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  Fri, Feb 8, 2002



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

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 annual reunion.

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," she said.

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 there."

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.

ORDERING DETAILS:

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.

More on the: Cauliflower Alley Club




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