Proof that my wrestling fixation started at a young age
I got an e-mail a couple days ago from a guy who said that he was going through his collection of old wrestling magazines when he came across a picture of me as a kid in one of them. It was in the wrestling pen pals section, which was a staple of the “Apter mags” in the 1970s. I have the magazine, but it had been years since I’ve seen it, so I went through my own vast collection of wrestling mags and found it.
The cover date for the issue of Inside Wrestling was October 1975, which made me 8 at the time. The first thing I noticed when I looked at my photo was how big the space was between my two front teeth (years of wearing braces corrected that problem). The other thing I noticed was that I was the youngest of the 24 people looking for fellow wrestling fans to correspond with. More than half of them were teenagers, and the oldest was a 29-year-old guy from Flushing, N.Y., who was seeking girls for pen pals. He looked like someone you’d expect to see being grilled by Chris Hansen on “To Catch a Predator.”
Looking at the cover – which showed Superstar Billy Graham and Jimmy Valiant with the proverbial crimson masks – and the ads inside for blow-up dolls and guides on how to pick up girls, I still can’t believe my parents bought those magazines for me.
By the way, you’ll notice that I listed Valiant as my favorite wrestler. This is back when “Handsome Jimmy” was a cocky, bleached blonde who was part of the infamous Valiant Brothers tag team along with Luscious Johnny. By the time he became the “Boogie Woogie Man,” he was far from my favorite.