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ethantyler

[1941] Elvira Snodgrass vs Gladys Gillem

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Hidden deep within a newsreel dated May 1st 1941, we discover the only existing footage for either of these women. They were both main event challengers to Mildred Burke's title, which in & of itself makes this a historically important find, but then you add in the intrigue that surrounds Elvira Snodgrass (stemming from her drawing power vs Burke) and you end up with a must watch for all pro wrestling historians.

Elvira, accompanied by her husband and fellow pro wrestler Elmer Snodgrass, is the bigger woman dressed in "southern" clothing. Her name should be familiar to some members on the board. She was a legit main event draw, mostly as a challenger to Burke's title, who intrigued a lot of historians when she was reported to have drawn 19,000 with Burke in Louisiana. That number turned out to be false, it was a total sum for multiple shows, but make no mistake she did big numbers. Highlights include doing 7,123 vs Burke in Louisiana on Feb 11th 1941 and a sold out 5,200 vs Helen Hild (Ted DiBiase's mother) in Denver on Dec 9th 1946.

Gladys "Killem" Gillem, the blonde, is a less familiar but arguably more interesting name. She's known for her role in the "Lipstick & Dynamite" movie documenting the history of womens wrestling. She was trained by Billy Wolfe, husband of Mildred Burke, and thanks to the sexual relationship between the two she regularly main evented shows as a challenger to Burke's title. If this love triangle seems weird to you then rest assured that it was a regular thing for good old Billy Wolfe. Moving on swiftly, Gladys was as tough as they come - working as a lion tamer and wrestling alligators post-wrestling career - and ended up with a cauliflower head due to the years of taking bad bumps. Those bad bumps can be seen in their full glory in the clip (the rope incident is kind of cringe, the dive into the crowd kind of cool). For more info on her I'd recommend Dave's short but intriguing bio in the 24/08/2009 edition of the Observer. 

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