For those who have been waiting, here you go!
Tracy Smothers and Elvira Snodgrass are now available on Kindle.
Click the book covers below to order the Kindle edition of these books now.
This week only, get free shipping in the US when you use the coupon code “cyberweek” at checkout.
Offer is valid through Sunday, December 6.
Visit the book shop to order your signed copies of Bluegrass Brawlers, The Ballad of Cousin Elvira, The Original Black Panther, Memoirs of Mad Man, and of course, If You Don’t Buy This Book, Everybody Dies!
When I was still working on the Elvira Snodgrass biography, I started thinking about who I might ask to write the foreword for the book. Women’s wrestling has come a long way in recent decades, so much so that it is finally rising to the same level of popularity it enjoyed back in Elvira’s day. I considered some independent names, some legendary names, and a few working for one or more of the major promotions of today. One day, while working on the story about how Elvira went “Hollywood” and left her hillbilly image behind, I knew who to ask.
“Hollywood” Jeanne Basone is more than just one of the original Glamorous Ladies of Wrestling. According to creator David McLane, she was the original, the very first hire he made. And just as the Hollywood was willing to do anything to win in GLOW, the Hollywood version of Elvira turned from the sweet country gal into the ref abusing, do anything to win villain.
Jeanne is an accomplished entrepreneur, actress, stuntwoman, producer, and so much more. She’s also an avid fan of pro wrestling history, and the piece she wrote for The Ballad of Cousin Elvira is a wonderful introduction not only to the lady but the world of lady wrestlers. I’m thrilled to have partnered with her on this book.
I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had “Hollywood” Jeanne ever crossed paths with “Hollywood” Elvira in the ring. Would the old fashioned shooting skills of Elvira make Jeanne submit? Or would the Mando Guerrero-trained Jeanne have the edge? One thing’s for sure. The referee would be lucky to make it out of the ring in anything other than his underwear.
The Ballad of Cousin Elvira can be ordered now on Amazon.com. Signed copies can also be pre-ordered if you click here.
Never heard of Elvira Snodgrass? Neither had I. She passed away in 1956, and most of the ladies who survived her seem to have simply forgotten her. In her prime she was the number two woman in professional wrestling, second only to Mildred Burke. She was beloved as the hillbilly babyface and hated as the nasty, rule breaking, ref abusing heel.
Elvira Snodgrass has been a fascination of mine for a long time. Her story will inspire you. More than that, it will entertain the heck out of you!
The Ballad of Cousin Elvira is now available on Amazon! Click here to order your copy.
If you want to pre-order an autographed copy, shipping mid-August, click here.
Search the Internet long enough, you can find about anything.
Today, I finally found footage of Elvira Snodgrass wrestling.
It’s in the newsreel video below, as posted on Youtube.
Skip ahead to the 6:14 mark and enjoy.
Elvira was quite the brawler. Love the moment when she shoots her opponent off the apron into the crowd.
Also… she was a redhead. Learning something more about her every day!
In 2018, Eat Sleep Wrestle LLC became an officially registered company.
We released Dr. D David Schultz’s autobiography, Don’t Call Me Fake.
We released Mad Man Pondo’s autobiography, Memoirs of a Mad Man.
We released a revised version of Louisville’s Greatest Show with expanded biographies of Stu Gibson and Elvira Snodgrass, among others.
We revised and rereleased Lord Carlton’s biography.
We also released this delightful little kids book in collaboration with Hy Zaya.
I produced a short film in conjunction with my long time friend and collaborator Ally LaBar that got a lot of love.
And there was also this one with Hurricane JJ Maguire and Sonny Burnette.
I attended numerous shows at the Jeffersonville Arena hosted by Pro Wrestling Freedom, Paradigm Pro Wrestling, and Terry Harper, among others.
I attended the first two standing room only Midnight Girl Fight shows.
Dr. D and I attended several wrestling events together including Heroes and Legends in Fort Wayne, Rocket City Wrestling Con in Huntsville, SICW in East Carondelet, Illinois, and Starrcast in Chicago.
Hurricane JJ Maguire and I took in the first ever Richmond Pop and Comic Con.
I attended the Hall of Fame induction weekend in Waterloo, Iowa.
And oh yeah… I went to this little independent wrestling show called ALL IN.
