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Author Topic: Lillian Ellison's first match?
Old Fall Guy
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Although a now increasingly fuzzy mind seems to recall having seen evidence of her in the ring as early as 1946, a search of my archive now suggests that the earliest record I have of a match involving Lillian Ellison (later Slave Girl Moolah, Fabulous Moolah, et al), at least in the United States, is the following:

Helena MT: July 20, 1948 (Tuesday)
(Civic Center) ... Pat McGill beat Stu Hart (2-0, utc) ... (Ladies) Dot Dotson beat Lillian Ellison (of Ohio) (2-0) ... Swedish Angel beat Jerry Meeker (2-0)

There must be earlier bouts, and someone must have them recorded. Can anyone assist in this search?

"Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate." -- Thomas Jones

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Old Fall Guy
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Mae Young is quoted as saying, in the wake of her longtime friend Moolah's death, that she (Young) trained Lillian Ellison at Charlotte NC in 1949. Perhaps she got the year wrong. Here are some 1948 and early 1949 excerpts from the career record of Lillian Ellison (also reportedly known as "Mary Ellison" early on):

(Harrisburg IL Daily Register, Tuesday, September 7, 1948)

... The athletic show, which included both boxing and wrestling, was the climax of the gigantic all-day Labor Day program sponsored by the Harrisburg Trades and Labor Assembly. In spite of a sea of mud around the ring caused by yesterday's rainfall, the grandstand was overflowing and people stood all the way around the fence. They were not disappointed by the entertainment.

The wrestling matches were something new for most Harrisburg people, who showed much interest in the grunt and groan boys -- and women. There were two matches between men and two misses put on an exhibition that called for much puffing and blowing, knockdowns and rough stuff.

With Omar Hobbs the referee, the three-hour athletic show got under way with a four-round boxing match ... In the wrestling exhibitions, Joe Millich, 218, was given a decision over Al Galento, 210, on a disqualification. Lillian Ellison, 138, won on two falls from June Byers, 148, and the bout between Al Lovelock, 238, and Don McIntyre, 235, was called a draw.

The feature of the first match was the show of temperament put on by Galento, called the "black spider" and a cousin of Two-Tony Tony Galento of boxing fame. Al deliberately got the crowd against him by finding fault with the entire set-up before the bout started; he used "dirty" tactics during the match, and was really a mustached villain in wrestling tights. He had much of the crowd convinced that he really was a sorehead and a cheat and when they booed him, he defied them. He really had his histrionics down pat and they were effective.

The girls grunted and gasped and tugged and pulled and threw each other over their shoulders and slugged and kicked and stomped, with the smaller miss winning on two falls. They even tore off the imported referee's shirt and used the rags to try to choke each other.

The final-match wrestlers could have been called the grappling grimacers because the boys were good at making faces at each other -- expressions of pain. Only difference in the two was that Lovelock tightened his lips when in pain and McIntyre bared his big teeth.

The pounding on the canvas by the man getting hurt was terrific in this match and there was lots of co-operation from the victim who would be thrown over the head of his opponent.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first instance, known to this researcher, of Moolah going over Byers.)

Nashville TN: October 5, 1948
(Ladies) Lillian Ellison beat Nell Stewart

Joplin MO: October 14, 1948
(Memorial Hall) ... Danny McShain beat Jack McDonald (2-0) ... (Ladies) Nell Stewart beat Lillian Ellison ... (Ladies) Violet Viann beat Dot Dotson ... Billy Raeburn beat Speedball Craig

Joplin MO: October 21, 1948
(Memorial Hall) ... Paul Orth beat Jack McDonald (2-0) ... Gene Blakely beat Mike Browning ... (Ladies) Lillian Ellison beat Dot Dotson ... (Ladies) Violet Viann beat Nell Stewart

San Antonio TX: November 10, 1948
(Walkathon) … (Ladies) Lillian Ellison & Violet Viann beat Dot Dotson & Nell Stewart

Charlotte NC: December 13, 1948
(Ladies) Mae Young beat Lillian Ellison dq) … NOTE: This may be the time frame Mae Young had in mind the other day; if so, Ellison’s career was already moving along swiftly, what with her already having flopped such competitors as June Byers, Nell Stewart and Dot Dotson.

Charlotte NC: December 20, 1948
(Ladies) Lillian Ellison drew Mae Young (nc) … NOTE: Two referees were reportedly utilized for this “grudge” match

Omaha NE: February 2, 1949 (Wednesday)
(Auditorium) ... George Temple & Jack Kennedy beat Joe Dusek & Fred Wright ... (Ladies) Lillian Ellison beat Ada Ash ... Ken Fenelon drew Frannie McGill ... Promoter: Max Clayton ... NOTE: Clayton announces he'll show Friday nights over the next five weeks in Council Bluffs, since the Omaha Auditorium is booked for other activities in the meanwhile.

Council Bluffs IA: February 11, 1949
(Auditorium) ... (Ladies Battle Royal) featuring Violet Viann, Nell Stewart, Ada Ash, Lillian Ellison (of Charlotte NC) & Ellen Olson (of Hollywood CA ... Promoter: Ralph Hayes

Nashville TN: February 15, 1949
(Ladies) Lillian Ellison beat Mae Weston

Mobile AL: March 11, 1949
George Curtis & Rex Mobley beat Lou Lapori & Don Aldano (2-1) ... Lillian Ellison vs Mae Weston (canceled) … NOTE: (Scott Teal research) “Lillian Ellison (spelled Allison in newspaper reports) was supposed to wrestle Mae Weston in the main event on March 11th. Ellison sustained a fractured hip in a New Orleans bout the night before (Thursday) and was unable to appear.”

Boston MA: May 26, 1949
(Ladies) Lillian Ellison vs June Byers … NOTE: Years later, Moolah pointed to this date as her “pro debut”

Baltimore MD: May 31, 1949
(Ladies) Lillian Ellison beat June Byers

Mobile AL: June 17, 1949
(Mixed, Ladies) Mr. Who & Lillian Ellison beat Chico Ortiz & Therese Theis ... Chico Ortiz drew Mr. Who ... (Ladies) Lillian Ellison drew Therese Theis … NOTE: This was the first mixed man and woman tag team in Mobile (Scott Teal research)

[ 11-04-2007, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: Old Fall Guy ]

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Chrisbrgstrm from OR
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I have an article from the Columbia, SC The State a December 1948 article that says she made her debut June 1948.

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Claymation Quartermain
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How did Moolah gain so much control over the woman's division? Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't it Billy Wolfe and Mildred Burke who had a stranglehold on it first and then after them Moolah? So how and why did she get so much power?

"Old Time Hockey?"

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Burke was pretty much frozen out after she and Billy Wolfe split. Wolfe carried on until bad health and his eventual death opened the door for Moolah.


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