A Little Olympic Auditorium Diversion

Today’s USC column supplement focuses on the fact USC had a Shaw in the defensive backfield from 1964-69 and has the back story on the photo above.

Do you remember the Shaws without clicking on the link?

  • I got lost in Olympic Auditorium nostalgia last night.

Here’s a 1972 photo of the Los Angeles Thunderbirds. Was there a more diverse pro team/sport at the time?

LA T-Birds - Los Angeles Thunderbirds Roller Derby

The only thing missing is Ronnie “Psycho” Raines.

Of course, wrestling was the Saturday Night staple.

Dick Lane (TV announcer).jpg

You had Dick Lane (above), Jimmy Lennon and Johnny “Red Shoes” Duggan as the referee.

And then there were the wrestlers: I remember John Tolos, Victor Rivera and Tony Rocco the most.

How about you?

I covered some fights at the Olympic Auditorium in the mid-1990’s and the main reason was just to rekindle my memories of watching wrestling on TV on Saturdays.

32 thoughts on “A Little Olympic Auditorium Diversion

  1. Scott: Great stuff on Dick Lane and the Olympic Auditorium As a young boy my older brother took me to see pro wrestling there. I loved these wrestlers- Crazy Luke Graham, Mr. Moto with his scissor chop to the neck, The Assasssin Tag Team, Gorilla Mansoon and his Agent “Wild Red Berry”, and Mark Lewin with his famous sleeper hold. Dick Lane, was terrific covering pro wrestling and use to say “Oh Nellie” when a wrestler was slammed to the ground. Felix Chevrolet spent alot of money on advertising in those days as did “Lou’s Garage”- “Habla Espanol at Felix Chevrolet. . Don’t ask me where Lou’s Garage was I have never seen or heard anything else about that place in my lifetime since.
    It really didn’t matter if wrestling was fake it was qreat entertainment as was the Olympic which definitely had a unique crowd , and I must say you often wondered whether it was safe. I believe former Charger defensive tackle Ernie Ladd became a pro wrestler after he retired from football.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Scissor chop was truly lethal.

      I’m still trying to find out here if the “Boston egg nog,” the “Body crab,” and the “Hoboken head lock” were true holds. Cuz I put my little 2 year old son in all of them during our wrastlin’ years.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Tommy,

      You are correct, Ernie Ladd, the pro bowler did wrastl’ there. He said if he had a choice, he would have wrastled instead of playing football. I went over this yesterday but I will do it again, you had John, The Mad Greek, Tolos, Fredie, the Classy, Blasie, Mil Mascaras, Rocky Johnson, the father to the The Rock, Tony Atlas, Bobo Brazil, Iron Sheik, and others. Those were wrastler’s. I grew up on them. I liked Freddy Blasie because he was from St. Louis and my parents are from there. I liked the Rock because he was in awesome shape and he put on a great performance. Duggan, the referre was in tv shows playing a bad guy. All this was great. Don’t ever say wrastlin’ is fake. Them are fighting words. They get paid. Helton gets paid, so is he fake? In all truth, these guys were great athletes. Ernie Ladd played pro ball, Randy Savage played for the baseball Cardinals, and to endure being in the ring for 20 to 30 minutes without putting your hands on your knees to catch you breath means you are in great shape. I saw CM Punk on a tread mill for over 20 minutes with an incline of 10 or more. That is a steep hill. He never stopped for a second. I saw Randy Orten work on on weights. That guy is cut.

      Most matches are predetermined, however, they do go through it. I asked one wrestler if they engery is 100% all the time in terms go wrestling and he said yes. He said some punches are held back and some are thrown with 100% force. it depends on the situation.

      Liked by 1 person


    Gorilla Monsoon
    American professional wrestler
    Robert James Marella, better known by his ring name of Gorilla Monsoon, was an American professional wrestler, play-by-play commentator, and booker. Wikipedia
    Born: June 4, 1937, Rochester, NY
    Died: October 6, 1999, Willingboro, NJ
    Height: 6′ 7″
    Weight: 401 lbs
    Spouse: Maureen Marella (m. ?–1999)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Word is that Chris Petersen would be interested in being the Trojans head coach after they fire Helton.

    Forget Luke Fickell, that guy inherited a stacked Ohio St. team and ended up going 6-6. The guy is overrated.

    Urban Meyer won a national championship with Ohio St. the year after Fickell went 6-6.


      1. Yes, he’s totally burned out. But, compared to Clay, he’s the fricking Energizer Bunny…..

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Actually I don’t think he was burned out, seems to me that if anything, he had his heart set on taking the USC job and when it didn’t happen, that messed him up a little.