Hard work in 2018 has led to three exciting opportunities in early 2019. Two new books will be released: the first in what we hope will be a series with the Bomb Shelter, and the biography of the Black Panther Jim Mitchell.
I will also be attending the Cauliflower Alley Club with Dr. D in April/May.
2018 was great. 2019 is looking even greater.
Thank you, readers, fans, wrestlers, promoters, referees, and friends. Happy New Year.
Someone on Facebook recently posed an interesting question: if you had a wrestling time machine and could go back to see any wrestling match, what would you go back to see?
I didn’t have to think about my answer. As a hug fan of the Black Panther, I’d want to go back to the night he is most famous for: the night he and Gorgeous George incited a riot at the Olympic Auditorium. Then I got to thinking, what other matches would I want to see if I could return to any night in wrestling history?
Here are my top five, in order:
August 24, 1949, Los Angeles. Gorgeous George vs. The Black Panther Jim Mitchell at the Olympic. George was one of the biggest heels of his day, and the Panther was a beloved star. On a hot summer night, George went too far. He tossed Mitchell from the ring and refused to let him back in. One fan jumped in the ring to give George some payback, and George leveled him. In an instant the entire crowd was on its feet, and a riot raged on for hours. Mitchell and George escaped to the back, but several people had to be hospitalized. One woman even sued George and Mitchell for her injuries. I have the program from that night and a letter summoning Mitchell to answer for his part in the riot that evening. They are the prizes of my wrestling memorabilia collection.
February 1, 1944, Louisville. Mildred Burke vs. Elvira Snodgrass at the Columbia Gym. If Mitchell is my all time favorite grappler, Elvira is a close second. I’d love to see the greatest women’s champion of all time against the toughest, meanest, scrappiest heel she ever faced in front of a hot Louisville crowd. This wasn’t the only time they faced one another in Louisville or the biggest crowd in Louisville to see them do battle, but it was the night they were the main event attraction. How incredible would it be to see Heywood Allen chomping on his cigar, overseeing the action in the Columbia Gym?
Jerry Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman in Memphis. The Kaufman/Lawler feud is one of the most fascinating stories in wrestling history, both for the in-ring action and the behind the scenes machinations. It’s the greatest work of the modern era and a blueprint for how to do kayfabe in an era when kayfabe is supposedly dead. Some how, some way, I’d have to have a ringside seat so I could see the back and forth after the match with Danny Davis telling Jerry that Andy will pay for the ambulance.
The Road Warriors vs. The Midnight Express, Night of the Skywalkers. Cornette has been a friend and a great asset in my research of Louisville wrestling history. The scaffold match was far from the best work either of these legendary tag teams did, but just to see it all unfold and watch poor Jimmy slip through the arms of Big Bubba (RIP) would be priceless.
When Hero Met Punk, IWA Mid-South, Clarksville, Indiana 2003. Before Punk made it to WWE or even Ring of Honor, he had some of the greatest battles in the modern indy era with Chris Hero, now NXT’s Kassius Ohno, in front of one of the most passionate crowds in wrestling today. Matches like these are the reason CM Punk said his ideal place for Wrestlemania would be the old warehouse in Charlestown, Indiana, where many of their brawls took place. This particular match went almost 93 minutes, and for the last 15-20 minutes, the entire crowd was on their feet. Watch this, their Tables and Ladders duel, or their 60 minute brawl, and join me in hoping that when Kassius Ohio reaches the main roster, WWE will make amends with CM Punk and give these two one last battle – at Wrestlemania.
Honorable Mention: The 1951 Derby Eve Show, Jefferson County Armory, Louisville. I’m going to cheat here, but this has to be one of the greatest cards ever presented in Louisville. Francis McDonogh, who took over the Allen Club from Heywood Allen in 1947, made the annual Derby Eve Show and the Police Benefit Show that took its place a monster even every year. Have a look at the card and tell me you wouldn’t want to be one of the 8000 in attendance that night:
Wild Bill Longson vs. Dutch Heffner
Bill Longson, Fred Davis (of the Chicago Bears), and Freddie Blassie vs. Ivan Rasputin, Stu Gibson, and Dutch Heffner
Mildred Burke vs. Mae Young
Lou Thesz vs. Green Dragon