mind expanding nonsense

Wrestling at the Olympic

Back in L A during the early 60’s, before everything became “groovy”, One could always count on Wrestling from the Olympic Auditorium being broadcast every Wednesday night on KTLA channel 5. Dick “Whoa Nellie” Lane was the host, and would narrate some of the best matches I’ve ever seen.

In those days, wrestling wasn’t fake like it is today. You had husky men like Freddie Blassie, Dick the Bruiser and Gorgeous George slammin’ each other around to everyones delight. These guys weren’t huge, steroid-crazed body builders like they have today. No, they were real men, each with his own style and story, like that sneaky Mr Moto or that evil Destroyer.

Me and my Buddy Harvey from Baldwin Hills ( kosher canyon then, the jungle now) would hop on the buss Wednesday nights and actually go see this stuff. With buss fare, we could only afford the 50 cent seats way in the back. We’d always sneak up closer once the matches began (kinda like Mr Moto did on his opponents). We saw tag-team matches, women wrestle, but the best by far, was when the Midgets came to town. [That’s right, Midgets.  Not Little People.  Although I think some dwarfs passed as midgets].  They were all over that ring, throwin’ each other around and making fantastic leaps off the ropes.

Back then they sold beer inside, and actually have a vendor walking around with cold ones yelling, “Beer Here….Beer Here”. Me and old Harv would always screw with him, cause when he wasn’t looking we would take turns yelling, “Beer Here”, and then act dumb when he turned around looking for the sale. We were naughty boys for sure.

I even met “Classy” Freddie Blassie”, [That’s right ‘you pencil-neck geek’.] one time when Harv and I were up in the balcony area. He was basically a nice guy… when not being interviewed by Dick Lane. Freddie ripped Dick’s glasses from his face one night, and stomped them on the floor, he was so adamant about the character of one of his Opponents. Everybody knew that was kinda fake. I met “Count” Billy Varga and a bunch of other guys. Mr Moto’s Son even went to Dorsey High, and was in some of my classes.

I never did go to Roller Derby at the Olympic; watched that on TV. Those Los Angeles Thunder-birds were something else…And Little Ralphie Valladares was Hell on wheels. They even raced on an inclined wooden tract, not just duct-tapped flat cement like the Derby Queens of today. Don’t get me wrong. With names like ‘Potty Mouth Patty’ and Jabba the Slut’, who doesn’t enjoy all that fish-net hose skating around ya, pounding the crap out of each other all evening? They just don’t go flying over the rails, like when Little Ralphie sent ya into orbit.

Great stuff. Real Rights of Passage. Do you have any tales of passage? Keep it clean.  But this will be a no holds barred, catch-as-catch-can event.

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Comments on: "Wrestling at the Olympic" (9)

  1. ‘Potty Mouth Patty and Jabba the Slut’, I once knew a ‘Pat the Slut’ but we’ll not go down that road.

    Most of my rights of passage were spent in the Ritz Ballroom in Manchester, UK. We called it ‘grab a granny night’ as all the older married women went there for some extra curriculum activity and found it!

    ‘Sweaty Betty’, ‘Big Marge’, ‘The Sharing Sisters’ and ‘Sultry Sandra’ spring to mind.

    Oh happy days.

    Bill
    Ashton-under-Lyne, UK

  2. The possibilities were more limited in my hometown. Lee’s Summit was too small and too far from the big city (Kansas City) to provide many cultural opportunities like you had. We could watch wrestling on TV- maybe even from Olympic Auditorium but I wasn’t paying attention at the time.
    Ours were more idyllic pastimes like tipping over outhouses and mowing the pastures. Heck living on a farm meant that getting to town happened only when I could use my parent’s car. Talk about cultural deprivation. No wonder I ended up in LA..

    • There was one good thing about living in L A during the 60’s. There was a lot to do, and it was easy to get around, and somewhat safe…well, except for the Watts riots.

  3. with those names, i.e. dick the bruiser, are you sure it was wrestling and not an adult film ? i grew up watching the australian roller derby, which is having a revival here in australia now, wild women on skates .. 😉

    • Alan…Dick the Bruiser was a real guy, not a porn star. And, a Buised dick was an occupational hazard, that could be prevented with the proper support/protective device. Nothing better than women on skates! 🙂

  4. geezerpussrex said:

    You finally hit the motherlode of subject matter! If your worldwide readers care to pursue this fine lost rite of the LA Basin any further, they need only go to Internet Movie Database dot Com and check out Dick Lane. Howls of “Woe Nelly,” or, as I recall it, “Woe Nellie-Belle,” peppered Dick Lane’s ringside commentaries during all the Olympic sporting events. Freddy Blassie’s act of smashing Dick Lane’s glasses was audacious as those weren’t just any spects.. oh no, long before Lasix, Dick Lane wore the thickest pair of lenses this side of Mt. Palomar. MacDonalds named a hamburger after those glasses: the Quarter-Pounder. Curious? Care to make a study of Dick Lane? Imdb.com will take inquiring minds to a list of 20th Fox “B” features of the late ’30s and ’40s, where Richard Lane. Sans spectacles, Lane was a regular performer. Barrel-chested and fast-talking, Dick served as comic relief, often playing baffled police or crooks on the lam. He stole scenes in Charlie Chan in Honolulu, and made his way into a gazzelion other pictures before donning the Coke bottles. With the demise of “B” features, Dick spent his last years going ringside three nights a week on KTLA, Channel Five.

    One wrestler who was nice to Dick Lane and respected by all was Mil Máscaras, Southern California’s likeable king of Lucha Libre wrestlers. His name meant A Thousand Masks, and he fought under the constant threat of having his face unveiled by the mean-spirited blond-headed rasslers. Oh lord it was great fun, and Hansi got to see and smell it first hand!

    Whoops, ding goes the bell. End of this round. Back to my corner stool.

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