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.