Sacramento Union – January 19, 1955
If this piece reads more stuffy than usual, there is a reason. We’ve been hobnobbing with British nobility.
“Meet Lord Blears,” said Frank Malcewicz as he ushered us into the dressing room at Memorial Auditorium. “He’s the only authentic nobleman in the wrestling ring today.”
Malcewicz himself believes that the lordship business is no fake. He was being sincere.
We didn’t know whether to kiss, curtsy or cut ice. But His Lordship made it easy. He stuck out his paw for an American handshake.
“I say now,” His Lordship responded, “I’m very glad to meet you press fellows. Have a seat. I will be delighted to give you an interview.”
The Lord was in a state of dishabille and apologized. He had been lacing on his wrestling shoes, but he still wore shirt and tie. We had caught him in a condition of ‘alf and ‘alf.
His Lordship, due in the ring in a matter of minutes, propelled himself pell mell into the business at hand.
“Mr. Malcewicz is not quite right,” he said. “There is one other genuine British nobleman in the American ring. He is my good friend, Lord Layton. Unfortunately, Lord Layton has been injured and was unable to wrestle for more than four months. He was involved in a six-man tag team match, and one of the bounders stuck a thumb in his eye. He suffered a detached retina, but he will return to the ring. He is an authentic lord. All the rest are imposters. They saw my success and they copied me.
“Myself, I am Lord James Ranicar Blears. The title has been in my family for hundreds of years. It started in 1170. My father is Lord James Edwin Blears, and, as the oldest son, I inherit the title.
“I was born 31 years ago in a little town near Manchester. I served in the British Navy and later in the merchant marine. I first came to this country in 1944 as a radio officer on the Dutch liner Nieuw Amsterdam. I made my first wrestling tour in this country in 1944 and then I came here again in 1950 and have been in the United States ever since.
“I am an American citizen now. I took out my citizenship in 1951. I own my own home in Pacific Palisades, down south in Los Angeles. It is a fine home with a swimming pool. I have many famous neighbors. Jerry Lewis of Martin and Lewis lives nearby. So does Mario Lanza. And Charles Laughton and Esther Williams.
“A title has no meaning in this country. But I had the court change my name to Lord James Blears. The lord now is part of my legal name. The judge who handled the matter got a kick out of it. He said I was being knited by an American judge and consequently was becoming the first American lord. Ripping, eh?
“Yes, I am married. I have one osn who is 6. If he lived in England he would be the Right Honourable James William Blears. Over here, I can’t call him anything but Jimmy. He’s an American, you see. Actually, his mother is an Italian girl.
Lord Blears had by this time taken off his civilian pants and was putting on his wrestling doublet. He was asked if American audiences were inclined to ridicule his regal pretensions.
“They don’t ridicule me,” he replied, “because I am a very good wrestler. But they do try to antagonize me. They call me names. ‘You dirty limey,’ they say, ‘why don’t you go home?’
“American wrestling fans seem to think I shouldn’t be in this country. Of course, they don’t know I am really an American citizen.
“Over in England the fans don’t scream and shout the way they do here. They may hiss somewhat, but they certainly don’t try to tear down the balcony and throw it at you. There is a great difference in the public in England and over here.
“As for my title, I am prepared at all times to prove its authenticity. I can produce documents and statements to show that I was born a lord.
“A lot of fans, finding out that I am now an American citizen, ask why don’t I drop the title. Well, I can’t. My name is known. It was as Lord Blears that I achieved a worldwide reputation. I’ve wrestled in Australia, in South Africa, in Hawaii and all over Europe.”
By this time Lord Blears was groomed for the ring. He reached in his valise and removed a monocle.
“I wear the monocle into the ring,” he explained, “and then I take it off and give it some deserving fan. I have to provide a new monocle every night. It is quite an expense.”
His Lordship left the dressing room and went into the arena. Sure enough, the throng yelled, “Ya big limey bum, why don’t ya go back to London?” We sat down with Frank Malcewicz. The latter has no regal blood. Originally he was just a poor Polish kid from Syracuse, but now he and his brother boss the wrestling industry in northern California, nobility and all. Real nice fellow, too. Great country, America.