Wrestle Mania

Chief Kit Fox in the ring

Chief Kit Fox in the ring

I believe the ability to appreciate the talents of others is itself a talent. I arrived at this conclusion years ago, while enjoying the smooth moves of Chief Kit Fox as he defeated his opponents with a tomahawk chop.

In 1956, I stepped forward with my friend Charlie to accept a small rectangle of construction paper as Sandy and Jean Dericco, co-founders of the club we had joined, war-whooped in celebration.

I grinned and examined the certificate I’d been given: a sketch of an Indian brave with a handwritten message written across his chest: “Congratulations! You are now a member of the Chief Kit Fox Fan Club!! Happy wrestling!!!”

The Dericco sisters possessed saintly traits: They received straight-A report cards and laundered their P.E. uniforms every weekend. Blonde curls sparkling like halos, they never gossiped, forgave those of us who did, visited shut-ins, and wept during the assembly that featured a handicapped man who typed with his toes.

I don’t know why these fresh-faced angels started a fan club for the professional wrestler, Chief Kit Fox of Saturday night’s All Star Wrestling. Perhaps they tired of being perfect; maybe they enjoyed watching scantily clad men grapple.

I do know why I joined: free snacks and learning opportunities. I regularly employed wrestling to subdue my sister Barbara when she got uppity. Perhaps I could pick up some pointers.

The club of four gathered in the Dericco home. We flopped in front of the TV topped by a prowling black-panther figurine and waited for the mayhem to begin.

We liked Gorilla Monsoon and Sputnik Monroe, but felt a fanatic attachment to Chief Kit Fox — especially during his grudge matches with Professor Roy Shires.

Kit Fox, beloved by the crowd, entered the arena in a war bonnet to the noisy approval of fans doing the scalper sidearm, one of his specialized moves. His enemy, Professor Roy Shires, strutted toward the ring wearing a mortarboard, graduation gown, and glasses, carrying a fistful of pencils. Inside the ropes he yelled about Western pencil necks, breaking the pencils he carried and flinging them at the crowd that bellowed its hatred of the sissy Easterner.

We club members booed and roared with the crowd, ecstatic when Kit Fox successfully employed his finishing move, the bow and arrow. When he won, we spilled popcorn, spewed root beer, danced and whooped.

On those dark occasions when the Professor won with his bombs-away, a diving knee-drop from the top rope to the chief’s throat, Charlie and I walked home in despairing silence. When Charlie turned off, I walked on alone, thinking I might cheer myself up by sneaking into the house and surprising Barbara with a Bray belly-bomb.

I don’t remember how long we gathered for All Star Wrestling, but I remember why we disbanded: Sandy and Jean were denied TV when their parents overheard the obscenities they shouted after a spectator hit the chief with a folding chair.

I still have my handmade membership card, vivid memories of the brawls we loved, and my belief that appreciating the artistry of others is a worthy talent in itself.

Have any thoughts
about talents you appreciate?
Please leave a comment.








12 thoughts on “Wrestle Mania

  1. Wonderful! You should be offered a position as a sport reporter, you do so much better than the those counting points or goals. I really admire people who can sing not only howling like an ol’ owl like I am able to do…


  2. My grandparents introduced me to wrestling in the early 50’s. Today I look back and wonder why they liked it so much. Perhaps, as you say, it was appreciation for the talent, but the real talent of these men seems to be acting. There is no way a man could take the actual beating that they portrayed. Gorgeous George, with his flowing blonde hair, was their favorite.


  3. Oh how I laughed, memories of my sister and I watching “All Star Wrestling”to our Ma’s dismay. We loved Gene Kiniski, in his blue underpants and non stop talking. Now and then women wrestled, My brother only watched when it was Midgets. It was rumored that Gene Kiniski’s sister had a dress shop in Vancouver, if anyone would not pay a bill she would send her brother around. Thanks Janet for a fun and lovely memory, from Sheila.


  4. Hysterical! My husband and toddler aged son had a short-lived habit of watching equally raunchy WWF wrestling Sunday mornings before church and Sunday School. Of course, they too had their favorites Love it (and you) Laurel;-)

    Sent from my iPhone



    • The picture of your husband and toddler watching WWF wrestling before church made me laugh, Laurel. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I’m also happy with the good news others have sent me about your progress. Hugs.


  5. This was a definite laugh out loud for me! Loved your description of the Derrico sisters and do you really still have your membership card? Also, the idea of being a professor for a wrestler must have not been the most sought after character!


    • I do have the membership card, Cindy, and thought too late that I should have photographed it for the post. I’m glad my description of the Derrico sisters amused you. I made myself giggle when I wrote it—and every word was true.


  6. This is a far cry from professional wrestling but a talent I truly admire is the ability to do home remodeling. We had a hardwood floor installed in our living room this weekend and I was so envious watching the men measuring, sawing and nailing the boards into place—creating a beautifully patterned finished product. How gratifying to have a talent like that.


    • I agree 100%, Rita. We recently did a remodel including new flooring, and I marveled each step of the way at the skill and artistic flare of various workers. But, I admit, I was happy when they had finished and I could start a serious dust-abatement campaign.


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