Dr. Karl Sarpolis was born on August 31, 1897 in Wanamie, Pennsylvania, the son of
Peter and Elizabeth Machulonis Sarpolis. In June 1938, Sarpolis listed his employer on
his Social Security Application as matchmaker Frank Burke at the Milam Building in
According to the Tuesday, February 4, 1936 edition of the Houston Post, Sarpolis "was
married here Monday noon to Miss Vivian Proctor of Cincinnati." The ceremony was
performed by Justice Tom Maes "in the office of Morris Sigel, local wrestling promoter." A
photo of Sarpolis, his new bride, best man Ellis Bashara, Sigel, Mrs. Russell Bonham, and
Maes was printed in the February 6 edition (page 16) of the Post.
The 1953-'54 wrestling war in Texas drew a line between a group of individuals who used
to work together and be friendly with one another since the 1930s. In fact, Sarpolis, who
was married in the office of Sigel in 1936, sold his Houston interests and jumped to the
side of Ed McLemore of Dallas, who was in a bitter struggle against Sigel and the forces of
the National Wrestling Alliance (reportedly on April 25, 1953). But a short time later,
Sarpolis walked away from the wrestling business entirely and bought a motel in Dayton,
Texas. In an August 11, 1953 letter to Sam Muchnick, Sarpolis explained that he was
happy with his new business, especially the fact that he was learning it from the group up.
That letter went on to say how Cal Eaton of Los Angeles sent a message to him about the
situation in Southern California. At the time, Eaton was being squeezed by NWA booking
agents Johnny Doyle and Hugh Nichols, and without access to Alliance talent for his
shows at the Olympic Auditorium. Eaton's business was crumbling fast, and he wanted to
talk to Sarpolis about possibly entering the Los Angeles scene as his booker. Eaton
finally called Sarpolis with an offer, and Karl decided that he'd go out to the coast to look
After getting a firm assessment of Eaton's side of things, Sarpolis explained the problems
in Los Angeles to Muchnick in that same August 11 letter, saying: "The only clear picture I
have is [Johnny] Doyle trying to push Eaton and [Mike] Hirsch out of wrestling. Doyle with
the help of Nichols did the unpardonable thing, changing San Diego from Tuesday to Wed
and then televising the show into LA, the same night Cal runs in the Olympic."
Sarpolis said: "It seems that some people are so money hungry, they will stoop to
He explained that he was back in wrestling, and was going to do as much for Eaton as he
did for Sigel in Houston. Now that he was locked in to the Los Angeles scene and in
charge of getting the Olympic back on track, Sarpolis sent a letter to Muchnick requesting
an application for membership in the National Wrestling Alliance. Sarpolis wrote: "Cal
Eaton and myself are co-owners of the present booking office, located in the Olympic
Auditorium, Los Angeles."
There were already two NWA member-bookers in the Los Angeles area, Doyle and
Nichols, and getting approval for a third was an impossibility.
Sarpolis sponsored an AAU wrestling tournament beginning on March 16, 1956 at the
Amarillo High School Armory. He was also going to pay for the winners to attend the
regional tournament at San Antonio. Dory Detton, the previous Amarillo promoter, had
sponsored the past four West Texas AAU wrestling tournaments.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Dr. Karl Sarpolis Wrestling History
Legends of Pro Wrestling