Thursday, March 27, 2014

Body Press, January 17 1970 / Cobo Arena Program

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Get the cover to cover scan here.

That last post on Sputnik inspired me to do a quick scan and post of a great wrestling mag that I just picked up, Body Press, out of Detroit, MI. Body Press was the magazine/program for the successful wrestling promotion of Ed Farhat, who habitual readers of my blog might recall better as The Sheik. I blogged about The Sheik back on a post on a duo of Wrestling Life issues here. I just came across a nice tribute page I recommend on Farhat here, The House that the Sheik Built. I didn't know the story of Farhat bringing in Mark Lewin, a babyfaced Jew who wore the Star of David on his trunks, in the Summer of 1967 at the height of tensions surrounding the Six-Day War. It was standing room only all Summer long as the baby face Jew battled the devious Arab, just one of the many clever and topical story lines The Sheik's Big Time Wrestling used to pack them in and make Detroit's Cobo Arena a legendary center of wrestling. Farhat bought into the territory in 1964 and bought out star-maker Burt Ruby in 1968. He had a good reputation with the wrestlers for being fair, but I've also heard he didn't like his authority questioned (not uncommon amongst wrestling promoters). Farhat would later be involved in bringing rebroadcasts of wrestling into syndication and early pay per view, signs he knew where wrestling was heading (for better or worse).

There's a neat article here on Dave Burzynski (who poses with a stack of Body Press magazines) who witnessed these years at Cobo and would become a chronicler of the heyday of Detroit wrestling through photographs.

But enough of the preliminary tongue-wagging, let's ring the bell and get to some samples of today's issue of Body Press.

I'll lead with our man, Sputnik, as he's the reason I picked up this particular issue. The mag gives visiting wrestlers (and wrestlers new to the promotion) a chance to introduce themselves to fans and opponents. Trash talk - don't fuck with Sputnik:

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Also, Sputnik, "The Real Sweet Man?," a future story line? Will fan favorite Thunderbolt Patterson return to Detroit to claim his moniker and put upstart Monroe in his place?

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The Card, in the centerfold of every issue, Sheik vs. Lord Layton at the top, the battle royale looks fun:

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"No Man is an Island" by Dewey Robertson who is better remembered as The Missing Link:

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Some ads for the promotion, including TV info for Channel 62. Lord Layton was the Shiek's current rival for the Championship (which Farhat managed to hold a good portion of the time).

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Signed page of Hans Schmidt, by now in the later part of his career. Canadian Schmidt began his career as babyface under his own name of Guy Larose but found the key to his career when he became The Teuton Terror, channeling Germanic stereotypes and becoming one of most famous foreign menaces in matdom.

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Rocky Johnson and Haystacks Calhoun

Jimmy Valled who would become Jimmy Valiant - Boogie Woogie Man

Signed picture of Luis Martinez, Sputnik's opponent for the bout.

Also within - Skull Bros. vs. Fabulous Kangaroos - a match that must be made, Mighty IGOR, Tag team of 1970 - Ben Justice and The Stomper, Wilbur Snyder returns to the Midwest, Flying Fred Curry - the fastest man in wrestling, Tom Jones is Tops, Letters to the Editor and more. Really a well done mag. I'll be keeping my eye out for other issues for sure.

I leave with the back cover, Detroit muscle

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