[Item #64128] Wrestling As You Like It. An Exclusive Wrestling Publication [20 Issues, Dec. 8, 1949 to April 27, 1950]. PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING, Dick AXMAN, POPULAR ENTERTAINMENTS.

Wrestling As You Like It. An Exclusive Wrestling Publication [20 Issues, Dec. 8, 1949 to April 27, 1950]

Chicago: Wayli Publications, 1949-50. Twenty original weekly issues in original wrappers. Quarto (30.5cm x 20.3cm); pictorial paper wrappers, each issue 6 to 8pp; photo illus. Occasional creases, small losses at margins (none affecting text or images), a few issues fragile, with partial separations along folds; still about Very Good overall. Comprises Vol. II, no. 15 (Dec. 8, 1949) through Vol. II no.35 (April 27, 1950), lacking only no. 21 within the run.

A representative run of this scarce weekly publication, which would appear to be the first periodical devoted to the promotion of professional wrestling in America. Editor and publisher Dick Axman (1891-1969) remains a legendary figure from wrestling's first Golden Age, one of the sport's first serious promoters and the editor or publisher of several other wrestling periodicals through the mid 1960's. Each issue is illustrated with photographic portraits of the sport's early stars, including "Gorgeous George" Drake, Gypsy Joe, Chief Don Eagle, Farmer Marlin, and others, as well as coverage of matches and promotional ads for upcoming bouts, nearly all in the Chicago area which during this period was the epicenter of pro wrestling in America.

The rise of pro wrestling during this period coincided with the advent of television as a widespread medium. As popular entertainment, wrestling seemed ready-made for early TV: bouts were cheap and easy to televise, filled with made-up drama and story lines that made few intellectual demands on a mass audience seeking distraction from growing global tensions following WW2. And television proved an ideal medium for sustaining the sometimes convoluted plot lines of bad blood, conflicting personalities, and antisocial behavior that wrestling depended on to build its fan base. The current run of issues, all from the magazine's second year of publication, come just on the cusp of this change – television broadcasts are mentioned regularly, but the bulk of advertising is still for live events – and thus provide a fascinating picture of the interplay between the new sport and the new medium.

Wrestling As You Like It continued in publication until the mid-1950s, but it was always a locally-distributed, small-circulation periodical (the masthead for the December 8, 1949 issue claims a "guaranteed circulation" of 7,000 copies). Add in the fact that it was printed on cheap paper and distributed mainly to a working-class audience, and it is no surprise that OCLC locates only two institutions with any holdings (Chicago Historical Museum and the University of Notre Dame, each of which own fragmented runs).

Price: $650.00

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