And what a headline…I remember people use to look forward to seeing the headlines from the Post. They were so entertaining that my grandmother, a lifelong Daily News reader, actually started buying a copy along with her News to see what they were. They really were great fun.
The front page of The New York Post from April 15, 1983. Mr. Musetto often said the headline was not his favorite.CreditNew York Post
Vincent Musetto, a retired editor at The New York Post who wrote the most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism — HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR — died on Tuesday in the Bronx. He was 74.
A former colleague, Myron Rushetzky, confirmed the death, of pancreatic cancer, at Calvary Hospital.
The writers of newspaper headlines generally toil in anonymity, and over time a few others have been posited as the creator of this one. But among the salty, ink-stained, intemperate cadre of New York journalists who wistfully recall the days when men wore hats and newspapers were made only of paper.
Mr. Musetto was widely credited as the creator of this headline, spread across The Post’s front page on April 15, 1983.
The crime behind the headline was lurid even by tabloid standards. On April 13, 1983, Charles Dingle, drinking in a tavern in the Jamaica section of Queens, argued with the owner, Herbert Cummings, and shot him to death. Dingle then took several women hostage, raping one and forcing another, in an apparent bid to confound the police, to cut off Mr. Cummings’s head.
Apprehended the next day, Mr. Dingle was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life. Denied parole several times, Dingle died in the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo in 2012.
It was not Mr. Musetto’s favorite though. He often said, that went to one composed the next year: “GRANNY EXECUTED IN HER PINK PAJAMAS.”
Vincent Albert Musetto Jr., known as Vinnie, was born in May 1941 and grew up in Boonton, N.J. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. Mr. Musetto, who early in his career worked for Si. I. Newhouse’s The Advance of Dover, N.J., joined The Post as a copy editor in the early 1970s.
He served for four decades in various capacities, including as entertainment editor. After retiring in 2011, he contributed freelance movie reviews to the paper.
Mr. Musetto is survived by his wife, Claire; a daughter, Carly Van Tassell; and a brother, Andrew, The Post said.
Thanks Vinny, for all the great headlines. They were wonderful.