Sunday Herald – August 16, 1959
By Ethel Beckwith
You Mean YOU Never Been to the Rassling Games, Either?
Ricki Starr – I said RICKI STARR, says to come up and see him at his penthouse – type trailer. This is the truth, girls, and I’m sorry if all of you are turning green.
He also would like to get into the Shakespeare company in Stratford – like a regular Gene Tunney he is. Well, arrival in the rain at K. C. Hall (now known as City Arena) was the lowest point on that site since the Indian Tepees were betrayed by the Mansion-Savers of 1700. Not even the sunny hellos of three cops at the door and the seat-escorting by Promoter Joe Smith, in person, to the ringside gave me the pickup.
* * *
LOOKING AROUND I saw 800 fans – hollering happy fans of all ages – piling in. Evvy Wenzie night this is, paying from $1 to $2.40 these fans do, when they could see the matches all free, I understand, on Channel 5.
Got a minute to hear how this happened? Until last Wednesday when of all things the boss says, “Put a shawl on your head and go cover the wrestling matches at the K. of C.,” I never heard of Ricki Starr. About wrestler games I couldn’t care less.
Why would anybody then expect to meet this here Starr, flip, go to dinner with him as soon as he blots off the shower dew from his Adonis-like anatomy, and sit hours in his Cadillac discussing:
- What he should do with all his money?
- How to handle the mad femme admirers and fan clubs who follow him around from game to game and send him solid gold watches and diamond-studded silver slippers and sequin-covered jackets?
* * *
THESE LIBERACES-in-loincloths got something.
Grandmas said they come allatime. And whole families with small children. Men only holler, the way they do, but the women squeal and scream something marvelous as the shirtless gladiators grandly toss off their robes for navel maneuvers.
I guess it’s their Moment of Truth. Like “Death in the Afternoon” on a late Wednesday night. Well, so if Mrs. Milktoast giz like $2 and forty to look at some real muscle for two hours, she’s entitled.
First thing after we all settle down, Kenny Ackles comes out and is he a honey – you know the type, big shoulders and no waist. And besides all this, he is all covered with esthetic smog. I mean all curly blond hair on his (excuse the expression) body.
* * *
WHO’D WANT to watch TV, even for nothing, when you can’t see everything like you do down ringside at the K. of C.?
So Kenny gets a big hand, but the ladies they’re nudging me, “Wait till you see Ricki!”
“Who he?” I inquire, and they smile, being very kind to a poddy so ignorant but looking like a good soul.
Listen, these ladies they’re intelligent and when they said wait till you see Ricki Starr, they gave it to me straight.
Because here comes the same Ricki Starr looking like an angel, I mean like if Peter Pan went to Parker’s Health School insteada becoming a juvenile delinquent second-story man climbing into people’s jalousies.
Besides everything else, he comes on dancing graceful – what a doll – and that other guy, who-ever he is from Mexico, he don’t have a chance because Ricki is so tricky.
Oh, you shoulda seen it – a ballet dancer who sticks his toe right into the nose of whoever the other man is from Mexico, and toys around and yawns and leaps around the ropes. Honestly, when I think of Ricki, it’s a wonder how flesh and blood women sit around at bingo games. What’s to see in bingo!
* * *
SO RICKI, who will be back here Wednesday night, Aug. 19, comes up all deodorized from the bullpen and don’t he take me out. He’s so friendly, this dreamboat!
And Rick tells how he comes from St. Louis – comes? He ran away from home – went to Purdue U. and studied ballet dancing, but then discovered (and I’m glad) that he was wasting his time in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
* * *
JOE SMITH SAID, and Ricki admits, that he is one of the “Top Ten” in rassle. Means that he makes $100,000 a year and sometimes more. Hasn’t been beat in 1,600 games. Hasn’t even got a wife or a girl friend to grab these lovely take-homes.
No, only a trailer. This is packed full, he told me, with books and records. “I am a well adjusted recluse,” was the way he put it.
You figure out what this is and all I know, I’m invited to stay at his whaddyacallit – 10 days of woods, silence, plenty groceries and Ricki reciting from his favorite book, Thoreau’s Walden Pond.
There were lots of nice people in the crowd – people like Rose Rohlman, Rose Sciortino, Madeline Corbesato, Grace Morehouse, Avco Foreman Kreiser and his granddaughters Janice and Diane, Caroline Pezzella, Mary Burrie, Marie Travers, Theresa Patroccia, Les Rampino, Nick Cockoros, Alphosa Patneude, Stamford’s chief lifeguard Tony Altomare with wife Molly and their children Donna and Brian.
There were a lot of men, too, you see, though why THEY go to these games I’ll never know.
But then I always say, it’s the men do the craziest things.