Reading and wrestling
Book fair a hit at Cauliflower Alley
By GREG OLIVER --
for SLAM! Wrestling
LAS VEGAS - It would be unfair to give Mick Foley all the credit, but the
former WWF champ and New York Times best-selling author is a big reason why
the Cauliflower Alley Club
decided to hold a book fair this year at its
Lou Thesz signs a copy of his book, 'Hooker', for a fan. - PHOTO: Greg Oliver, for SLAM! Wrestling
Over 20 different pro wrestling-related authors are on hand to promote their
wares, but it is just as important for the writers to mingle and talk with
the wrestling stars of yesteryear on hand.
In fact, that's the main reason that former AWA announcer Larry Nelson came
down from Minnesota. Sure, he's happy to sell a few copies of his book
'Stranglehold', but it's much more fun to see some old friends. "That's the
main reason I'm here," he said.
Nelson worked on his book for a year and a half, off and on, and found so
much difficulty getting an agent to represent him that he ended up basically
getting it published himself.
Valerie Boesch is thrilled to finally be able to sell her late husband's
book. Paul Boesch's name is Houston wrestling, and before his death in 1989,
he had collected his memoirs into a book. His widow, Valerie, put the story
and the photos together and had it self-publisher, knowing that a publisher
would have been difficult. "A publisher would have taken a lot out of it,"
According to Valerie, who was married to Paul for eight years, the book 'Hey
Boy! Where'd you get them ears? 55 Years in Pro Wrestling' took 20 years to
actually write, but it's totally worth it, and born in the heart of her late
husband. "It's just like he's sitting there talking to you."
Geraldine McMillin wrote 'Wrestling With Life: The Wisdom And Wit of a Woman
Wrestler' about her grandmother-wrestler Mae Stein as a legacy to her
family. "I wanted my children and my grand-children to hear her story,"
McMillin said. The book is in a conversational style, and is full of family
photos. "It was never a commercial venture," she explained.
For McMillin, a treasure-trove of research was an old family scrapbook,
along with the family's oral history. But she's not done working, and hopes
to corner some of the respected historians on hand in Las Vegas for the
convention to find out more about her grandmother and her husband, Lou
Bartel (Young Sandow) who also wrestled in the 1920s.
Irish wrestler Pat Barrett, who achieved much success in North America,
including a run as WWWF tag champion with Dominic Denucci, wrote 'Everybody
Down Here Hates Me' back in 1990 as a quasi-autobiographical story, full of
tales from the road. "It's not for the squeamish," he warned. "I thought
there were a lot of funny stories ... it's a crazy business. You have to be
a lunatic to do it."
Barrett, who stopped wrestling in 1992, found it pretty easy to write the
book. "It's not difficult. You just tell the stories. The stories are all
Royal Duncan, who put out the incredibly valuable 'Wrestling Title
Histories' book with Gary Will helped put the book fair together. He's on
the Cauliflower Alley Club's board, and contacted many authors. As a favour
to some who couldn't make it to the fair, Duncan was selling their books as
well at his table. "It's a cornucopia of books," the Peoria, Illinois-native
said with a laugh.
Some of the others on hand are: Lou Thesz, selling his book 'Hooker'; Ox
Baker selling his cookbook'; Gary Michael Cappetta, the former ring
announcer, who is on a book tour for 'Bodyslam! Memoirs of a Wrestling
Pitchman'; Ted Lewin, famed children's illustrator and writer of 'I Was A
Teenage Professional Wrestler'; David Hofstede, who did 'Slammin!' and 'A
Pictorial History of Wrestling' for ECW Press in Toronto; B. Brian Blair,
who is selling 'Smarten Up! Say It Right'.
The book fair is open to the public at the Riveria Hotel in Las Vegas again
on Saturday afternoon, starting at 1 pm.
Many of these books are difficult to find. Amazon.com has some of them,
including Nelson's book.
Paul Boesch's book is available by calling Minuteman Press in Houston at
713-541-2258. It sells for $29.95 (all prices in U.S. dollars).
'Wrestling With Life' is available for $14.95, plus $3.50 shipping, from
573-635-4209 or 922 Jackson St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. Cheques should
be made payable to G.M. McMillin.
Duncan is running low on Wrestling Title Histories, and said there won't be
another edition. Try his partner's site at www.garywill.com/wrestling
Pat Barrett's book is a little more difficult to get. He suggested online
readers could check with Scott Teal's Whatever Happened To... web site at
www.1wrestlinglegends.com for information.