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4 19 WRESTLING 1969. The gross will be even higher in 1970. Presiding over the business in Chicago is Robert Arden Luce, a onetime aspiring artist who gave up the bohemian life to become a retouching artist for a catalog firm. The art was hopelessly mundane, and in a moment of desperation, Luce applied for a job with a wrestling promoter, and ended up as press agent for a bevy of female wrestlers. "I wet-nursed them.
Traveled with them. Handled the publicity. Beat off the wolves. Everything." He later took over publication of an anemic wrestling journal, brought it back to health, and supervised the television syndication of wrestling films. But when the financial bloom of wrestling wore thin, Luce turned elsewhere.
He worked for a while as editor of the National Tattler Peanut Butter Orgy! Am I the Lindberg Baby? Half Dog, Half Girl! and boosted its circulation. Then Luce managed "George Ringo, the Wrestling Beatle." It was a clever idea, but George couldn't mount a "convincing win" in the ring even if he came armed with a shotgun. Luce abandoned that dog and was on the verge of moving to Florida in late 1965 when a wrestler persuaded him to take over the fading promotion business in Chicago. Luce is a born promoter, an old fashioned flack. He wears flashy clothes.
Makes friends easily. Has a keen eye for the gimmick. But above everything else, Luce loves the wrestling business, and that means he's concerned about its and his own-image. He feels himself to be an elder statesman in the field, working to bring respectability to a calling badly tarnished by the quick-buck artists who populated the business with freaks and oddities. "Some of the people made this business a platform for comedy and buffoons.
Guys dropping from planes to the field, with ray guns, like men from Mars, with midgets as bodyguards. That kind of stuff. I hope we're thru with those half-assed ridiculous people. I hope that Gorgeous George stuff is dead. "People don't want to see an actor, a buffoon.
They don't want to see something they themselves could do. If we don't have men in the ring that will go after each other and not be afraid to get hurt and risk their backs that's a common injury well, then, people won't buy it." Jjuce concedes that the Beast of Berlin, for instance, is a fabricated character, created by such puff items as: "The violent temper that takes hold of him in the heat of battle, turning him into a WILD BEAST, indicates he may be psychopathic!" But Luce notes, correctly, that Raschke is a skilled The stigma of phoniness doesn't bother the oros. but it i bugs the promoter. 5 I Ctlcaiio Tobun MAGAZINjJ.
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