This is one of several TV cash-ins from the “Golden Age” boom and probably the one that’s most worth reading rather than collecting.
Written in 1950 by the TV announcer from the DuMont network, this will no doubt sound familiar to those of you who read my recent review of Dick Lane’s Whoa Nellie! While this is similar in concept, it’s considerably more detailed.
It’s a full-fledged book, albeit only 98 pages, and has considerably more details and articles alongside the pictures of the stars. For example, there’s an article on why wrestling boomed, with the obvious explanations of new stars and TV exposure accompanied by the suggestion that a generation of teenagers had never seen wrestling before thanks to the interruption of the war, and even a theory that wartime action stories had created an interest in hand-to-hand combat.
As well as the expected profiles of wrestlers, the book features articles on specific territories, the longest matches, wrestlers from the pre-war period and even the dangers of trachoma from dirty mats.
It should be noted that two sections, one on wrestling holds and the other a “Wrestling IQ” list of common questions are almost identical to that in Whoa Nellie, the only change being the addition of a few holds such as Buddy Rogers’ piledriver. I’ve not been able to establish exactly who borrowed from who, but I believe the Dick Lane book may have come first.
That aside, this is still a far more substantial offering and its between this and Sid Feder’s Wrestling Fan’s Book as your best bet to track down if you want one book from the era.