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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When Andre the Giant Crushed San Francisco: California Action Wrestling Magazine

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 8:00 AM

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At an estate sale last week, I found the January, 1976, issue of Action Wrestling, California's "Official Wrestling Magazine." It's stuffed with asskick the way a cornucopia's stuffed with gourds. Most notable is its reminder that Andre the Giant was a phenomenon of inky, underground image reproduction back when Shepard Fairey was in Underoos.

It also reminds us that -- WWE Raw notwithstanding -- wrestling could at times truly seem raw:

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I don't know my wrestlers well enough to know just who that bloodied chap is. Was this him fresh out of the womb?

(All joking aside, we'll mail our copy of this cool keepsake to the first person to identify the blood-smeared wrestler to us. Thanks!)

There's features here on Ray Stevens, a couple cool photos of wrestlers piled atop each other, and a detailed report and some memorable letters to the editor on the subject of a tag-team "girl midget wrestlers" bout at San Francisco's Cow Palace:

"[Referee Williams] had a heck of a time keeping only two girls in the ring at a time, and when all four were fighting and one of the girls kicked Williams in the rear, he couldn't quite figure out who did it, so he shrugged it off. He got tangled up in the girls again and caught [Marie] LeVeau kicking him, so he just grabbed her and spanked her."

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There's more of that on the next page. But the highlight here is the press shots of that tragic, vibrant giant, who deserved a tribute much stronger than that saccharine/shitty Billy Crystal movie.

Here he is in a forced perspective shot with Pat Patterson. This is how you make hobbit movies!

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Next: More pix, letters to the editor, and a full report of champ Pat Patterson's Cow Palace cage match against "sadistic challenger" Dan Muraco.

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Editor Allan Bolte writes, "There are no rules in a battle-royal, and a wrestler can do anything he feels he is man enough to do." Seriously, except for the missing "e," that sentence could be unpublished Hemingway.

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Finally, here's editor Bolte's full report on all the Cow Palace badassery:


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Follow Alan Scherstuhl on Twitter at @studiesincrap, SF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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