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November 21, 2012

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BenSix

The hardest wrestler was Les Kellett, whose solution to a poisoned, pus-filled hand was to order a young colleagues to stamp on it. The results were messy.

jamie

I remember that from Simon Garfield's 'The Wrestling'. I think old Jimmy would have steered well clear of Les on his road to light entertainment.

sf reader

The Kenneth Anger mention is masterful. Arnie certainly has come down in the world, hasn't he? Succeeded, and shown up, by Jerry Brown.

I (just barely) remember the good old days, when Jerry's and Linda's tiffs whilst swanning about various African nations were front-page fodder in the Chronicle . . . actually, I'm not sure those are actually my own memories, perhaps they are those pre-memories stitched together from the stories you heard from the family so many times?

Archie Valparaiso

First off, many thanks for the link.

Ah, Les Kellett. Despite his clowning image in his later years, by all accounts he was the hardest of the lot of them, often really hurting his opponents, which was not playing the game at all.

Here he is with Leon Arras, "the Man from Paris", who was - invitably, really - from Barnsley (he was none other than the actor Brian Glover of Kes fame):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_zPH3u65H8

As for my shoehorning Kenneth Anger and Aleister Crowley into the piece, well spotted. Utterly irrelevant, indeed. The truth is it was just a none-too-subtle sop to the lizard kings over at the David Icke forums. They linked to me a couple of times the other day and my hit rate instantly went through the roof. It's a dog-eat-blog world out there, and you have to be grateful for what you can get.

Doug

Les Kellett et al (Mick McManus took the role of the 'bad boy of wrestling') were pretty well known figures back in the 60s/70s - particularly as staples on ITV's Saturday afternoon 'World of Sport'. It was good fun watching it actually, the preening and posturing of pot bellied men in dingy old halls being screamed at by old biddies. In a strange way I actually admired them - being hurt (as I'm sure they were despite it being largely stage managed) for a few quid.

Alex

I was reading that wondering how many Rugby League laikers were working the doors for our Jimmy. If you're in Leeds with money to spend and it's violence you need.

The Eastern European thing is interesting.

johnf

>(Mick McManus took the role of the 'bad boy of wrestling')

Didn't MM lead a double life, being the much hated dirty man of the wrestling halls during the evenings, but during the day living in an extremely neat and bijou residence with his large collection of valuable and exquisite antiques?

belle le triste

I'm hoping to be told that The Three Wrestling Crabtree brothers wrestled as Big Daddy, Big Mummy and Big Baby.

(I watched a Big Daddy/Giant Haystacks live bout in the late 80s, at York Hall in Bethnal Green. It was far from packed, the larger part of the audience the shrilling biddy of legend. One of the other bouts was between Red Ivan and -- from memory -- the Iron Yuppie. Or perhaps the Iron Banker.)

Doug

If anything sums up the difference between Britain and America, wrestling would be a great example. Compare ours with the whole grotesque, overblown and macho crap WWF and the like churns out.

Strategist

Great stuff, guys - Bogbrush.

Can I be iconoclastic and ask, is being a pervo, paedo, necrophiliac necessarily incompatible with being, if not the Greatest Ever Yorkshireman, the Most Yorkshirest Ever Yorkshireman?

Only David Peace can answer that question.

I truly grieve for his poor victims, but deep Savileana indeed.

Shirley Crabtree. You literally couldn't make it up. And they are simply not making any more out of that mould in our present era. Thank God, probably.

Strategist

Also, may I just say, Archie Valparaiso - great handle.

Phil

Bogbrush

???

Tom

"Bogbrush

???"

Reference to the 'From The Messageboards' feature in Private Eye, m'lud.

dsquared

The Eastern European thing is interesting

probly just a wrestling connection; if the guy was called Laslo, then it's a Southeast European connection to the countries that have always dominated the sport rather than anything with a cold war flavour to it.

Archie Valparaiso

The Hungarians who worked for Savile - "László" is the only one I've been able to find a name for, and I don't know how many of them there were - were émigrés to the UK from the 1953-56 uprising. I've no idea why they ended up in Leeds either, although large numbers of other Northern Europeans - mostly Poles and Ukrainians - did settle in the industrial towns of the North after the war to work in the mills.

These particular Hungarians don't seem to have been wrestlers, but rather bodybuilders. The wrestlers that Savile was associated with all seem to have been native Yorkshiremen.

I found it quite striking that Savile and Crabtree always played down how close the non-wrestling connections between them had been. When Crabtree appeared first on Jim'll Fix It and then in Savile's second appearance on This Is Your Life, neither mentioned just how far back they went or that Crabtree had worked for Savile on the doors of his clubs. It's not something either ever denied, but they didn't shout it from the rooftops either.

Richard J

The Hungarians who worked for Savile - "László" is the only one I've been able to find a name for, and I don't know how many of them there were - were émigrés to the UK from the 1953-56 uprising. I've no idea why they ended up in Leeds either, although large numbers of other Northern Europeans - mostly Poles and Ukrainians - did settle in the industrial towns of the North after the war to work in the mills.

A summer job I had in '97 at Watmoughs printworks in Idle was with an emigré from 56 (and also the most foul mouthed man I've ever met) - he'd been a miner, and got out of Hungary not out of any deep political issues, but more because he wanted to get out of the country.

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