Monday, March 8, 2010

Fall Guys Chapter 17

Love's Old Sweet Song

The ways of the “heathen Chinee” may be dark and devious but the schemes of wrestling manipulators are indeed beyond reckoning.

“Jeemy” Londos and his henchmen began rearranging their forces to smash Mondt and his partners. They couldn’t do it by straight wrestling and mat promotion so they aimed at the eastern combination’s pocketbook. Politics may make strange bedfellows everywhere except in wrestling.

Londos might never have reached second base in his efforts to buck Mondt if an unfortunate automobile accident hadn’t taken most of “Toots’” time. It occurred in Toronto, Canada, where “Toots,” while driving to his hotel, in his own car, hit a machine, the collision killing the occupants in the other auto. Mondt was tried in the Canadian courts on a manslaughter charge and had to take time out in addition to fight several damage suits. By the time he was adjudged blameless, he had spent about $300,000.

Knowing that Jack Pfeffer was the financial emir behind Mondt, Bowser, Lewis and Curley, the “Golden Greek’s” backers began wooing the little Litvak.

Londos, master con man and two-faced charlatan, conducted secret conferences with the messy Hebrew who was furnishing the bankroll for his partners to combat Londos at every turn.

Beneath Pfeffer’s dirty shirt burned the fires of ambition. He wanted to be the number one man in the New York picture. He wanted to promote in Madison Square Garden and have the glory of those four-column half-tone cuts which New York newspapers so generously contributed to Jack Curley whenever he ran a mat carnival either at Madison Square Garden or the 71st Regiment Armory.

Pfeffer refused to listen to Londos until he proved his good faith by dumping Rudy Dusek, the Greek eastern manipulator.

Londos, through Tom Packs and the Johnston brothers, found no difficulty in doing this. Londos merely waited until Dusek went to Omaha for a brief vacation and installed Bill Nelson, assistant hooker to Dusek in Rudy’s place. When Dusek returned, he found the Londos wrestling headquarters moved to different rooms in the Hotel Lincoln and his personal effects in the hotel storeroom.

When Pfeffer was apprised of the changes Londos had made in the eastern booking offices in order to testify as to his good faith, the “Halitosis Kid” lent more attentive ear. Londos knew just how to play up Pfeffer’s many-sided characteristics.

He pointed out that Pfeffer could come into his organization, be the big eastern manipulator, crack whip, and when Mondt and his cohorts were brought to their knees, Jack Curley would be thrown by the wayside and Pfeffer installed in his place as the Greek wrestler’s official New York sponsor and promoter.

“We have had a long talk with Jimmy Johnston and President John Reed Kilpatrick of Madison Square Garden,” Londos told Pfeffer. “Mr. Kilpatrick has assured me we will have the Garden in the fall for our wrestling promotions. I’ll turn the Garden over to you and you can be the big man in New York City. Go along with the Johnston brothers for a time and after you are established as the big promoter here we’ll throw out the Johnstons and you’ll be top man.”

Londos was plotting a double cross all around. Pfeffer was to play a traitor to Mondt, Curley and Lewis, and in turn Londos played heel with Dusek and the Johnston brothers.

Londos and his pals were playing the old wrestling game of ring around the rosy.

Pfeffer became a partner in the Londos organization and began booking his clubs, The Ridgewood Grove and Bronx Coliseum from the offices of Charley Johnston, Londos’ eastern manager. Pfeffer says he and his partner, Rudy Miller (who also became afflicted with financial cold feet and had aligned himself with Pfeffer), each posted two thousand five hundred dollars with Londos as a guarantee of good faith on their part. Londos and his associates, of course, weren’t required to show their faith by posting coin of the realm with Pfeffer.

Pfeffer’s quick overnight jump from Mondt, Curley and Lewis to Londos and his supporters, stunned Mondt only temporarily. “Toots” sought out Rudy Dusek and sold him a partnership in his organization for twenty thousand dollars. What went with the partnership has always remained a somewhat hazy idea. A partnership seemed to include Dusek’s privilege to call himself a partner and supply twenty thousand dollars to continue to fight Londos until such time as a better deal came along.

Dusek’s contribution to the partnership, however, was Dusek, his brothers, Leon Baklin, a hooker, whom he won over from the Tom Packs group, and Sam Segal, southern promoter and booker.

As future events shaped themselves it developed that while Dusek paid twenty thousand dollars for a partnership, it was only an interest in Mondt’s share of the business and did not include any financial claims Curley, Lewis and Bowser might have. It was probably one of the most stupid business arrangements any person, whether a wrestler or businessman, could make.

Though schooled in the ways of the wrestling double-cross Dusek smiled serenely and walked into the trap.

The blame for future events that occurred in the wrestling factions’ double crossing of Pfeffer rests squarely on Pfeffer’s own shoulders. He was by no means a novice in the grappling business and was well aware of the larceny, deception, fraud, trickery and double crossers common to the so-called sport.

With Pfeffer and Miller’s joint five thousand dollars bond resting in his pocket, Londos sailed for Greece to see his ailing father. White and Packs quietly began negotiating with Lewis, Mondt, Paul Bowser, Curley and Rudy Dusek. Here’s how Pfeffer first got wind of the fact he was about to be forced out of wrestling. He says: “While Londos was in Greece I booked my clubs with the Londos group’s wrestlers.

“I received no word from White or Packs and I began to grow suspicious. There had been reports in the New York Enquirer that there was to be a new deal in wrestling with the Londos and Curley factions deciding to make up.

“Right there, I knew that I was being double crossed. If I had any lingering doubts, they were dispelled when I heard Curley, Mondt, Bowser, Dusek, White, Packs and Londos had a peace meeting at the Pennsylvania Hotel. All members of both wrestling factions left me and Charley Johnston out in the cold and merged into one big happy family.”

It was Londos himself who supplied the key to his reason for pushing Pfeffer out of the heavyweight mat picture.

Pfeffer sought several conferences with Londos and finally cornered him one morning at the Hotel St. Moritz.

“Listen to me you dirty little bum,” Londos said to Pfeffer. “I’m even with you now and you’re out in the cold. I said to myself I was going to get even with you that night in the Hotel Paramount, when we were discussing a match with Shikat and you called me yellow. You got away with it then, but now you’re out of the wrestling business. You supplied the money for the Joe Savoldi double cross in Chicago, now go out and see how far you can get. I’ll see you broke yet, and in the breadline.”

“Ya, ya, you big bummer,” shouted Jack. “Yat hall drink your blood, you lousy Grik bum.”

“Start drinking,” replied Londos, “but get out of my room. The new combination is going to make money.”

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