When Andre the Giant Crushed San Francisco: California Action Wrestling Magazine

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At an estate sale last week, I found the January, 1976, issue of Action Wrestling, California's "Official Wrestling Magazine." It's stuffed with asskick the way a cornucopia's stuffed with gourds. Most notable is its reminder that Andre the Giant was a phenomenon of inky, underground image reproduction back when Shepard Fairey was in Underoos.

It also reminds us that -- WWE Raw notwithstanding -- wrestling could at times truly seem raw:

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I don't know my wrestlers well enough to know just who that bloodied chap is. Was this him fresh out of the womb?

(All joking aside, we'll mail our copy of this cool keepsake to the first person to identify the blood-smeared wrestler to us. Thanks!)

There's features here on Ray Stevens, a couple cool photos of wrestlers piled atop each other, and a detailed report and some memorable letters to the editor on the subject of a tag-team "girl midget wrestlers" bout at San Francisco's Cow Palace:

"[Referee Williams] had a heck of a time keeping only two girls in the ring at a time, and when all four were fighting and one of the girls kicked Williams in the rear, he couldn't quite figure out who did it, so he shrugged it off. He got tangled up in the girls again and caught [Marie] LeVeau kicking him, so he just grabbed her and spanked her."

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​There's more of that on the next page. But the highlight here is the press shots of that tragic, vibrant giant, who deserved a tribute much stronger than that saccharine/shitty Billy Crystal movie.

Here he is in a forced perspective shot with Pat Patterson. This is how you make hobbit movies!

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Next: More pix, letters to the editor, and a full report of champ Pat Patterson's Cow Palace cage match against "sadistic challenger" Dan Muraco.

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Don Campbell
Don Campbell

That's so wild!  Years ago I was in Mexico City in an Elevator with Andre The Giant himself.  Andre and I stop and the next floor, the door opens, when much shorter fellow walks into the elevator and lights up cigarette.  Andrea The Giant... Towering over at this guy, in a low menacing tone says, and I quote:"Don't smoke."  The guy looks up at Andre... his eyes wide  & mouth wider still, his cigarette teeters and falls to the floor.  Elevator door opens and the guys B-LINES for the exit.   Andre the Giant looks over at me, & winks with a smile.  I'll never forget that.

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

Atta boy, Joe. If you want the magazine, fire me an e-mail at studiesincrap @ sfweeekly dot com.

Chris Charles
Chris Charles

Great post, Alan. Oh, and as you now know, Joe Marquez is correct. That's a bloodied and then-hairless Don Muraco on the cover. Joe just beat me to it. Well, he beat me to it here, anyway.

Joe Marquez
Joe Marquez

Don Muraco is on the cover.

Jen Sharp
Jen Sharp

Yep. It's Muraco, I think. If you don't want this mag, Joe, I'll take it!

joshuack
joshuack

It looks like George the animal Steele on the Cover.

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