Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wrestling World, July 1954 / Prince Maivia

Ok, a quick post of another 50s wrestling mag today before moving on to other topics.

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Wrestling World v01n04 (1954-07.Wrestling World) (darwin-dregs).cbr
Get the scan here.

From 1954, here's the fourth issue of Wrestling World. Another trip back in the wrestling time machine, this is a fun issue. Thanks to golden age comic scanner Darkmark for pointing out that the gentlemen on the cover is none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's grandfather. A quick look at The Rock's wiki reveals that his maternal grandmother took over promotion of Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling when the elder Maivia died in 1982. I don't quite see the family resemblance from the cover and the photos within, but showmanship must run in the family. Interestingly Maivia objected to his daughter's marriage to Dwayne's pops, wrestler Rocky Johnson, who together with Tony Atlas were the first african-american World Tag Team Champions.

Wiki for Maivia

Maivia's hall of fame page at the WWE site, you can navigate from here to find info on Rocky Johnson.

Quite the wrestling lineage. There's no doubt The Rock has been great for the sport, I really enjoyed his shtick at the height of his career.

But on to the scan at hand. Contents:

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Both pages of the Maivia article

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Another sample. Enjoy the scan!

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Wrestling Scene 1950 / Guy Le Bow

The Wrestling Scene (1950.Homecrafts) (Darwination).cbr
Get the scan of the entire publication here.

All right rasslin fans, gather round. Here's one of my earlier scans, but I'm psyched to get it up here on my blog because it's an absolutely fantastic look at wrestling in the first half of the century, a rare resource on the topic. This was written in 1950 by Guy Le Bow and is something of an odd little book. It's bound like a pulp but with more of a cardboard, glossy cover on a paper that seems more consistent with a book than a magazine. The indicia says "Homecrafts Sports Division" New York, but the only other book found I could find for this publisher was another book by Le Bow called The Hockey Scene. I did find reference to this at least one place on the web:


The Wrestling Scene was advertised in some issues of the golden age crime comic The Perfect Crime from Cross Publications, so I wonder if it was published by the same outfit...

And, yes, indeed, this is an awesome book. It's a response to the post-war boom in wrestling's popularity. A generation of Americans were trained in hand to hand combat and the new technology of the TV combined to make wrestling a phenomenon. Wrestling was selling TVs, and TVs were selling wrestling, and there's a chapter in here on what is happening in each of the wrestling regions around the country (one written by a young Harry Caray in St. Louis). Le Bow talks about when wrestling was immensely popular before the depression and gives gate figures and descriptions of some of the legendary early 20th century matches and wrestlers like Farmer Burns, Jim Londos (who made more in 1932 at the height of the depression than even Babe Ruth or Jack Dempsey), and Stanislaus Zybysko. The chapter on wrestling's longest matches is fairly brutal.

But, what can I say, my favorite part is all the pictures. These characters are absolutely fascinating and you can see some of the templates for character types that exist to this day.


Profuse samples this time around. Gotta do it. I kick it off with Farmer Burns, a wrestling legend from the early days. I've got some low quality scans of some of his written materials here.

Maurice Tillet, what a frightful mug.

LOL, I love the gimmick, but who's afraid of a guy named "The Smiler"?

Lord Carlton had a valet before Gorgeous George and undoubtedly influenced his act in many ways. There's a good page at a very neat House of Deception website on Lord Carlton with photos and examples of his artwork here.

Hey ladies in the place, I'm callin out to ya...

P.S. This was a severely water-damaged copy so the cover's a bit messed up and there's some crinkliness on the pages. I think there's some yellow in the cover too, but my copy only has a bit of it on one side. If one of you readers out there in scanland have a copy with a good cover, please send me a raw scan and I will replace the page in the file.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wrestling As You Like It July 10, 1954 / Gorgeous George Redux

Looking at Doc Lomazow's Magazine History blog today in a continued discussion on early television guide magazines, I am prompted to return to a 1950 magazine I posted in April of this year here. Steve's discussion of Chicago as a pioneering TV city reminded me of the TV listings in that early issue of Wrestling as You Like It I scanned and to realize that a more recent issue I scanned from 1954 no longer included these listings. I guess that the need for TV listings had passed on from wrestling lovers into the general population during this time and that the surge in circulation for TV Forecast might have made the TV listings in WAYLI redundant. I'll have to get some intervening issues to determine exactly when the mag stopped publishing the TV listings.

But on to the man of the hour! Gorgeous George! You plebes are not worthy! My grappling partner McCoy did the edit work on this issue, so thanks to go to him for rasslin whatever paper I send his way.

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Wrestling As You Like It v06n44 (1954-07-10.Wayli)(Darwination vs McCoy).cbr
Get the scan here.

Here's George on the cover, all pomp and circumstance, leering down at the unwashed masses. Good copy, no doubt, having this taunting goldilocks on the cover probably sold quite a few issues.

Since my initial post on Gorgeous George, I had the good fortune to come across John Capouya's 2008 book Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad-Boy Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture. Large claims, but the book does a pretty good job of explaining his giant impact on James Brown, Ali, and Bob Dylan three giants of American culture if there ever were. A very fun read, my one gripe is that it was over too soon. A lot of the best insights come from interviews with his first wife, Betty, who had a large part in the phenomenon. Very cool to see the guy get a bio, a great look into the old days of wrestling. I liked the book so much I sent it off as a gift to my stepdad, but before I sent it, I just had to scan this pic of George getting a do and reading a copy of The Ring. I love pictures of celebs reading magazines, and this is a classic.

Capouya's book includes a nice 16 page photo section that has some cool pics. I think the paperback is coming out soon, a great gift for a particular generation. I encounter and experience all manners of nostalgia as a magazine scanner from a wide variety of people with a wide variety of interests, but I can safely say that the response I've gotten from the small portion of people out there that download the wrestling scans is very energetic indeed. A whole generation of wrestlers have faded from the wrestling spotlight but aren't forgotten by the kids who watched them...

Anyways, on to tonight's scan. Another nice issue of WAYLI gives a snapshots of wrestling happenings in cities across the country when wrestling still meant all sorts of leagues and circuits and flavors in all parts of the nation. This issue even has an expose on wrestling in India which I've heard a story or two of being very popular back in the first half of the century. This mag has a feature onNielsen and Lisowski, a north-south tag team, news of Verne Gagne's title defense in Chicago, and a story of the Dusek brother's retaining the tag title in KC and more. Wrestling As You Like It is always a fun and dignified little read at 16 pages.

Sample. Mildred Burke. I've heard some strange stories about this icon of women's wrestling. I kind of like the tough looking girls in wrestling. There are some modern girl grapplers that are cute and athletic, but it sure seems like a lot of the girls go the way of silicone. I like the girl wrestlers with a natural beauty.

TAP OUT, TAP OUT, just when you can't take anymore - I'll return next time with another vintage wrestling pub sure to interest fans of the golden age of wrestling, sort of a who's who of the wrestling world c. 1950. Though I said I was gonna stay off the themes, I think I'll post a couple more wrestling scans from this period to fill out the stage. I've got some real goodies on the scanner these days in preparation for some posts on early girlie pulps and risque humor mags, so many mags, so little time! ! !