Flattop Jones is Big Boy's right-hand man from the show, movies, and games of Dick Tracy and a main antagonist of the crime wave.
Gould's character leads a gang of three hoods and is known as an "Ace Killer" in one newspaper headline shown in the comic strip (having committed five murders). In the storyline in which Flattop is the featured villain, black marketeers hire him to eliminate Dick Tracy for a fee of $5000: five times his regular rate.
Flattop proves his value by quickly orchestrating a successful setup involving an argumentative discussion over money to capture Tracy in the killer's car, to be transported somewhere where he can be murdered and undisturbed. Fortunately for Tracy, Flattop stops just short of doing the deed when he realizes that if his employers are willing to pay such a high price for Tracy's death, then they would surely be desperate enough to pay much more. As such, Flattop decides to blackmail his employers for an additional $50,000 lest he release the detective with the information Tracy needs to arrest them.
Hiding in a boarding room while the transaction is completed, Tracy learns that a resident living with her mother downstairs downstairs is a WAC who is learning morse code. Taking advantage of an available piano in the room, he plays it and stamps on the floor in code as if keeping time to his music, hoping that the WAC below, Margie Elong, will recognize the call for help. Sure enough, Elong and her mother get the message and alert the police.
However, even as Tracy's partner, Pat Patton, is preparing for a rescue; Flattop, having closed his blackmail deal, prepares to shoot Tracy while he's surrounded by his henchmen. On Flattop's count of three, Tracy interrupts the assassination by lunging at the killer and wrestles for his gun. In the struggle, Tracy manages to kill a henchman with a Tommy gun, using it to kill the rest of Flattop's gang even as the police were storming the hideout. While the police tend to Tracy, the detective suggests that it be publicly announced that he was found dead, anticipating that Flattop's employers would contact the killer soon afterward. The black marketeers take the bait, call Flattop's number to invite him for a celebration and the police quickly arrive to arrest the lot.
However, Flattop escapes and becomes a hunted fugitive hampered by his extremely distinctive appearance. This leads to a long chase, during which Flattop stays in a boarding house while being extorted by the crooked child hiding him. The child drowns in a lake while skating with expensive new skates he buys with the blackmail money. This leads Tracy to the boarding house, forcing Flattop to flee. In a comic relief episode Flattop decides to hide his $5000 in an old family album which he has hollowed out; when Tracy visits the boarding house to question the dead boy's mother about her son flashing $50 bills around town, a reporter in need of a good picture of the deceased finds the money in the album.
Flattop's finale lasts for six months beginning at the end of 1943. Flattop is caught in a chimney and stung by bees in a hive he disturbs there. He murders a street hawker to fake his own death and to steal his victim's ration cards, Flattop hides out in a hotel, but the ration cards blow out a window and betray his location. In desperation as the police officer reports this to headquarters, he hides in the room of Vitamin Flintheart, an aging actor.
After attempting to explain his trespass, Flattop assaults Flintheart and uses his makeup supplies for a disguise. Tracy, Patton and Flintheart continued the search and battle Flattop after almost being fooled by a child to whom Flattop had passed off his disguise in hopes of making him a decoy. Flattop is severely wounded, but successfully treated in custody.
Loathe to let Flattop slip into oblivion, Gould managed to find a way to continue the story. The comic strip details Flattop's escape from custody, the taking of Flintheart hostage, and his hiding in the harbor area. Eventually, on May 14, 1944, Flattop is drowned attempting to flee Tracy, after getting trapped between two struts of a replica of the Santa Maria.
In a 1986 storyline, reporter Wendy Wichell approaches Dick Tracy with new information concerning Flattop and an incident in World War II which was kept secret, and in which Tracy was involved. Before Flattop encountered Tracy in 1944, Flattop was hired by the Nazi spy Boche, aka Pruneface, to kidnap FBI Agent Jim Trailer, a close friend of Dick Tracy's, and a scientist Trailer and Tracy were protecting: Professor Roloc Bard. Flattop's instructions were to kill Trailer and hand the Professor over to Pruneface. Bard warned Flattop that he will be shipped overseas to make deadly weapons for the Axis cause, which caused Flattop to double-cross Pruneface and auction Bard and Trailer off to highest bidder. Authorities in Washington, DC, ostensibly participating in the auction, authorized Tracy to negotiate while traced Flattop's call). Tracy and his partner, Pat Patton, broke into Flattop's hideout and freed Trailer while Flattop escaped with the Professor. Flattop tied Bard up in the same replica of the Santa Maria where he would later drown. Flattop's last appearance in this storyline was his meeting with Pruneface to collect his $50,000 and tell him where to find Bard. Pruneface swore that he'd kill Flattop if he ever dared to betray him again.
Movie Dick Tracy
In the Warren Beatty film, Flattop is the right-hand hood of Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice. He retains the comic Flattop's demeanor—suave, sneering, and impeccably dressed—but does little throughout the film besides menace Big Boy's enemies and shoot people. He is usually paired with fellow hoodlum Itchy (Dick Tracy).
Flattop is gunned down by Tracy in the Club Ritz shootout near the end of the film.