Thursday, September 12, 2013

From The Musty Yellowed Pages--GLOW Magazine April 1988

And now, for something just a tad bit different.  Whether you liked the concept or not, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is a memorable portion of 1980's wrestling.  They were successful, had a large fan base, and are still well-remembered today.  It's actually amazing that Vince McMahon didn't try a similar spin-off product himself.  Some may argue that various concepts seen every Monday night nowadays are done in the same vein as GLOW, but that's not the direction that we're going.  Instead, we're going to dive into what was probably GLOW's biggest merchandising venture, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling Magazine.

Produced independently from any other wrestling publication of the time, GLOW Magazine is a surprisingly well done product.  Tons of color, mostly glossy pages, and high-quality photography isn't something that you might expect from this magazine, but it's all here.  This particular issue, April 1988, is from later in GLOW's television run but is apparently only the third issue of the magazine.  A cross between Mad Maxine and the Road Warriors, the mohawked and painted Beastie is this month's cover girl.  This proves that the folks behind GLOW, while obviously interested in marketing the sexier members of their roster, had no problem highlighting the more vicious of the bunch as well.  GLOW's top star, Mt. Fiji, was both intimidating and one of the biggest fan favorites of the company.  She's featured several times throughout the magazine including a full page color photo with fellow fan favorites Tara The Southern Belle and Debbie Debutante.

Similar to a lot of today's wrestling product, GLOW seemed to have as many skits as it did wrestling matches on their programming.  Many of these skits are shown here and the photos seem to be pulled right from the shows themselves.  A feature titled "Glowlines" highlighted both kayfabed and real-life adventures of the GLOW girls, including television appearances on other shows.  It's a shame that the magazine wasn't around in 1987 when Mt. Fiji and the evil Queen Kong appeared on my favorite episode of "Mama's Family" as the Masked Mabel's tag team.

While the company was initially exclusive to their own television show, the girls eventually began touring.  A two-page full color spread in the magazine announces the GLOW World Premiere Tour which was to begin in January 1988.  Towns in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida are listed as stops on the tour.  By this point, the company was dealing with a lot of new talent which could have made these live shows interesting to say the least.

Although gimmicks and outrageous characters were penetrating the wrestling world everywhere at this time, GLOW seemed to thrive off of them.  The magazine, of course, was a great place to show them off as was obvious with the Beastie cover feature.  Inside we meet many more of them including Colonel Ninotchka, Dementia, and my personal favorite GLOW gimmick, The Housewives.  These two dowdy, cold cream-faced ladies later transformed into "The Heavy Metal Sisters" Spike and Chainsaw, but the Housewives gimmick was much more innovative if you ask me.

As mentioned earlier, this was the era of GLOW in which the company was deciding to go on tour.  Near the end of the magazine, a GLOW Tour Program page is included with a complete rundown of the live events.  All seven matches, participants, and even the intermission are listed here.  This does not seem to be a show-specific program and I'm guessing that GLOW ran the same lineup every show.  In wrestling, the same house show night after night is not a big deal, but it's the openness of it here is sort of shocking, even twenty-five years later.

The GLOW Magazine is a fun product representing a unique notch in '80s wrestling, but it came along a bit too late.  If this is indeed just the third issue, the company's founder David McLane was already building another promotion.  With him went many of the top names including Queen Kong, California Doll, Amy The Farmer's Daughter, and my all-time favorite "GLOW Girl," Tina Ferrari.  Any fan of the WWF "Attitude Era" remembers Ferrari as Ivory, and it's surprising to think that more of these girls didn't end up in the WWF/WWE eventually.  The recently released documentary about GLOW shows exactly where many of these girls did end up.  It's a surprisingly engrossing and touching movie that I'd highly recommend to any wrestling fan. 

The GLOW Magazine issues aren't easy to find, but are worth picking up for a trip back to the neon, spandex, and so-bad-it's-good comedy from all of those crazy Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I second the GLOW doc. I enjoyed GLOW back then.