Wrestling Game Is On The Upswing

Sacramento Union – February 23, 1949
By Bill Conlin

The remarkable resiliency of the wrestling business is being demonstrated on a weekly basis at Memorial Auditorium. Business has never been better, at least in the last five years, and the grapplers are playing to profitable houses every Monday night.

Although the mattress shenanigans are given an occasional lift by the appearance of a swishy character like Gorgeous George, or the visit of a “name” like Primo Carnera, the game in northern California relies on the old familiar faces like Ted Cox, Sandor Szabo, Lee Henning and that ilk.

Cox, although he has been performing in Sacramento for 15 years, never fails to arouse the fans. A meanie in the ring but a shrewd business man otherwise, Cox’ antics have been the means of acquiring a large Lodi grape acreage and otherwise establishing a comfortable fortune.

Although slightly more rotund than he was back in the ‘30s, Cox still can be as fearsome a “villain” as the mat game has produced on the West Coast. He can keep the gallery gods aroused week after week, year after year.

Joe Malcewicz, who books the mat shows into Sacramento, reveals that he hopes to have Gorgeous George back ere long and also wants Primo Carnera to return.

Meanwhile, he is trying to get ancient Jim Londos up this way. The ageless Greek returned to the mat Monday night in Hollywood and won a match in 11 minutes against a character known as Red Koko.

Londos, who still holds the international heavyweight crown he won 20 years ago, is making a comeback to clean out what he calls the imposters who claim they are champs.

Although Londos is vague on his age and tries to pass himself off as a mere 50, the grapplers say that Jeemy is close to 60.

And that would be about right, considering that Londos washed dishes in the old Western Hotel in Sacramento almost 40 years ago. When he was pearl diving in Sacramento, Londos hadn’t turned to the wrestling ring, except for an occasional amateur joust, but he subsequently made a million dollars in the business.

And that, of course, beats washing dishes all hollow.

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