by Hurley B. Carlisle
In 1950, to my astonishment Ben
Davenport somehow managed to book Joe Louis for Dailey Brothers
Canadian tour. He didn't splash his name all over the wagons
like he had for Doug Autry the previous year. For Joe would not
join us until we crossed the border. As I remember, he splurged
on Joe Louis paper to plaster half the barns and billboards in
Canada. I think that Joe was still plagued by the IRS for back
taxes, as he was for the rest of his life. I don't think he got
any tax benefits out of touring Canada. He was to appear in a
wrestling show that Dailey had been having in previous seasons.
Joe was to be the referee.
We crossed into Canada at Windsor,
Ontario that season. I remember a pretty big house. The
wrestling match was in the aftershow. Previously the aftershow
had been only 25 cents for a ticket. But I think they got 50
cents, maybe a dollar for a wrestling match with Joe Louis
refereeing. We show folks were also eager to see Joe referee
the wrestling. I might mention that Ben Davenport gave Joe the
use of his suite in Sleeper 100. I don't know if Joe had the
whole car or not.
Joe usually had a woman or two
riding along. On the lot Joe was a really nice fellow. You
could ask him for a picture, and he would put up his dukes. You
had something to talk about then. I owned no camera, thieves
were too bad.
The aftershow was like this. The
announcer introduced the show wrestler, a fat guy wearing really
ugly purple tights. They wrestled in the circus ring on a mat
that they spread out. The announcer would say that our wrestler
challenged any man from the audience...one fall to a finish,
Texas style. After a pause our plant would come out from the
audience, with a program in one hand and a popcorn box in the
other. Our plant at first was Tarzan, a Hollywood-type with a
great physique. Tarzan left and was replaced by Carl Barron.
Both were friends of mine. The plant would "be sent to the
dressing room for wrestling trunks". Actually he had them
Then the announcer would give a big
introduction for Joe Louis, and the crowd would go wild, for
this is what they came to see. Joe would come out wearing an
old fashioned undershirt on top so the audience could
After the cheers stopped the match
would begin. The fat guy would start fouling the "towner" right
away. Joe would be counting the house and would not see a
thing. The audience would get noisy----
"Joe! He's pulling his hair!"
"Joe, he's gouging his eyes!"
Joe would keep on counting the
house, ignoring the shouts. Then would come more fouls.
"Joe, he's stepping on his head!
"Joe, he's got something in his
Joe would finally get an inkling of
the dirty tricks of the fat guy. He would demand to see what
was in his boot, with the fat guy protesting his innocence. The
"towner" would be staggering around on rubber legs.
Finally Joe would catch the fat guy
in the act and He would hit him. It sounded like hitting a side
of beef. The fat guy would fall down. The "towner" would
miraculously recover. He would quickly clean the fat guy's plow
for him, pinning him to the ground. Joe would hold up the "towner's"
hand and the match would be over, except for the audience giving
the fat guy hell. He would give them the finger.
Joe left us in the middle of our
tour. I think he went back to fight Ezzard Charles.
We had 2 weeks of paper out on him.
They had a 7 foot brown bear that they put in the ring as
replacement for Joe, a poor replacement. He was muzzled and had
on thick leather slapper gloves. I can see him in my mind's
eye, striding across the ring, dragging his handlers on a big
collar chain. It was funny. Drunks came at him like moths to a
light. He just drew them from the audience and slapped them
silly. Today personal injury lawyers would destroy a show that
would do that.
Alas, the bear could not replace Joe
Louis. Our whole business dropped off and the show folded when
it got back to the US.
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