        Petersen said that he wouldn’t have interviewed with just anyone, but since it was USC, yeah he wanted the job.

        USC is the job Petersen wanted, he said he was hesitant about taking the Washington job. I don’t think his heart was ever really in being Washington’s head coach.

        Pat Haden wanted to place a few coaches on Petersen’s staff if he took the job at USC and Petersen wasn’t having that and declined, withdrew his name from consideration.

        After the interview with Petersen, Pat Haden hired Sarkisian and the Washington job became available and you know the rest.

        Read what Petersen said in the interview with USA Today, USC is yhe place he wanted to be and Pat Haden fucked that up. Here is the link to tbe article. He doesn’t talk about Pat Haden in the interview, he just says things didn’t work out.


        Liked by 2 people

      3. It’s hard to believe that Pat Haden fucked things up…..


  4. Another transplanted Cali friend of mine was talking last night about seeing Punk Rock bands at the Olympic back in the punky 80’s.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was not much of a punk fan, myself.
        But I do always remind my musically inclined fans that the Who–a band most of us would agree was extraordinary–was likely the forerunner for the Punker movement.

        Baba O’reilly/Teenage Wasteland? Fuuuhuhuhuck!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. The Olympic, yes the domain of Aileen Eaton. What a lady, what a promoter
    Boxing was the main focus initially with bouts featuring Julio Caesar Chavéz, Carlos Palomino, Mondo Ramos, Danny ‘Little Red Lopez’ Most of the bouts were featherweight through middleweight.
    They frequently had an under card with heavyweights, one of my favorites was a local boxer “Scrap Iron Johnson” always put on a good fight with some of the up and coming heavyweights. The Sports Arena also had some good Boxing in the day.

    My mother was a die hard fan of the Roller Derby girls … WOW was she!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Scrap Iron always brought it. Danny Lopez was one of the most generous fighters I ever saw — talking and laughing with fans all the way back to the dressing room.
      Roller Derby –yeah! Good call by your Mom!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh man, forgot about George “Scrap Iron” Johnson. JCC, Carlos Palomino, DLRL. Those were the days.

      Roller Derby back then WAS truly outstanding. Some entertaining camp and theatrics, but when they got set up to “crack the WHIP,” WATCH OUT!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bourbon4me,

        Don’t forget the Kinks. Some people say they were one of the orignail punk bands in their time. I love the Who. I ahve seen them 3 times.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi folks, well lets discuss hockey and its probems? the tampa bay wins verus ny 1 to 0 lack of scoring is boring !hockey is one continuious error!and u have montreal in the chamionship series and there record for the season 24 up and 21 loses !!!!!!!they have a flawed system ? Sincerely,Edward

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Eddie
      Hockey’s flaws all started when they all began to wear helmets.
      Stan Mikita was no longer “uncool.”
      I remember Bobby Hull (with no helmet) racing with the puck from one blue line to the other, with his long hair flowing in the breeze.

      Heck, now these guys all have teeth. Uncool.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. My wrestling memory failed me miserably.

    There was no “boston egg nog” hold.
    There was no “body crab” hold (per se).

    HOWEVER, the Boston Crab is a LETHAL wrasling move that usually leads to submission. Do a search. It’s scary.

    Can’t find any Hoboken Head Lock either.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Don’t forget the cobra clutch, the sleeper hold, the four leg whip, the tombstone, the camelback, and others. All great holds and submission moves.


    Then you have the signature sing outs:

    Whatcha ya gonna do when the HULK runs all over you, Hulk


    Rowdy Roddy Piper, he neve had a famous quote, but he was hilarous each and every time when he left the camera.

    Great announcers

    Mean Gene Orkland
    Bobby the Brain Henan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ALL gggrreat memories, PT….


  9. I still watch wrastlin’ to this day. It is in my blood because of my grandpa. I ahve been to many matches and I still geta big kick out of it. I saw the The Rock wrastle one time. He did his talk while the camera was going in the ring. However, after the camera stopped, he was still in the ring enteraining the crowd for over 20 minutes. I thought that was generous, him giving his time to the fans. I love wrastlin’.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. i have great honor and respect for what they did/do. To entertain the fans over 200 nights a year while being injured and awa from their families is incredible. They did this year in and year out. Thank you to all of the wrestlers for putting on a show for us. Much appreciation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll be surprised if that heartfelt tribute doesn’t produce a few tears…


  10. Scooter,

    You touched something in me that I have not thought much for a long time. When you mentioned the Olypmic Auditorium, Dick Lane, wrestling, roller derby, and the rest, it brought back a flood of memories. Thank you for reminding me.

    Liked by 2 people

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