Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Of all places for a Topstone mask to show up ...

True crime magazines had a firm foothold on magazine racks from the 1940s through the 1980s (that's over 40 years!), when their television counterparts made visual what the magazines could only show in crappy-quality photos.

Along the way, one of the titles, DETECTIVE CASES, included a story in the March 1965 issue that was titled "Masked Killers of the Farmer's Wife". The photo under the heading showed a shot of a mask worn by one of the suspected killers during the nefarious deed. If that's not a Topstone mask, I'll eat my Don Post calendar!

This photo has been previously seen in a MMW post HERE. It was referring to the title of a different story than the one seen here, and, unless it was used again in another magazine for another story, I'll be dag nabbed if I can remember why.

Anyway, DETECTIVE CASES in my estimation, is typical of what passed for sensationalized true crime reporting in the mid-1960s. The cover is a complete WTF -- yes, I can see the cheap Bardot look-alike and the gratuitous cleavage (certainly meant to titillate the reader into buying a copy of the magazine), but usually one would see the same image used in the cover spread photo of a crime in progress, replete with threatening male included. The story itself tells the tale of a murder on November 10, 1964 in Asheville, North Carolina. The case is told in straight, procedural style, and, if you can bear to read it, is far from the trappings that promise a more thrilling story. Two of the accompanying photos show an official fingerprinting a suspect. The official is seen with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, illustrating the casual manner of evidence procurement of the day. I can only wonder how many people were sent to prison -- or worse -- the "chair" or the "chamber", as a result of careless casework. The photo that shows the Topstone mask is obviously meant to depict the evidence gathered at the crime scene. Note the .38 revolver, the derringer and the shotgun leaning against the table. At least they've got the "devil by the horns"!


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