something other than crime and violence.
Flattop married his wife Stiletta Jones while they were both in their late teens and the couple had two children before separating. Stiletta joined a circus touring in Europe, and Flattop had little interaction with his children.
Flattop was close with his older brother Blowtop Jones, working with him on bank robberies. Flattop was not close with his other brother Sharptop. Flattop's father Poptop Jones took him on hunting trips when he was young, but Flattop was later disowned by his father and most of the rest of his family.
One of Flattop's most notorious acts was during the Kansas City Massacre when he killed an unknown number of Federal Agents. He was also part of a Nazi espionage ring in WWII (though this was apparently motivated by greed rather than ideology).
A flashback storyline depicted Flattop and Blowtop involved in a simple bank robbery that took place before Dick Tracy joined the plainclothes unit. Flattop demonstrated an uncommon level of loyalty for his fellow gang members, criticizing Blowtop for abandoning them to the police. Flattop also commented on Blowtop's lack of a resemblance to the rest of their family. Flattop considered asking their mother about Blowtop's different features, indicating that she was alive at the time of this story and had some contact with her son(s).
Encounter with Dick Tracy
Flattop was hired by black marketeers to eliminate Dick Tracy, a job that would pay $5,000 (5 times his usual rate). Flattop and his most skilled associate Ed D. Edd (aka "Machine Gun" Eddie) lured Tracy into a taxi cab where they introduced themselves to him and explained that they intended to kill him. Flattop was about to kill Tracy, but decided to postpone the deed in an attempt to extort a larger payment from those who had hired him.
Taking up residence in a hotel, Flattop made Tracy comfortable and contacted Zolla, the black marketeer who had hired him. Flattop demanded ten times the amount he had been promised or he would set Tracy free and give Tracy the names of Zolla and his co-conspirators. Unbeknownst to Flattop, Tracy had been able to send an SOS to the WAC member who lived in the apartment downstairs using Morse Code. She understood the message and called the police, which brought Pat Patton to Flattop's location. As Patton prepared a rescue, Flattop's extortion deal was completed.
Flattop was about to shoot Tracy when Tracy lunged for Flattop's gun, which went off. Ed was killed immediately. In the ensuing confusion, Tracy was able to grab Ed's machine gun and opened fire on the rest of Flattop's gang, killing all but Flattop. Meanwhile, Pat Patton and several police officers stormed the hideout and found that Tracy had the situation under control. Flattop escaped down a fire escape, shooting Officer Murphy in the process (January 19, 1944).
Aware that his distinctive appearance was a liability, Flattop sought refuge in the house of Bud Jenkins, a boy who had attempted to pick Flattop's pocket on a train. Bud learned Flattop's identity and extorted him in exchange for his silence. Fearing the risk of carrying so much cash on his person, Flattop hid the remainder of the $50,000 he had gotten from Zolla in an old family album in the Jenkins' home for safe-keeping. Meanwhile, Bud drowned after falling through the ice while using expensive ice-skates he had bought with Flattop's money (February 6th, 1944). Tracy was able to learn Bud's address by tracing the purchase of the skates, and he went to speak to the boy's mother. Requesting a photo of Bud, Tracy and the police were directed to the family album. They found Flattop's money, and asked Mrs. Jenkins where it came from.
Mrs. Jenkins concluded that it must have come from her new tenant and led Tracy and the police to Flattop's room. Flattop heard Mrs. Jenkins and the police approaching and he decided to flee. He evaded capture by climbing to the roof and hiding in the chimney of the duplex. The chimney was infested with a beehive, and Flattop was subsequently stung and covered with honey. His calls for help attracted a neighbor who freed him.
After Flattop was pulled out of the chimney, he escaped and killed a street vendor named Hawker Davis. Flattop planted his identification on Davis' body in an attempt to create the impression that the corpse was Flattop's. Dick Tracy was not fooled by this ruse, and the manhunt for Flattop continued.
Flattop rented a room in a cheap hotel, where a gust of wind blew one of the war bonds he had stolen from Hawker Davis out of the window onto the street below. A street news vendor found it, and soon learned that the bond's owner recently been found murdered. The vendor alerted a police officer about his discovery and directed to officer to the hotel window that the bond had likely came from.
