Paul DeMarco - The Hatman

 Paul DeMarco had a long and successful career though much of it happened away from his hometown of Hamilton. He did spend some time in the Toronto mat wars from 1964-1966 and again in 1970 and 1973.
As a child growing up in Hamilton he was stricken with Polio. Long hours of therapy, swimming, and other sports brought him back to health. He went to his first card at the Hamilton Forum and there was a bad guy wrestling as 'The Little Flower Of Italy.' It made him so mad he tried to intervene and got ejected. It turned him off pro wrestling but he went on to compete as an amateur for a few years.

The Little Flower of Italy -Benito Gardini wrestled around here in the early 1950's and was a TV regular. In the Toronto area we had our own Little Flower, the 'Little Flower of Uxbridge' Bert Maxwell. Maxwell got his name as he was a horticulturist, as our friend Roger Baker once told me.

Later DeMarco was at a gym and observed several pro guys in the ring wrestling and challenged them to a 'real match.' He said one fellow obliged him and beat him up so bad he could hardly move for 3 days, so earned a respect for the professionals. That guy turned out to be Ron Logue who broke him into the pro game.

In a Slam! Wrestling story on Logue, he had this to say about DeMarco "He was a natural. He had the gift of gab and the girls loved him. He was a real smooth character," Logue said of the future star. When Paul's chance came to go to Detroit, he didn't have any wrestling boots, so he borrowed Ron's; "I never did get the boots back, because you know what the bugger did? He put his initials on the boots, white leather on top of black leather. P.D.," laughed Logue.
*credit Slam!

Hitting the track
I recently received a note regarding a short lived gimmick that Demarco took part in. Back in 1966 as part of an ad campaign for the Workers Compensation Board (now WSIB) DeMarco, as 'Hatman' the 'Construction Safety Symbol', had a bout against Tiger Jeet Singh.

Hatman won the bout and a re-match was scheduled for the next weeks card but Demarco didn't appear. He didn't return to Toronto for four years in fact. The character was created by Vickers and Benson agency, if anyone has any other info or photos of DeMarco as Hatman please drop me a line.
vs Hans Schmidt
Roger Baker, former MLW photographer, and our never-ending source of wrestling knowledge, took these photos of Demarco in 1965 for a mag story looking at  DeMarco's life as a wrestler and gets the last word.

'He was working for Tunney back then and was a baby face, very good wrestler, and he kept himself in top shape by training at the YMCA in Hamilton. He excelled in a lot of sports, and would hit the weights, as well he played handball, and could jog on a gym track for miles.' - Roger


Thanks to and photos by Roger Baker and credit Slam Wrestling for that bit
Thanks to Ryan O'Connor for the info on Hatman 

Hatman vs Singh May 15 1966