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 - Rich Tito

Bob Luce has been a part of the Chicago wrestling scene going all the way back to the mid 1950's. Before becoming promoter and general manager of The Chicago Wrestling Club, Bob was the ace photographer and writer for Wrestling Life magazine. Some of his articles and pictures were also used for The Wrestling Revue magazine. Bob was also used as a referee in the Midwestern wrestling area. Rumor has it that Bob met his future wife, pro woman wrestler Sharon Lass while working as a referee for one of her matches.

His best known work though, in my opinion, was as Chicago promoter and general manager of the old Chicago Wrestling Club. When Dick the Bruiser and Wilbur Snyder took over the Chicago promotion, Bob was brought in to run the show. Verne Gagne came in a short time later and Bob continued to be the figurehead of Chicago wrestling.

Bob had the talent to make a preliminary match sound like the beginning of World War III. His bombastic delivery and genuine enthusiasm made his TV shows work as they developed a cult following back in the 60's and 70's. Fans of those days remember very fondly all of Luce's interviews, studio skits and antics. Bob was truly ahead of his time. He was among the first, if not the first, to use background music while clips of his matches were shown on TV. 

These were forerunners of today's music videos.

There was never a person who was more fan friendly than Bob. He was always approachable and took the time to talk to you and answer your questions. The International Amphitheatre, Hammond Civic Center, The Sirloin Room where his prematch dinners were held or any of his great spot shows were all places that Bob could be found just talking with the fans.

It was Bob's idea to open The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in the southeast corner of the Amphitheatre. This was a really interesting place for the fans to visit before the matches. He was always at home there as the old movie clips would run and he would narrate the matches and tell all kinds of stories as the film rolled on. Ox Baker, Moose Cholak, Jimmy Valiant, Pepper Gomez, Ray Stevens, Ernie Ladd, Red Bastein, Wilbur Snyder, Dr. X and Nick Bockwinkel were among the inductions that I attended and all were packed with fans as both faces and heels would drop their ring persona and sign autographs.

A personal story with Bob. In 1968, two friends and I bought Bob some kind of handkerchief set and gave it to him before the matches in the Amphitheatre. After some small talk and thanking us he took my name and address and said that he was going to send us front row tickets for the next show. Two weeks later, just as promised, 3 first row seats arrived in the mail and we were the envy of all the Itty Bitty Bruiser fans in the neighborhood. Front row seats compliments of Bob to see The Vachon Brothers take on Crusher and Bruiser. It doesn't get any better than that. I'm sure Bob would never remember that story but I will never forget it.  More...

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