Thelma Todd Trial Alters Wrestling Show

Salt Lake City Tribune – January 4, 1936

Eggs heaved into an electric fan could be no more scrambled than the wrestling program at the Arena Friday night. It was all due to the fact that Lord Lansdowne failed to appear for his headline bout with Benny Bolt. It was explained that Lansdowne had been subpoenaed as a witness before the grand jury investigating the tragic death of Thelma Todd at Los Angeles, and would not be permitted to leave California until the inquiry was completed. It seems that Lansdowne was one of the many who had seen Miss Todd shortly before her death.

A capacity house turned out to see Lansdowne and Bolt and the co-feature, the heavyweight match between Bill Longson and Al Newman. While the absence of the spectacular Lansdowne unquestionably was a keen disappointment to many, as a whole the spectators were well enough pleased with the card which was the product of an eleventh hour rearrangement.

Longson and Newman, appearing in the first heavyweight wrestling event of the season, gave a great display of power, well and skillfully applied. Longson turned up winner of two of the three falls.

Willyum won the first in 12 minutes when he swiftly seized the opportunity to put on a “skin the cat,” after a mixup in which full nelsons and leg trips were used. Newman won the second with an excruciatingly painful toehold.

The third was a spectacular piece of work on Longson’s part. From outside the ring, Bill leaped in a straight line between the strands, landing squarely and with enormous force directly in the section where Al stows his doughnuts. It was a flying tackle of tremendous potency.

Substituting for Lansdowne, Rod Fenton at last met his master in little Benny Bolt. The Sioux warrior proved to be every whit as resourceful with his mitts as Fenton, and a bit more so. When the Lightning Rod finally was a twisted and bent piece of useless junk after the third fall, the crowd cheered long and loud. It isn’t that the wrestling citizenry dislike Rod so much, as that they have long awaited the arrival of his doom, which has been a long time coming.

Outweighed some 12 pounds, Bolt not only was the aggressor, but also demonstrated that he can pull as big a handful of hair as any of ‘em. Probably Benny had a trifle of advantage in the fact that Fenton also wears whiskers, which supplies another handle which to grasp.

Fenton won the first fall with a series of dropkicks, and Bolt the second with an arm whip, at which he is exceptionally good. The third fall followed an exchange of blows. At this phase of “wrestlling” Benny proved himself superior Friday night, for his punches were not only straighter, but also delivered with greater accuracy. Again Fenton’s whiskers may have aided in his undoing, for they certainly make a tempting target.

Balk Estes won an interesting and 100 per cent clean match from Al Boyd, a local athlete who has been coming along in fine style in the rasslin’ business. Estes gained his victory in a one-fall match with a toehold, which he neatly took after breaking Boyd’s Indian deathlock. Boyd gave a highly creditable performance, probably his best since he started as a pro.

Bull Keener, a kneeing rougher from Montana, fell victim to George Bennett’s rocking chair leg split in the opener.

All around, it was a good wrestling show, with plenty of exciting moments.

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2 responses to “Thelma Todd Trial Alters Wrestling Show

  1. Rod Fenton was my father; I really enjoy reading and collecting articles about his “wrasslin'” career. Those were some crazy times!

    • Classic Wrestling Articles

      Thanks for visiting the site and commenting. I always love hearing that family of wrestlers have visited the site to read about their loved ones.

      I’ll see if I can dig up some more articles about “Lightning” Rod Fenton for you! 🙂

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