Observing all of this with growing alarm as the officer alerted headquarters, Flattop concluded that he could not leave the building before the police would arrive. He tried hiding in another room, which was occupied by Vitamin Flintheart. After his attempt to explain his presence failed, Flattop assaulted Flintheart and stole a disguise from the actor's makeup supplies. He then hid in a nearby theater. Guided by Flintheart, the police began to close in on Flattop, so he passed his disguise off to a random boy, intending to use him as a decoy. Tracy and Patton were not fooled and Flattop's attempt to shoot Tracy failed. In a shootout outside the theater, Flattop was seriously wounded with a gunshot through the throat (March 19, 1944). He was taken into custody and received medical treatment.
Escape and Death
Flattop subsequently escaped with the unwitting assistance of Vitamin Flintheart, who had been arrested for accidentally shooting a bartender with Flattop's gun. They hid on a replica of the Santa Maria in the city lagoon. Attempting to escape the police, Flattop tried to swim through the under-pilings of the replica, but was caught on a rusty nail and drowned (May 14th, 1944). A plaque was planted next to the lagoon marking Flattop's death site.
The Legacy of Flattop
During the 1950s, Tracy crossed paths with Flattop's brother Blowtop, and later with Flattop's son Flattop Jr. Blowtop served a term in prison and Flattop Jr. was killed in self-defense by the policewoman Lizz.
In 1978, Flattop's death site was vandalized by his daughter Angelica who was in town along with her boyfriend, Alfred Brau Jr. The couple sought revenge on Tracy and Lizz for the deaths of their fathers and for Flattop Jr. Both of them would encounter Dick Tracy several times before their own deaths.
The Xylon Plot
In 1985, reporter Wendy Wichel revealed to Dick Tracy that there was new information revealed about Flattop involving Tracy prior to his first documented encounter with Flattop. Tracy revealed Flattop's role in an espionage ring run by a Nazi spy code-named "Boche" (later revealed to be Pruneface) in which he hired Flattop to eliminate G-Man Jim Trailer and kidnap Professor Roloc Bard, the creator of the Xylon Bomb. It was also revealed by Pat Patton that Flattop was the man who killed an unspecified number of G-Men in the Kansas City Massacre. After Trailer revealed to Flattop that he (Flattop) was aiding the Nazis, Flattop turned on his employer and started an auction between Boche and the U.S. Government for the two prisoners. Flattop accepted Boche's offer of $50,000.
Trailer had spoken to Tracy and gave a hidden clue to where Flattop was holding them (the mention of Pearly Gates, referring to St. Peter's church). Tracy and Pat managed to drop in on Flattop before he could kill Trailer. Flattop managed to get away with the Professor and wound Trailer. The Professor was stashed on board the replica of the Santa Maria where Flattop would drown months later. Flattop collected his money from Boche, who warned Flattop that he would kill him if he crossed him again. Flattop left after telling Boche where the Professor was.
The Ghost of Flattop
Years later, Flattop's "ghost" took over the body of his law-abiding brother Sharptop during a seance conducted by Crystal Plenty, a New Age enthusiast niece of Gravel Gertie. The "ghost" compelled Sharptop to change his hair style and color to more closely resemble Flattop's appearance.
It is not known for certain if this was a genuinely supernatural occurrence, but Sharptop's mind was eventually freed of "Flattop's" control.
Appearances in Other Media
Dick Tracy in B Flat
Flattop was a character in the humorous radio play Dick Tracy in B Flat, produced for Armed Forces Radio in February of 1945. He was played by Bob Hope.
In the program, Flattop kidnapped Snowflake Falls and attempted to woo her. He sang a parody of the popular Cole Porter tune "You're the Top".
Dick Tracy in the Case of the Midnight Marauder
Flattop was the villain in the audio story The Case of the Midnight Marauder, which was released as a double-78 rpm record set by Mercury Records in 1947. Flattop was played by Richard Rober.
In the story, Flattop was hired to kill Tracy in Miami, but was briefly delayed when Tracy (and Pat Patton) changed hotel rooms. After a brief encounter with Vitamin Flintheart, Flattop was able to capture Tracy but the detective escaped. Tracy and Flattop engaged in a showdown on ship in a nearby bay, where the detective shot and killed Flattop.
1950s Live-Action TV Series
Flattop appeared in Episode 15 of Season 1 of the 1950s Dick Tracy TV series starring Ralph Byrd. Flattop was played by actor John Cliff. He was not portrayed as deformed or unusual-looking, but wore a distinctive flat-topped hat.
