Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Strangler Taught News Hen a Lesson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Strangler Taught News Hen a Lesson

Article excerpt

Gladys Baker got to see Ed Lewis once.

She said she'd just as soon have caught the measles.

Ed Lewis was a strangler kind of guy. That's why they called

him Strangler. Strangler Lewis.

Gladys Baker did not know this.

Gladys Baker was a news hen, among the best of the breed.

She toiled for the Jacksonville papers in the Ragtime era and

occasionally penned magazine stuff and serial novels. Once, she

socked a giggling fortune teller while he chased her around his

crystal ball, and then she reported that her Momma always told

her to strike a happy medium.

Ed Lewis was a wrestler, among the best of the breed.

They called him Strangler Lewis because he squeezed people's

heads till they hollered Uncle. He was in Jacksonville in

December 1919 to fight Ivan Parinoff, the Russian giant, and the

evening newspaper, considering it amusing, assigned Gladys Baker

to cover the match.

This was merely the most famous wrestling match ever staged

here, before "staged" became the operative word.

Strangler Lewis is still the standard to which wrestling

legends aspire, and Parinoff was not exactly chopped cabbage.

The bout was held at the top wrestling venue in these parts,

the South Jacksonville skating arena.

That in itself was enough to annoy Gladys Baker, who had to

take the ferry across the St. Johns River to get there. She and

absolutely everyone of any significance whatsoever in the

Sporting Life.

The match was the talk of the town.

"The most sensational wrestling match ever held in Florida,"

said The Florida Times-Union.

Not to see Strangler Lewis in action "would be a lost

opportunity to wrestling fans that would be regretted ever

after," said The Metropolis, in an advance story obviously

written by a real sportswriter.

"If there is a wrestling fan who is not going across the river

to see the big fellows, he has not made himself apparent yet."

"She" -- Gladys Baker -- was sent with two chaperones. …

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