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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Memories of early wrestling

Hi Bob and Merci Normand for the blast from the past with those wrestling card pics. What a delightful trip down memory lane. I remember all of those people and Normand I would ask you to scour your files to see if you can come up with photos of the others from that time that I remember-- Bobo Brazil,Edouard Carpentier,Whipper Billy Watson Gorgeous George, "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers and the midgets-- Little Beaver,Sky Low Low, Fuzzy Cupid and Lord Littlebrook.
My memories of that that era were many. I don't think many people realize just how big the sport was in Quebec in the fifties. It was big time and the card every Wed. Night would draw crowds that half-filled the Montreal Forum which included seating at floor level ( on the covered ice surface) at the very least and more with the right fighters on the card. If memory serves me well, 1952 marked the advent of TV in Montreal with the french network coming on line 6 months before the english network did. "La Lutte au Forum" immediately became one of the most-watched programs on the new network and we kids from the Third Street Gang were among the most avid of all viewers.Fortunately for us Trevor Meads dad was one of first to own a TV in Greenfield Park and it was our treat to be invited to watch "La Lutte" at their house every Wednesday from 9-10 pm, anywhere from 8-12 youngsters stretched out on the floor,cheering for our favourites. Yes our parents allowed us to stay up that late during the summer months knowing we were safe at Mead's. Some of the wrestlers were as well-known and as popular as members of " Les Canadiens" , especially the home-grown heroes like Johnny Rougeau,Larry Moquin and Yvon Robert. One of regular match-ups was big Wladek "Killer " Kowalski and Yukon Eric. Yes the bouts were staged to some degree but sometimes somebody would not follow the script or there was a misread and so it was that during one of the Kowalski -Eric fights that Kowalski came off the top of the ropes to do a knee drop on Yukon's chest but somehow missed and Kowalski's knee took off half of one of Yukon Eric's ears. Eric was a fan favourite and the crowd immediately began to call for Kowalski's suspension at best and hanging at worst.
Yukon Eric was unique. He would climb into the ring in a pair of jeans with a piece of rope for a belt as the picture shows and a red and black plaid wool jacket, take off the jacket off in his corner, and wrestle in his jeans.
Two special incidents involving a couple of above-mentioned stars occured while I was in Weredale Boys home which was just two blocks down Atwater from the forum.
The first involved Yukon Eric and he said he was going to pull a City of Montreal bus along St Catherine St. from the west side of the Forum(Atwater) to the East side ( Closse). The promo occurred late in the afternoon, after school for us kids, and so we able to get a front row seat to watch Yukon take a large rope which was tied to the bus and loop it over his shoulders,under his arms and then, hunched forward, head down, off he went with the bus rolling behind him.
The second event involved the midget wrestlers. Each year us Weredale boys would go to a camp in the Laurentians,northeast of St Jerome for the summer. One of the highlights of the summer was the weekend festival at St Hippolyte a village across the lake and we campers were able to spend a full Saturday afternoon enjoying the festivities. One year the featured event was a wrestling match featuring four midget wrestlers in a tag team format. The unique component of the bout was that the ring itself was set up in the water just off the beach. The wrestlers had as much fun throwing their opponents out of the ring and into the water as we youngsters did watching and cheering them on. Ah the good old days. JMcC
Thanks John McC ..... the midgets were always entertaining to watch I was disappointed when they stopped performing

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful tale, such superb memories.
    All at once so long ago yet ever present.
    I've spent the hour reminiscing