The plot of the episode was similar to original Flattop story in the comic strip, with Flattop being commissioned to kidnap and kill Dick Tracy. Flattop (with the help of his heavily-accented henchman Mote) abducted Tracy from his home and took him to a hideout. There, Flattop decided to try to squeeze more money out the man who had hired him, Mr. Namgib ("Big man" spelt backwards). Tracy eventually escaped, shot Mote, and arrested Flattop.
1960s TV Cartoon
Flattop was one of the featured villains in the 1960s humorous cartoon version of Dick Tracy. Flattop was often paired with B-B Eyes, and had a voice reminiscent of Peter Lorre provided by voice actor Mel Blanc and later Paul Frees. He did not interact with Tracy directly (save for the "Copped Copper Caper"), but was instead foiled by Tracy's "funny" subordinates.
Flattop also appeared in an episode of The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, produced by UPA, the same company that made the Dick Tracy cartoon. In the episode "Dick Tracy and the Mob", (original air-date Feb. 6 1965) he was part of the gang assembled by Pruneface that hired Squinty Eyes (a doppelganger of Mr. Magoo, played by Jim Backus) to kill Dick Tracy (voiced by Everett Sloane). In this incarnation Flattop has a more clipped, Chicago-accented voice, provided by actor Howard Morris.
1960s Live Action TV Series
In the 1960s, a pilot was produced for a live-action Dick Tracy TV series by the late William Dozier, who had also produced the 1960s Batman TV series. Flattop did not appear in the pilot, but a make-up test was prepared for a possible future episode with actor Leon Janney. in the role. The character's appearance closely resembled his depiction in the comic strip.
Archie's TV Funnies
Flattop was a character in the "Dick Tracy" segments of the 1971 animated television series Archie's TV Funnies, produced by Filmation Associates. Flattop's appearance closely resembled his depiction in the comic strip. He was portrayed as part of a large, international criminal organization called Intergem. Flattop was one the villains featured in the show's opening and closing credits sequence.
Flattop was shown escaping from jail and later planning an elaborate jewel theft. He was stopped by Dick Tracy and Junior.
In another episode (featuring Pruneface), reference is made to Flattop having escaped from jail again.
Flattop was a major character in the 1990 feature film Dick Tracy. He was played by William Forsythe.
Flattop was responsible for shooting 5 members of Lips Manlis' gang at the Seventh Street Garage, which was witnessed by The Kid. He was arrested on suspicion of the crime, but released due to a lack of evidence. He later aided in the kidnapping of Tracy and left him tied up in a basement with an overloaded boiler, expecting that Tracy would die in the explosion. Tracy was rescued by The Kid and resumed his war on crime.
Flattop battled in the climactic New Year's Eve shootout at Club Ritz and fires from a car as they break into the police blockade. When the car crashes, Flattop survives and fires his gun at a car, exploding it (apparently killing three police officers). He then engages Tracy in a brief gun battle where he is shot, continuing to wildly fire his tommy gun as he dies. He was the last member of Big Boy's gang to die.
Diamond Double Cross
Flattop was also a character in the live stage show Dick Tracy Starring in Diamond Double Cross that was performed at Disney theme parks in conjunction with the movie's release (to which he was also a meet-and-greet character in Disneyland and MGM Studios). In the show, Flattop was portrayed as a member of Big Boy's gang (as in the movie) who conspired with Crewy Lou to steal the valuable Balonian diamond that is also sought by Big Boy and Breathless Mahoney. At the conclusion of the plot, Flattop was arrested along with his accomplices.
Tie-In Video Games
Flattop showed up in all the video game adaptations of the movie, usually featuring as the penultimate boss before Big Boy.
- Nintendo Entertainment System- Flattop appears in Dick Tracy's mug shot files and is a henchman of Big Boy. He is described as a contract killer and is arrested by Tracy after confessing to being the one who sent Sam Catchem a letterbomb.
- Sega Genesis- Flattop is the boss of level 5. He engages in a shootout with Dick Tracy at the Club Ritz, using a tommy gun. When brought down to low health, Flattop shoots out the lights and thus is only only visible when he is firing his machine gun.
- Game Boy - Flattop is the boss of level 4 at the construction site and fires his tommy gun madly at Tracy whilst running around on a girder.
- Amiga - Flattop is the 4th boss, fights on a rooftop and once again uses a tommy gun.
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive
Dick Tracy: Forever
Flattop was a member of a gang that was protecting the wealthy blackmailer and influence peddler Mr. Rackman from being arrested. Flattop had a brief encounter with Dick Tracy, during which he failed to impress Tracy very much.
