NWA Member: Hugh Nichols
Admitted to Organization: November 26, 1949
Hollywood Office: 6061 Hollywood Blvd.
Phone Number: Hollywood 9-6211 (1955)
On October 13, 1949, Sam Muchnick wrote a letter to Hugh Nichols at his Legion
Stadium office in Hollywood, and explained that a peace accord had been reached
between him and Lou Thesz in St. Louis. Also, that "many of the country's wrestling
promoters" were going to meet in St. Louis on November 25-26-27 and that Nichols was
"hereby invited." Nichols was told that the "National Wrestling Alliance" had been formed
the year earlier by "men in six territories," and by this time, three additional people had
joined. The NWA, as it was explained, was a "cooperative organization designed for
mutual benefit," and so far, "it has proven successful." Members were said to be
Muchnick, Pinkie George, Al Haft, Tony Stecher, George Simpson, Harry Light, Fred
Kohler, Sam Avey, and Morris Sigel. Muchnick explained to Nichols that on November
25, a bout between Thesz and Orville Brown would decide an undisputed titleholder.
Muchnick noted that he believed "the meeting will help the game."
In another letter to NWA members, dated October 13, Muchnick said that Sam Avey
called him "today" and wondered if Nichols would be eligible to join the organization.
Muchnick believed he would be, saying that he was "not only a fine gentleman, but an
outstanding promoter." Muchnick admited that he didn't feel qualified to invite him without
asking the current membership, and wanted feedback.
Early difficulties arose in Southern California in late 1949 between Nichols and Los
Angeles area booker Johnny Doyle. Secretary-Treasurer Muchnick announced in his
January 16, 1950 bulletin that the matter had been solved. Al Karasick, Sam Avey and
Joe Malcewicz sat in on the meeting that reached a proper settlement. Muchnick used
this example to say, "just an idea of what the Alliance can do for the betterment of
However, there was much more to this story, apparently, that few people outside the
small circle knew. Ted Thye, an ex-wrestler and mat rival of Nichols, told a Department
of Justice investigator (6/9/55) that he was in Los Angeles when Doyle and Nichols were
feuding, and because he was friends with both, he helped broker the peace - much more
Thye told the investigator "that he happened to be in Los Angeles and was told by
Nichols at the Hollywood Legion that he, Nichols, had lost $30,000 fighting Doyle, and
could only keep going because he was making a profit in Bakersfield and San Diego.
Thye said he asked Nichols why he didn't get together with Doyle, and Nichols indicated
he was agreeable. Thye said he talked with Doyle the next day, as well as with Cal
Eaton, and that Doyle talked sensibly and Cal Eaton "impossible, as always." Doyle said,
in effect: 'I won't go to Nichols first,' while Cal Eaton said, after hearing that Nichols was
losing money: 'If a man is dead, bury him.' They said he reported to Nichols that he
(Nichols) would have to call first, and Nichols indicated he might do this.
"Thye said that he left town, and Karasick, who happened to be there, atended the
meeting between Nichols and Doyle which he, Thye, had arranged. Thye said that
Karasick wrote immediately to Muchnick, claiming credit for the peace."
The Hollywood TV show that was seen nationally was a striking success for the Southern
California combine. More about the TV situation in the Los Angeles area can be read
In June 1955, when Sam Muchnick was interviewed by Stanley Disney of the Department
of Justice Antitrust Division, the topic of Mr. Moto being threatened by the NWA because
he was going to work for nonmember Johnny Doyle, was discussed. Apparently, it was
believed that Muchnick had called the Hollywood office and might have made the threat
himself. On July 3, 1955, Muchnick wrote to Disney, telling him that he checked his
phone bills "and found that our office made calls to Hollywood, Calif., on Dec. 8 and Dec.
20." He explained that the "Hollywood conversations were mainly on Thesz dates and
regarding Wilbur Snyder, who was being booked by the St. Louis office for Nichols office."
Muchnick continued: "In one of the conversations with Nichols, I faintly recollect him
mentioning Moto as going to work for Doyle and he was very much incensed about it as I
could understand as Johnny had agreed to stay out of promotions there until Oct. 1955.
I remember distinctly telling him that he should consult his attorney, because in my
opinion, it was merely a contractual obligation."
He also stated that: "At no time did I personally call Moto or did he call me."
Research by Tim Hornbaker
February 22, 2011
|Hollywood Booking Office