Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Joe Gollob and the Midget Wrestlers: Classic Photo

Taking a break so will leave with one of my favorite Roger Baker photos. Ref Joe Gollob with Little Brutus, Sky Low Low, Little Beaver, and Jamaica Kid. Believe this is 1966 Roger can correct if so.

The midgets were a regular presence on MLG cards through the 1950's and 1960's, a huge crowd favorite. With all the shenanigans they pulled on the refs it's fitting to have Gollob in there. He was a tough as nails former boxer who would take a lot of bumps from the wrestlers, both small and large. Ahead of his time he even ran a heel ref gimmick on a couple of occasions on the circuit.

Roger talked to me about Joe some time back

"Joe Gollob was my favorite Ref., he had both the size and strength to handle the mat action that he would handle as the third man in the ring. Joe befriended me in the early sixties, and as a result many great opportunities to get interesting wrestling pictures became available to me. We would often make plans to meet on the road and travel out of Toronto to the smaller towns were Joe was to handle the officiating duties.

Joe was a very active man, he used to work at The Globe And Mail in dispatch, as well at one period of time during our friendship he managed a tavern on Dundas St. East in Toronto. He promoted me as the taverns photographer at large, and encouraged me to take pictures of the patrons for the purpose of making a sale to those who would want a picture of their visit to the tavern.

Joe was a great story teller, and he would often regale me with wrestling stories that he knew I would enjoy to hear.

I will relate one human interest story that he and I both enjoyed together, this was probably around 1961, Joe and myself drove to the town of Uxbridge, which is Northeast of Toronto. There was wrestling card that evening that was to take place in the local arena. Joe was to handle the officiating duties that night. 

The main event was Hans Schmidt v.s. Billy Red Lyons, Schmidt was at his most violent self, and was kicking Lyons, as well as pounding on him with his fists, suddenly at the point where the match was out of control, 'The Little Flower of Uxbridge' Bert Maxwell climbed up and into the ring and ordered Schmidt to cease and desist, Maxwell was out of shape, however he could raise his voice at Schmidt and the nasty villain finally backed off, the local crowd went wild, and cheered Maxwell for well over five minutes.

At the time of this event Bert Maxwell had not been a wrestling wrestling referee for some time, of course Hans Schmidt recognized Maxwell and that's why he was not roughed up. Afterward during our drive back home, Joe remarked to me, 'do you know what that meant to Maxwell, being back in a wrestling ring, being the savior referee in front of his home town wrestling fans?', I emphatically nodded in the affirmative."

Thanks to Roger Baker