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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Monday, March 24, 2014

Hail, Sputnik! / Sputnik Monroe and Norvell Austin by Josie Ritter

"Black is Beautiful" "White is Wonderful"
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I got a nice image in my e-mail this morning from the folks behind Memphis Heat reminding me that it is National Sputnik Monroe Day today. March 24th belongs to Sputnik, so, indeed, Sputnik shall have his day.

I found the above photo signed by Sputnik and Norvell Austin early last year on eBay for under 10 dollars. What a treasure. I'd been meaning to share it here and what better occasion.

The photographer is Josie Ritter who took this photo as a young woman in Tampa between 1971 and 1974 in a collection she now calls "Working Class Opera". When I got the photo, I couldn't find anything about her. Since then, The Tampa Tribune included some of her work and some stories of her time as a wrestling photographer (she was as interested in the fans as she was the wrestlers) in a cool piece on Florida wrestling here.

I wrote what might be my favorite post here at Darwinscans on the life of Sputnik Monroe and his importance in Memphis History back in 2011, and I concluded with the story of Sputnik's Memphis comeback in the early 70s tag-teaming with Norvell Austin in one of the first interracial heel tag teams in the South. Sputnik Monroe, who had already been instrumental in integrating Memphis' public spaces, would draw crowds once again, stirring redneck hate by preaching love of all races and even letting slip the rumor that Page was his son, absolutely brilliant.

So, R.I.P., Sputnik. You made Memphis and the whole world a better place. Some heels do go to heaven.

Bonus - the nice retro graphic I got in the mail this morning, the pulp feel fits right in here at Darwinscans.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sensation, January 1940 / W.B. Seabrook's Astounding Secrets of the Devil Worshipers' Mystic Love Cult

Get the cover to cover hi-res scan here.

So I'm putting off that post on Dr. Seuss in Judge a bit until I get a couple more issues scanned and instead have a scan for y'all tonight that I know some of my readers will be interested in, the second issue of a very neat-o little magazine, Sensation. The first issue remains my most popular post, as the internet is apparently dying to know, "Should Wives Be Spanked?"

Matters of domestic discipline aside, W.B. Seabrook's first installment of "Astounding Secrets of the Devil Worshipers' Mystice Love Cult" on infamous mystic and miscreant, Aleister Crowley, drew much interest, and I'm happy to report the second issue continues the tale.

Sensation revels in its tabloid status and was seemingly aiming for broad appeal with a mix of psychology, true crime, advice, and romance geared to a variety of tastes. My hunt for a second issue paid off, as it indeed exists, and is similar in charming design to the first issue in the line-drawn cover and extensive mix of red and blue illustrations and photos throughout. Big thanks go to Doc Oldschool for the edits on the issue. He turned the beatdown copy I got my hands on (the only one I've seen) into a fine lookin' scan.


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Get the full hi-res scan here.

I'll lead with and go ahead and post the entire Seabrook on Crowley article for websurfers and then clip out some of the funky graphics. Since I posted the first part of the article, I've come across various writings by Seabrook who it turns out was a very peculiar character in his own right. Chapter 2!:

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Crowley in Headdress

A scene of sadism in red inks, yowzah. I'm not sure who did these wild illustrations. No signature, LOL.

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The Beast

To be continued in the next issue?? Does a third issue exist? One wrinkle in my search is that there is a 1941 series I have the first issue of also called Sensation, but as far as I can tell it is from another publisher and not quite in the same vein as these first two issues. It certainly is different graphically, more in line with the standard graphics you'd find in a photo mag. Sensation v01n01 (1941-11) cover:

After the Crowley article, my favorite story concerns Dillinger's "Lady in Red," Anna Sage. Sage fingered Dillinger for death but Fred Menagh speculates on what has happened to Sage's mind and body since she was deported back to Romania in spite of her central role in taking down Dillinger. "Cursed By a Gangster's Ghost?" A bony red hand over a blue photo of Dillinger points accusingly at Anna Sage. Seemingly on the run from the ghost of Dillinger and stool pigeon infamy Sage seemingly driven made blackmailers and those who would have revenge in spite of multiple cosmetic surgeries. Again, I'll post the whole article. There's so much myth surrounding Dillinger and karmic ill will for Sage, I have no idea what parts of Menagh's story are true. I would like to see a more trustworthy account of what happened to Sage after her deportation, but it's hard not to get the sense here that things did not go well for her.

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Other interesting articles - Mildred Luber writes about the Tahitian exile of Anne Chevalier, star of F.W. Murnau's Tabu, denied permanent residence in the U.S. "Let Us Have Truth" is a call for a little common sense in sex ed. "The Last of Brigham's Boys" is an mid-century tabloid take on the home life of Brigham Young. Sin in High Society by Lawrence Gould gives an explanation as to why the rich behave so badly. "World's End" speculates on what will happen as Earth and the Moon age and gravity works its wonders. I'll leave you with a couple of images from the issue, enjoy, and I'll catch you kids next trip on the time machine -

The article on the World's End posits that at some point the Moon and the Earth will align so that one side of the planet will have the Moon in the sky all the time and the other will never be able to see it, hmm.

Love this graphic and article on how private eyes catch philandering spouses on wax. The writer,female,casts the blame on the womens! Surveillance technology in its infancy.