Globe photos of Bonnie and Clyde helped make them celebrities

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Aug. 18—They were coming to Joplin to set Clyde Barrow on the straight and narrow path.

So said Blanche Barrow, widow of Clyde's brother, Buck Barrow, upon learning that Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker had been shot to death in Louisiana.

She said she and Buck had tried to convinced Clyde a number of times to give up the life of crime.

"That's why we went to Joplin," she told the newspapers after Bonnie and Clyde were killed. and she said she thought they could have been successful, were it not for a fateful encounter with area lawmen.

Buck had only recently been released from prison when he and Blanche met up with Bonnie and Clyde in an apartment at 34th Street and Oak Ridge Drive in Joplin. They had been there nearly two weeks when a patrol car pulled up to the apartment. Officers had been tipped off that the gang was possibly inside.

In the shootout that followed, Harry McGinnis, 53, a Joplin detective, and John Wesley Harryman, 41, a Newton County constable, were shot and killed. The other lawmen, Walter E. Grammar and George B. Kahler, both with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and Thomas DeGraff, a Joplin detective, were not hit.

As the gang fled the apartment, they rammed the patrol car to move it out of the way, then raced south out of Joplin.

Among the items they left behind when they fled: Buck's pardon papers were found in the apartment after they fled Joplin, as were various guns, jewelry and a camera with two rolls of film.

That's where the Globe came in.

According to a report in the paper on April 15, 1933, the film was taken to the newspaper to be processed. They would become some of the most famous pictures of the era.

There was a snapshot of Bonnie with a cigar in her teeth and holding a gun.

There was a photo of the two brothers posed together, in suit and tie, and another picture of Buck Barrow on the bumper of the car they used to escape, with guns that were believed to have been used in the shooutout.

The exploits of the gang continued to make headlines throughout 1933 and 1934. Buck was killed in a shootout just a couple of months later, and Blanche was arrested and sent to prison. Bonnie and Clyde were killed just over a year later, on May 23, 1934, in Louisiana.

Those photos helped make the duo more famous, more notorious.

"Once those photos got out, (Bonnie Parker) could no longer control the story," John Maggio, director of a documentary about the Barrow gang, told the Globe decades later. "She was the author of the myth, but once the photos got out, she lost control."

The photos soon appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country, and the legend took off. Maggio's documentary begins with the end — thousands of onlookers traveled to two funeral homes in Dallas to catch a last glimpse of the pair. The "Romeo and Juliet" story that drew people in made people want to follow the story until the end, he said.

"There were something like 10,000 people there," Maggio said. "We found footage of it. Throngs and throngs of people just wanting to get a last look at them. They meant something, even though they were cold-blooded killers."

And Maggio draws the parallel of how today's media environment can be found back in the Depression era, all thanks to those photos.

"Those photos are what we do today," Maggio said. "They were selfies. She was offended that they showed the cigar in her mouth. It has everything to do with what we do today in a hyperpublicized world."

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