Monday, March 8, 2010

Fall Guys Chapter 18

Happee New Year

The year of 1934 dawned throughout the United States as a happy one, indeed, for the new main combination. While Jack Pfeffer and the Johnston brothers fumed and ranted in their tents, and their club became empty, and the principal matmen withdrew to other territories or went over to the Jack Curley offices in the Fitzgerald Building for bookings, Jack Curley, Ray Fabiani, Tom Packs, Ed White, Paul Bowser and “Toots” Mondt got together and signed articles which extended the scope of activities from coast to coast and gave to the combination a bigger field of activity.

During a Federal Court trial in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, April 1st, 1936 (which we shall touch upon in more detail later), it was shown that the aforementioned partners signed a partnership agreement at the time of the new merger-which virtually gave the group a strangle hold upon the wrestling game in the United States and Canada.

Inasmuch as Mondt and his partners at once set about an interchange of talent with Henri De Glane in Paris, Atholl Oakley in England, and Earl McCready in Australia, it can be deduced that the new mat trust had a headlock on the sport throughout the world. For without wrestlers, a promoter cannot run, and Mondt and partners had the talent.

However, Londos was not one to rest upon mere contracts. While his name was not affixed to the partnership contract, yet he was very much in the wrestling picture when the merger came about. Chicago’s Ed White acted as Jimmy’s inner operative, Londos sensing that his future wrestling reputation might be jeopardized, should he make the mistake of signing an agreement which might later fall into unfriendly hands.

He, however, did obtain a cash deposit of fifty thousand dollars, contributed jointly by Mondt, Fabiani, Packs, Bowser, Dusek, and Lewis, that he would not lose any matches while he wrestled under the new combine’s aegis, or if he should lose, the fifty thousand dollars would be declared forfeit.

The object of this cash bond was threefold. It gave Londos a chunk of money to hold as a guarantee of faith. It guaranteed Londos protection in case of a double cross on the part of any or all of the partners, and it kept the partners from becoming unmanageable.

Mr. Pfeffer waxed indignant when the new group formed and left him out in the cold, and he repaired at once to Dan Parker, New York Daily Mirror sports editor, into whose ear he poured out his story of the mat trust machinations, at the same time calling attention to the fact that he, too, was no lily white and had participated in the money grab during the Londos era of big gates.

“Them thiefs is stealin’ and onless dey make me ha partner, den I won’t play. I vant to steal vatches too if dem guys are goin’ to rob the jewelry shop,” Pfeffer shouted.

Quoting the loquacious M. Pfeffer again:

“Londos trusts no one and has $50,000 in his pocket as a forfeit from his recent enemies, in case they cross him up and let one of their group throw him.

“Londos will not wrestle anyone in a shooting match. Under the new agreement he will retain his title until they give him enough money to make it worthwhile losing.”

The new trust partners not only snickered but guffawed aloud while Pfeffer shrieked his charges of double dealing and cold decking on the part of the mat trust. Pfeffer exposed the Londos era of fakery, but the trust shrugged its shoulders.

“We’re so strong now nothing can stop us from making money,” Ed White said.

It’s always fair weather when good fellows get together, and the new wrestling trust, greater in numbers, finances and talent than the trust once controlled by the mighty Sandow, began making programs as rapidly as possible.

With every important heavyweight wrestler under the new trust’s thumb, Pfeffer realized that not only were his clubs expensive burdens, but he was also in the position of standing on the outside looking in while juicy profits poured into the coffers of his enemies.

In the parlance of gangdom, Pfeffer became a copper and blew his whistle. In written letters and statements to newspapers he revealed the inside workings of the wrestling business.

The august New York State Athletic Commission, seemingly unaware until then of the vast manipulations in the wrestling industry, ordered a probe of Pfeffer’s allegations.

Packs, White, Miller, Londos, Fabiani, Shikat, Pfeffer, Lewis, Curley, Bowser, Browning and Mondt were ordered to appear at a Commission meeting to answer several questions. Pfeffer arrived with his lawyer, Jeremiah O’Leary. Commissioners Brown and Phelan conducted the probe for the State Athletic Commission.

The investigation had hardly gotten under way before it was apparent to Counselor O’Leary that the new trust’s tacticians had again outsmarted Pfeffer. Rudy Miller was introduced as a surprise witness for the trust. Also an affidavit from Miller was placed in evidence in which the trust received a whitewashing.

Miller had double crossed Pfeffer by jumping back to his former partners’ side of the fence. Attorney O’Leary began questioning Miller. It soon became apparent the latter’s testimony was at variance with the whitewashing in his affidavit.

At this point in the proceedings, Commissioners Brown and Phelan ordered a recess to consider evidence. And that was the last ever heard about the great wrestling probe.

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