Meet Jim Londos, Student, Character Reader, Wrestler

Washington Post – December 12, 1934
By Bill McCormick

You know Jim Londos, the mighty man of muscle who wrestles Vic Christy at the Auditorium here tonight? Well, meet Mr. Christopher Theophilus (Jim Londos for short on the mat), the mighty man of mind — Greek philosopyher, pyschologist, physicist, etc., etc.

The scene is a popular all-night rendezvous. The time is a few hours after Jim Londos, the Golden Greek idol, has finished disposing of a youngster apparently determined to strip him of his “world’s heavyweight wrestling championship.” From behind a cordon of beer mugs can be discerned two newspaper mugs, quaffing away the sorrows of the day.

Enter a stock, inconspicuously garbed individual wearing smoked glasses and a slouch hat pulled down over an apparently very high brow. The individual is followed by several persons with “hangers on” plainly written in their every movement.

“Thass Jim Londos, the wrestling champion,” nudged the first sports writer to the other. “Less go over and give him a buzz — maybe he’ll spill some inside dope on the rasslin’ racket after a few drinks.”

The two newspapermen present themselves at the Londos table. De beeg chompeen rises to acknowledge their introductions. The newspaermen get set to repress a snicker at the George Givot accent they feel certain will be forthcoming when Londos opens his mouth.

“How do you do, gentlemen? Won’t you sit down?” says Londos in very precise English like a college professor addressing a first-year class in physiology.

The newspapermen plop into seats at the Londos table from the sheer shock of hearing book English emitted from the front of the mouth. Londos begins to make conversation.

“You,” says Mr. Theophilus suddenly, pointing a finger at one of the sports scribes, “you will make more mistakes than your friend here.”

The writer addressed britstles belligerently.

“Your friend here thinks thing over very carefully before acting — you act on the impulse of the moment. How do I know? By the contour of your head; your manner as you approached our table and the introspective attitude with which your friend has been examining me.”

Then followed a long and learned dissertation from Prof. Theophilus on the science of understanding people. The professor’s theory on the subject is a neat combination of psychology as taught in colleges and phrenology as practiced by the quacks who claim to read character from the bumps on one’s head.

From chracter reading, the discussion switched to theology.

“I am not religious,” admits Mr. Theophilus reluctantly. “That is, not in the generally accepted sense of the term. I do know there is something bigger and better than we mortals here, but what it is I can not say.

“There is nothing to explain the sudden transformation in my character,” Christopher explains. “Always as a child I was the unruly one, the unstudious one. My brothers, they were all scholars, but not I. I ran away from my home near Athens when I was 12 because my father was stern, a very noble gentleman, and insisted that I study, which I could not do.

“When I was 23, one of my brothers — a professor in a college near Athens — died. Almost from that day I became studious. I have never stopped studying and trying to improve myself since. Did the studious nature of my brother pass to me when he died? We shall never know, but it is interesting to think about.”

After running away from his home, young Chris headed for the United States. Being a Greek, he had a friend in the lucnhroom business — in San Francisco. The friend gave him a job washing dishes. When not washing dishes, he wrestled at the Y.M.C.A.

He soon became so proficient that he turned professional — at a time when he weighed about 120 pounds. As he continued to wrestle, he continued to grow, until he finally achieved the status of a light-heavyweight. As a light-heavyweight, he was the “fall guy” for every mediocre hulk heavier in the West. His inability to win a match became a subject for laughter wherever wrestlers gathered.

Without warning, he developed into a heavyweight and as such immediately became successful. By 1929 he was pinning the shoulders of Dick Shikat to the mat in Philadelphia to establish an iron-clad claim to the heavyweight championship of the world.

He has made his peace with his 97-year-old father, who now admires his son for his learning and studious nature. They have only one controversial subject between them — religion. His father, deeply devout, cannot understand his son’s reluctance to embrace an established form of worship. “Wait,” says Christopher, “it may come.”

Londos goes home whenever he can to visit his father. His trips inevitably take on the nature of triumphant returns. Last year a public holiday was declared throughout all Greece so all the Grikk pipple could see the No. 1 Public Idol throw one Kola Kwariani, a Russian. Practically all the Grikk pipple did attend — 125,000 saw the bout.

He was wined and dined by Greek Cabinet members and President Venizclos, but he still found time to drink at the fountain of wisdom that is his father.

Londos is very anxious to enter John Hopkins University to brush up on his physics. The last time he showed in Baltimore, he inspected the institution thoroughly and announced publicly that he some day would study physics there. Which he may do — as Mr. Christopher Theophilus, student. But not while there are millions to be made by Jim Londos, the mighty man of muscle, on the mat.

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