What's This! Wrestling Refs In Tails? 1957


    Ontario MPP Arthur Child took offence to Gene Kiniski and pro wrestling (a farce!) back in 1957. He also claimed that wrestling referees resembled 'some third rate cook in a greasy spoon restaurant' and 'are slapped and pushed around like comedians in a two reel slapstick comedy.'

Child had asked for film from the Thursday night Gardens shows. The crusading MPP wanted to screen the matches in the Assembly to illustrate his charge. Child, of course, singled out Kiniski for particular criticism. He used phrases like 'disgusting behavior,' and 'utter brutality.' And he did not have much respect for the referees either, for allowing 'the sloppy circus-like performance' while the wrestlers 'slapped and pushed the arbiters around.'

At that time the refs wore the rather respectable (by todays standards) clean clinical looking white shirts or 'aprons' with dark pants, often with a bowtie. So as a response to the 'third rate cook in a greasy spoon restaurant' comment, the refs dressed it up a little bit! 

Besides that, there are a lot of local wrestling and boxing years represented in the photo.
  • Sam Gotter: Amateur wrestling standout from the 1930s-40s and ref from the early 50s into the early 60s. 
  • Bert Maxwell: Ref from the mid 1940s into the early 60s. Former amateur star known as the West Hill Terror and later The Little Flower of Uxbridge due to his horticulture expertise. He was a day 1 employee of MLG (1931) as a gate person and other duties. 
  • Joe Gollob: Former boxer became a referee in the early 1950s to the late 60s. Had a couple of heel ref runs around the circuit and took lots of bumps. Classic old days tough guy and Roger Baker's favorite ref!
  • Al 'Bunny' Dunlop: Former star and strongman would first don the officials attire in the early 1940s while still wrestling. He would remain a fixture on the scene right up to 1972. Another tough guy of the day (most were), there are stories about his strength and of shooting on a famous name. *see Gary's bit on Dunlop below. He worked for the Toronto Parks dept. during the day. and had 'forearms like ham hocks' as per Roger. 
  • Cliff Worthy: Another former amateur standout. Refereed wrestling as early as 1934 up until the mid 60s. He also refereed boxing in the early 30s in and around Toronto. Was still around at Frank's 30th Anniversary party (1969) at the Hot Stove. 
More on Gollob at Gentleman Joe Gollob
More on Dunlop at Al 'Bunny' Dunlop
We looked at the whole story on Childs, Kiniski, Whipper at
1957 Childs goes after wrestling- on Slam Wrestling *external link opens in new window

Thanks to Roger Baker

-AC