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Those Were The Days 

Have a heart and give our St. Louis Munchkin a star on the Walk of Fame.

Unreal, June 28, 2007

Wrestling happy memories: It certainly was interesting to read Unreal's interview with Irvin Muchnick about his book, Wrestling Babylon, with anecdotes about the wrestling scene from the '80s. But I can go back further, to 1940, when I was four years old and a member of Saint Louis University's Football Dinosaurs. Yes, believe it or not, SLU did play football, as did Washington University in the old MVC back in the dim past. SLU hired Dukes Duford from Marquette to bring football to a higher level and play bigger teams. He recruited from all over the States, and I was offered a football scholarship. To help Dukes, Sam Muchnick offered players jobs as "seconds" to his wrestlers.

At that time, Sam, who operated out of a couple rooms in the old Claridge Hotel, had just won a battle with Tom Packs for the use of Kiel Auditorium for his wrestling programs. It was lots fun. "Tiny" Hunter and I were the biggest, so Sam assigned us to the villains, such as George Zaharias and the Swedish Angel. Naturally they always lost, and it was our job to carry their beaten bodies back to the dressing room. If they accidentally got bloody, the crowd enjoyed their "pain" as we carried them back. Once we got them in the dressing room, they would usually shake our hands and say "See you next time!" as they went to take a shower.

The really fun part is, a refugee from World War I, Ed Vargo, was a new villain but he didn't speak or understand English too well. And since Sam always spoke with a cigar in his mouth,Vargo didn't realize he was supposed to lose. You guessed it: He beat the "hero" and was booed all the way back to the dressing room. I'll never forget those days of wrestling. Bill Bandle, Manchester

News Real, June 28, 2007

Give our Munchkin a star: Chad Garrison's fabulous article "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" shed new light on why Mickey Carroll has no St. Louis Walk of Fame star, even though he is a famous and recognizable St. Louis native who has not forgotten his roots. (I, a St. Louis native all my 54 years, have walked the star path reading about each person along the way and wondered why he was not honored there).

There is a line in Garrison's article that says it all: "[Joe] Edwards says he wrote back to the first few people who sent him the letters but has now taken to throwing the petitions out." Why would Edwards say that he is not a decision-maker for who gets a star when he clearly has the most important step in the process — the decision that makes or breaks a potential nominee at the beginning stage? After all, it is Edwards who decides whose nominations will go in front of the 120-member committee, so that makes him the gatekeeper and the one who makes the ultimate decision of who is even worthy of a nomination.

With all the support that has been sent on Mickey's behalf — not just from we St. Louisans — but from far and beyond (and if Munchkins could mail letters, perhaps even from Oz), why would Edwards ignore everyone's pleas just because he feels a person is not worthy enough? Mickey should have had a star long ago, regardless of whether he was on Spanky and Our Gang, and it is inexcusable that he has been passed by all this time. People equate him with wonderful performances as well as an enormous heart.

He's accomplished so much. He appeared before an August 2006 Cardinals game at Busch Stadium as a famous hometown figure. He's been the grand marshal for local parades and has appeared at many charity functions. In short, Carroll is a figure that many do recognize as our own Munchkin from Oz. In fact, I remember the Muny advertising him for The Wizard of Oz as a top figure when they were promoting that season's lineup because he's so popular. He is truly a delightful and unique human being. What does Edwards have against him, and why would he hold back the letter of nomination "until the last minute?" How rude. Paula Rosmanitz, St. Louis

Ditto that: I appreciate Mickey Carroll's frustration.I have nominated Sheryl Crow twice for the St. Louis Walk of Fame, and I am sure others have as well. But I received no mention of receipt or reason for rejection. Sheryl Crow is from Kennett, Missouri, and spent time teaching in the St. Louis region before launching her music career. Why isn't she on the Walk of Fame — any clue? A story about the walk and the committee would be interesting.

Cynthia Kaye, Belleville, Illinois

Stage, June 21, 2007

Oh, not a beautiful evening: Dennis Brown's review of Oklahoma! at the Muny surmised that people left the show because the show was of poor quality ("The viewers didn't return because nothing that was happening onstage was persuasive enough to compel them to return."). It might be more reasonable to think that, after numerous rain delays, people who had to get up for work the next day reluctantly left because of the hour. Multiple interruptions can also break the rhythm of any production. Perhaps returning to see the play on a better night would have allowed a more accurate judgment. Muny patrons know that weather is always a gamble.

Mary Garrett, St. Peters

Feature, May 31, 2007

But she'll take it: I...ahem...enjoyed reading "The Last Supper?" by Malcolm Gay, although it took me several sittings to get through it. It was repulsive from the start — and that's coming from one who relishes in the taste of the insides of live sea urchins. However, just like turning away from a gruesome car accident only to irresistibly stare at it, I kept flipping back to the story, fascinated. The black-and-white photographs of the food made it look particularly unappetizing. But by the time I got through the article I actually wanted to try the duck tongue, and the next time I see beef tongue on a menu, I just might order it.

Tina Rernard Offner, Maplewood

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