Royal Welcome For New Rassling Mob

San Francisco Examiner – January 31, 1961
By Prescott Sullivan

The State Athletic Commission has rolled out the red carpet of welcome for a new rassling mob.

With the commission’s blessing, the new outfit has settled down in Oakland’s KTVU where last Friday night it put on its first televised studio show.

Four or five other televised studio “come on” productions will follow.

Then, when the territory is thought to be properly receptive, the group will move into the Civic Auditorium or Cow Palace for a non-televised, all-paid “master show.”

Villainy keynoted the first of the build-up presentations. It appeared that the management was giving away prizes for dirty tricks.

One of the winners was a particularly despicable character. A professional stinker of all-pro stature, one might say. His job was to make televiewers loathe him. This he did in grand style.

To make sure there was no slip-up, he stated his position in a ringside interview after the match. “I hate the Bay area – the weather, the people, everything about it,” he declared.

Then he stood back and leered into the TV camera. A real artist, this man.

Roy Shire, an ex-grunt and groaner from the Midwest (Detroit-Cleveland), heads up the new group. Closely associated with him is John Horn, formerly of Long Beach.

Regularly established promoters – such as Joe “Waffle Ear” Malcewicz in San Francisco and Ad Santel in Oakland – resent the intrusion.

They figure the newcomers will glut the market with rassling and ruin the game in this neck of the woods. As old and respected residents, they had hoped the State Athletic Commission would protect them from “invasion.”

It would seem that Santel, for one, has a beef coming. For years, Friday night has been his “night” to show in the Oakland Auditorium.

Now, at first asking, the Commission is allowing the new guys to put on “live” TV shows in Oakland in direct competition with Santel’s Friday night time schedule.

In our book Santel has a right to complain of shabby treatment.

Tax-wise, the new guys are getting in for peanuts.

On regular rassling shows, for which there is a paid admission, the State exacts 5 per cent of the gross.

This tax, of course, cannot be applied to TV studio shows for which there is no paid “gate.” Thus, the newcomers are in for free, except for a licensing fee of $25 a show.

This charge, half of which goes to pay the salary of a commission appointed inspector, also is demanded of the regular promoters, in addition to the 5 per cent tax bite.

Over the years, rassling has contributed more to the State in taxes than has boxing. The percentage is down at present, but the rassling tax still amounts to about half of Commission-collected revenue.

Obviously, a Commission policy of permitting non-taxable TV rassling shows to endanger established tax-paying rassling clubs does not figure to increase the State’s income.

Are the big-hearted Commissioners prepared to make up what their generosity may cost the commonwealth.

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