Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chicago Wrestling Promoter Bob Luce Dead at 79

I'm not much for pro wrestling these days, other than the occasional relapse into reminding myself of why it's no longer entertaining, but I enjoyed it a lot back in the 1970s when, way up in the northern boonies, I would jiggle the fine-tuner to bring in fuzzy black and white UHF broadcasts of whoever the current behemothal fake-fighting apes were at the time, and laugh my pre-adolescent head off.

And, of course, I, Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss, got my start in the world as a fake wrestling manager, so my heart will always be a little bit in the grappling game ... or, whatever you call it.

I don't think I've ever heard the name Bob Luce before reading his obit today (thanks to One O. Brawl for the tip), but I think his passing deserves a mention. I don't recall being aware of him as a personality, but I dug his work.

He brought noted grapplers such as Andre the Giant, Dick the Bruiser, Buddy Rogers, Gorgeous George and Verne Gagne to Chicago, showcased them in appearances, including his weekly local TV show leading up to his events, and introduced them with elaborate music as they entered the arena.

I'm also reminded by the obituary of how cool the old International Amphitheater used to be. Mang, Chicago was Chicago then. Along with the old Stadium, the Amphitheater was about as City of Big Ugly Acne-Crusted Hair-Capped Shoulders as you could get. Here is what Luce said about his preferred venue:

"If wrestling has an odor, as some suggest, it is not readily detectable in this arena that also caters to livestock shows and political conventions."

Indeed. Rest in wonderful mayhem, Mr. Luce.

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