Dan O'Mahony headlocks King Clancy before Toronto debut, February 21, 1935: Gary Will's TWH



Future world champion Dan O'Mahony -- billed in the U.S. as Danno O'Mahoney -- made his Maple Leaf Gardens debut on February 21, 1935 to much fanfare. The wrestler was brought to North America by Boston-based promoter Paul Bowser to add some fresh blood to the wrestling scene ... and attract the huge Irish crowds in Beantown. Toronto also had a thriving Irish community, which included promoter Jack Corcoran.

The community also included Toronto Maple Leafs' all-star defenceman King Clancy, who was in the waning years of his hall-of-fame playing career. Clancy gave his support to O'Mahony as a legitimate Irishman, and posed with the wrestler -- billed as 6'2" -- for this picture in the Toronto Star.

In his column the day of O'Mahony's Toronto debut, Star sports editor Lou Marsh described pro wrestling as "sportive entertainment," foreshadowing the term that would be popularized decades later by Vince McMahon and the WWF.

-by Gary Will





Memories of Toronto with Roger Baker: The Fabulous Midgets!

The Fabulous Midgets were a huge hit across the circuit in Ontario starting in the late 1940's. By the boom of the 1950's they were headlining cards in the smaller towns and drawing huge crowds wherever they appeared.

Some including Tom Thumb, Little Beaver, and Sky Low Low would entertain fans all over the province for several decades. Little Beaver had debuted in the area in 1953 and was still wrestling on the M-A era shows in 1983.

This time on Memories of Toronto with Roger Baker: The Fabulous Midgets!







 'Back in the early 1950's this future wrestling photographer became aware of the zany little men, and women that have since entertained several generations of enthusiastic wrestling fans, as well as many folks that just have to see the hilarious moves and stunts that they so skillfully come up with.
Cowboy Bradley & Little Beaver Oshawa 1971

An example of some very funny stunts could go as follows. Little Beaver is standing in front of one of his opponents in the MLG ring, Beaver suddenly points for his opponent the impish Fuzzy Cupid to look up to were he is pointing, Fuzzy does just that. Fuzzy as a reward for his distraction gets a stomp on his toes from Beaver. 

All the while Fuzzy's partner Sky Low Low who is on the other side of the ring holding a tag rope places his hand to his head in reaction to seeing Fuzzy Cupid fall for Beaver's ruse. The fans would erupt in laughter.


Flash forward to the mid sixties having just covered a Thursday night wrestling show at MLG in which the mighty midgets had appeared in a tag team match. It was a warm night and I was thirsty. There was a popular tavern not far from MLG and I soon found myself enjoying a cold one. 


Soon thereafter Sky Low Low and Fuzzy Cupid came into the room, I introduced myself to the wrestlers and we had a great time telling wrestling stories. Sky Low Low was really wound up on this particular evening and had some very interesting stories that he related to, where he had wrestled in so many different countries around the world.

Little Beaver hoists Sky Low Low, ref Gollob Sutton 1968

I asked him if he had concerns when he would be  on the floor of a wrestling venue, that he being the heel wrestler could be attacked by irate fans. The answer was an emphatic yes! 

He went on to relate an incident that occurred in Paris France when an obsessed women hit him over the head repeatedly with a walking stick of some kind. He bled profusely, and had to be rushed to a hospital to tend his wounds!


Sky Low Low related that he probably would have bled out without the prompt medical care that he received. He went on to say that in the heat of the match that he felt no pain even though he  probably got hit a dozen times with the cane.


On another occasion I was sitting in a dugout of the old Maple Leaf Ballpark. Little Beaver was also in the dugout and we got to talking about the vagaries of running a wrestling business. 


Beaver went on to relate the following to me. 'When I began to promote as well as wrestle all I got was complaints, bad working conditions, not enough pay, and on and on so now I don't promote anymore. I wrestle, collect my pay, enjoy life,, and most importantly sleep again at night.'


-Roger



Johnny Kostas, Frenchy Lamont, Lord Littlebrook Newmarket 1967 

Other stuff online

We have contributed Toronto & Ontario info to various sites, books, docs, and other projects since we began this site in 2003. Also some articles around the web including the fine Slam Wrestling, posted below. External links open in a new window.

1957 Queens Park vs Pro Wrestling
The world of pro wrestling has always had a history of conflict with the various sports commissions right from the early days of the sport. Toronto was no different...

Lionel Conacher: Big Train on the mat
Lionel Conacher was voted Canada’s athlete of the half-century in 1950 and most biographies mention his participation in the world of pro wrestling but with little info. It’s time to remedy that...

Dave McKigney: 25 Years Later
A look at the career of Bearman Dave McKigney  aka The Canadian Wildman and his long association with Ontario pro wrestling both as a wrestler and innovative promoter... 

Billy Stack: The Pride of Bowmanville
The 'wrestling farmer' Billy Stack was a beloved star in and around the Bowmanville/Oshawa area for many years and went on to be a long time referee at Maple Leaf Gardens... 

Tim Gerrard: Maple Leaf Regular
At the height of the Mid-Atlantic association in the early 1980's area native Tim Gerrard got to live out his dream of appearing at Maple Leaf Gardens and taking on the biggest stars of the era.
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The Mid Atlantic Gateway has done some great features on Toronto including this one which was a lot of fun. 1982 Tournament Coda: What if Toronto? looking at the NWA Tag tourney that almost made it here. All of their T.O. stuff is at Mid Atlantic Gateway: Toronto

-AC