Yes, it’s another boxing story. It’s the third I’ve had published, after Bayamon, 1978 and The Towel. Fourth, if you include Los Angeles, 1952, a 2-part story about a date that takes place at a boxing match. What’s up with all the boxing love?
On one level, it’s simple: I love the sport. My grandfather was a silver medalist in the Canadian Golden Gloves, and fought half a dozen pro fights. My dad and I used to watch together, and he taught me to appreciate the lighter weight classes, as you’d expect from a guy who never really got past bantamweight himself.
A friend of mine once asked, “why do you like boxing so much? Your stories make it sound like it’s all blood and racism and toxic masculinity.” To which the correct answer is; “what’s your point?” If you’re looking for drama and high stakes, it’s a perfect crucible.
But there’s a more”writerly” answer. Each of my short stories is a writing exercise of a kind. Can I capture this moment, or this kind of action, or compress this scene into a specific period of time? Boxing is perfect for these little word experiments. Each round is exactly 3 minutes. You can compress a lot of action into that time period. There are a finite number of characters, which for short stories is great.
Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November.
The stories are a little similar, in that they both take place in the 1950s (at least partly) and are based on semi-historical events and involve Studio-age Hollywood. I gave you a little backstory on that tale in a previous post, and thought I’d do the same for this one.
LA 1952 is the most thoroughly researched short story I’ve done. On the surface, it’s a tale of boxing, old Hollywood, and first dates. In its own way, it’s also a very personal story. Here are some of the tidbits you might not know.
The boxing card that night was real. Using BoxRec, a website for the geekiest of boxing geeks, I found a real fight card for June 7, 1952 at the Legion (later to be the Olympic) in Los Angeles. All the fighters and the results of that card are as stated in the story. Gil Cadilli was a popular LA-based fighter who fought the likes of Davey Moore and Willie Pep in the early and mid-fifties. He was one of “Senator” Johnny Forbe’s proteges… Forbes helped set up boxing programs in East LA and was responsible for a good percentage of the west coast fighters of that period. I have always been a huge boxing fan. In fact, nowadays you can often find me placing bets on websites like FanDuel whenever there is a big fight on! To be completely honest I love the thrill of placing a bet and then seeing your chosen fighter win. There have been quite a few occasions where I have even landed a good payout after correctly predicting which fighter would take home the crown. That being said, as you can imagine, I have watched lots of boxing fights in my time so I have a good working knowledge of this fascinating sport and this came in useful when writing this story.
The details about Monarch Studios contracts are accurate. As stated earlier my wife, the Duchess, is a fount of information about the golden age of Hollywood. She also has a number of friends who are equally geeky. One of them is Gary Brumburgh, a singer, actor and someone who has contributed to hundreds of IMDB bios and articles on the studio days. He gave me the low-down on the small studios like Monarch and all he asked in return was to name the actress Lorna Malone. Seemed like a fair deal. Lorna got her big raise in 1952. Unfortunately, Monarch closed its doors in 1954. I hope she married well.
The Hollywood Studio Club was a real thing and my wife lived there.The studio club dormitory where Patsy/Lorna lived was on Lodi Place between Fountain and Lexington in Hollywood. It opened in the early 20s and remained open until 1975. A number of famous actresses lived there, and literally thousands of wannabes and never-weres. in 1972, a bright-eyed 22-year-old from Miami named Joan Herrera pulled up in her Toyota Corolla planning to be a star. They put her in the room once occupied by Marilyn Monroe. She immediately asked to be put in another room fearing bad juju. She became the actress Joan Dareth, and then the current Joan Turmel.
I sold cars in LA for a short time in the 90s, and that was pretty much my boss. Morrie existed, and he’d have absolutely been that guy.
The final part of the story will be out November 1 in Issue 6. Please read it.