Flattop also appeared in the epilogue in issue #4.
Issue #3 also included a character called "Flattop", but this character appeared to be female (or gender-fluid). This character was part of a gang that was trafficking illegal medical devices. Issue #3 also included characters named "Flatface" and "Muffin Top". It was not established if there was any familial connections between the three of them or Flattop Jones Sr.
- Unlike some other characters in the 1990 feature film, no attempt was made to establish Flattop's real name in any of the movie tie-in material (such as toys, trading cards, or books).
- In the 2011 flashback storyline, Blowtop seems to address Flattop by the nickname "Moptop" during a brief discussion about their mother. On the GoComics discussion board for this day's strip, writer Mike Curtis posted that his wife had come up with a name for the Jones brothers' mother. Some readers have interpreted this as Curtis stating that "Moptop" is Mrs. Jones name or nickname, but this has not been confirmed or officially established within the strip's continuity (yet).
- In 2012, Flattop's actual first name was revealed to be "Floyd". This was apparently inspired by the real-life criminal Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, upon whom the character was partially-based. Flattop's real name of "Floyd" was established by writer Mike Curtis. He has confirmed that "Floyd" is also Flattop Jr's name, indicating that Poptop Jones must have a different first name.
- Flattop is widely regarded as Dick Tracy's most famous nemesis, both within the strip and in the larger popular culture. In the world of Dick Tracy, he has the same level of name recognition and notoriety as John Dillinger or Al Capone.
- During the Sharptop storyline in 1992, it was stated that Flattop had been hired by a group of corrupt politicians to kill Dick Tracy, not black marketeers. Some of them were still alive, and Flattop's "ghost" sought revenge for his perceived mistreatment at their hands.
- Flattop was the villain featured on the cover of IDW's The Complete Dick Tracy Volume 9, though a significant part of his storyline had been included in Volume 8.
- Stiletta Jones once mentioned to B-B Eyes that her husband always spoke highly of him, which may be a nod to the animated series (as described above) which often depicted the two criminals working together.
- In The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy the storyline is only carried as far as Flattop's wounding and capture. The death of Flattop is not reprinted in the book.
- In an Giant Dick Tracy comic book reprint of the Flattop storyline, the plot was changed slightly. Flattop receives word that his blackmail victims have agreed to pay the $50,000 to him and his gang, but it is held by a third party to be paid when Tracy's body is discovered.
- In the Midnite Mirror series, Floyd was a reclusive private detective/police consultant known as "The Chalice". He wears a yellow trench coat (similar to Dick Tracy's). He is aided by his manservant Alfred (based on The Brow) and Bud Jenkins serves as his kid sidekick.
- In the Midnite Mirror movie, "The Chalice" was played by an actor named Steve Forsythe, who was one of the two people who discovered a murder victim on the film's set. The surname was presumably inspired by William Forsythe, the actor who played Flattop in the 1990 feature film.
- Flattop's image was used as a model (alone with some other Tracy foes) for one of the 3-dimensional targets in the shooting range at Dick Tracy's local police academy. Flattop's face has also been made into a Halloween mask (in Tracy-world as well as in real life).
- Flattop was one of the enemies of Dick Tracy whose appearance was re-created for the TV show "Make-Up Meltdown", which was disrupted by Putty Puss.
- Flattop was one of several enemies that tormented Dick Tracy when his dreams were invaded by the Nightmare Machine.
- Dr. Mabuse, a member of the Rogues' Gallery Cosplay Club dressed as Flattop for their Dick Tracy-themed event, as seen in a 2018 Minit Mystery.
- Around the time of the strip's 90th Anniversary, police chief Pat Patton recalled that Flattop had denied being responsible for the death of Hawker Davis. Flattop would still have faced charges for murder (Officer Murphy), kidnapping and attempted murder (Dick Tracy), as well as any other outstanding charges against him.
- In a podcast interview, IDW editor Denton Tipton identified the character Muffin Top from Dick Tracy: Forever #3 as a "descendant" of Flattop, but did not into detail about the exact nature of their relationship.
- In a classic 1946 cartoon "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery" Daffy duck dreams he's the most famous detective in the world Duck Twacy; while trying to recover his stolen piggybank "Duck Twacy" has to fight a dozen of his criminal enemies including one whose flat head is an airstrip for flying miniature planes.