Induction: Racket Girls – Sleaze? In women’s wrestling? Impossible.

28 Submitted by on Thu, 30 June 2016, 20:00

Movie, 1951

This week’s topic may just be the oldest thing ever inducted into our hallowed halls.

racket01

It’s older than WWE.

racket02

It’s older than the WWF.

racket03

It’s older than the WWWF.

racket04

It’s even older than the Capitol Wrestling Corporation.

It’s…

…it’s a T&A flick from 1951.

racket96

“Racket Girls”…

racket97

…or, “Pin-Down Girl”…

racket98

…or, “Blonde Pick-up”…

racket94

Note the use of the word, “Glamazon” way back in 1951. Suck it, Online Etymology Dictionary!

…was a 70-minute long excuse for men to look at a swell-looking bunch of dames in basically underwear.

racket05

Its trailer promised a “raw” look inside the dressing room of lady wrestlers, but anyone who believed a movie made under the Hays Code would feature anything of the sort…

racket06

…is about as gullible as anyone who thought the XFL would actually show locker room footage of its cheerleaders, instead of some dumb sketch featuring Rodney Dangerfield in a towel.

The movie opens with five minutes of women’s wrestling featuring no dialogue, lots of rest holds…

racket07

…this bizarre head-scissors orgy…

racket08

…and just about the worst back body drop you’ll ever see.

racket92

A big chunk of this film consists of women’s wrestling footage presented without comment. Take, for example, this match between “Panther Woman” and “Leopard Lady”…

racket10

 …neither of whom is afforded dialogue or additional scenes or an imaginative name.

racket11

Another big chunk of the film consists of various broads with no dialogue exercising in a small gym and showing off their gams.

racket12

The first semblance of plot appears when wrestling promoter Mr. Scalli recruits a new starlet named “Peaches” to be his protege and lady friend after seeing her wrestle in the opening scene.

racket99

Call me crazy, but I swear Peaches’ nickname has something to do with her large breasts. It’s just a hunch (which is what Peaches might develop if she’s not careful with her posture).

Peaches has a problem, though: she keeps getting into situations that require her to take off her clothes.

racket14
Here, she’s getting changed into wrestling gear…

racket15

…which is not, incidentally, the outfit she’s wearing in the next scene.

racket16

Here, she’s taking off her (original) wrestling gear while Ruby, the head tomato at Scalli’s gym, teaches her what a towel is for.

racket17

Here, she’s naked under a towel (a different one) for a massage.

racket18

Here’s, she’s taking off her blouse for an outdoor workout…

racket20

…which consists of jumping rope…

racket19

…and jogging, twenty-some years before the invention of the sports bra.

racket93

Scalli’s underling Joe even shows Peaches a few pointers (and vice versa).

racket95

Peaches also has another problem: she’s really stupid. She refuses to believe her new man(ager), Mr. Scalli, has ulterior motives, no matter how many times Ruby warns her that he only wants to use her (perhaps by casting her in a low-budget exploitation film).

racket22

Ruby even tells her about how he got a friend of hers hooked on pills, then, to pay off her debts, made her a “hostess” at a “cabaret.” He didn’t mean emceeing, either. No, she’d have to make the businessmen customers “feel more at home”, to “keep them company”, “have a few drinks, and then…” While no one outright says the P-word, or the H-word, or the W-word, we all know what they’re talking about.

racket23

Come aboard the Hooooostess Train!

“But, he wants me to be his girl!” says Peaches.

racket24

To be fair, if she didn’t question the cameraman filming her on the rowing machine for twenty whole seconds, you’ve got to expect her to be just a little naïve.

(By the way, what’s with female wresting personalities being named, “Peaches”? “Mad Bull” called his love interest Peaches…

racket25

…Sandman’s wife called herself Peaches…

racket26

…and Eric Bischoff called one of his HLs Peaches.

racket27

What is so special about “Peaches”? Would “Melons” be too on the nose?)

But it turns out this movie isn’t really about Peaches, or any of the other dolls, or even wrestling, for that matter.

It’s really about organized crime. I wouldn’t describe the portrayal as “gritty,” exactly, but it rhymes with it.

racket29

See, Scalli’s management of lady wrestlers is just a front.

racket28

A front for illegal activities, that is, ranging from the aforementioned drug-dealing and prostitution to gambling and money-laundering. And his whole organization is crooked all the way down.

racket30

For starters, says Monk the bookkeeper, one of Scalli’s female bookies is “bucketing” money from bets, a slang term that doesn’t exactly convey discreetness in one’s thievery. Then again, when you look at the size of the cans these girls are already lugging around, would a bucket really stand out that much?

racket31
And you can tell Scalli’s crooked by the way he pays off his bookkeeper after he gets this info. Of course, he’s already paying his salary anyway, but just listen to their tone of voice. You can just tell something not-on-the-level is going on!

racket32b
Monk is crooked, too, as you can infer from shots of him marking cards and tampering with dice.

racket33
Plus, he’s secretly part of a gang run by the shady individual known as “Mr. Big,” from whom Scalli has been bucketing money to the tune of $35,000. Just how shady is Mr. Big?

racket34

That’s him sitting in the shadows with his back to the camera.

Still can’t see him?  Here, let me enhance the photo:

racket35

And you know just about anybody is crooked who calls his boss, “Boss.”

But Scalli himself is probably the biggest villain, not just for pimping out his female talent, and not just for slapping women and threatening to have them beaten up…

racket36

…but for making poor Joe tamper with race horses under threat of peanut-vending. No, seriously. Joe initially refuses to have any part in the shenanigans, claiming he could go to prison for seven or eight years, but he relents when faced with the alternative: selling peanuts at the arena. “Not that! Anything but that!”

racket37

(I don’t know what exactly Joe did to the horse, but I hope there was no “bucketing” involved)

Presumably to win some bets, Scalli tries to pay some lady wrestlers to fix their upcoming match. Those ladies are real-life wrestlers Rita Martinez, from Mexico, and Clara Mortensen, from six inches under Denver.

racket38

He offers each woman a bribe to take a dive, and both times he is flatly rejected.

racket39
And both times, the lady in question delivers a filibuster about the unshakeable integrity of women’s wrestling, one of the few legitimate sports remaining.

racket40b
“You think because I am Mexican that you can take advantage of me,” says Rita, “but I am no fool!”

racket40

And with that, she slams her fist politely on Scalli’s desk and leaves in a huff.

racket40c
Clara tries to convince Peaches to leave Scalli’s gym and vows to run him out of business.

racket41

“You don’t seem to like Scally,” says Peaches. No, toots, ya don’t say! And, with twenty minutes remaining in the film, that’s the last we see of the supposed star.

Next, for a full ten minutes, we see a match between Mortensen and Martinez in its entirety, which ends with a series of really, uh, “gritty” scoop slams.

racket42

Of course, the bout has no relevance whatsoever to the plot, since we already knew it was a legit match with nothing to do with Scalli’s crime business.

All this racketeering catches up with Scalli…

racket43

…as he is brought before a committee to testify in a room so small they could only fit two actors and 48 stars.

When he gets back to his headquarters, he and Joe try to skip town with all the money in their safe without paying Mr. Big.

racket44

This leads to a chase by Mr. Big’s gang.

racket45

Joe gets shot in the head…

racket46

…while Scalli gets shot in his car, shattering a bottle of chocolate sauce…

racket47
…before going to sleep for good on top of a pile of money, with no beautiful ladies.

Finally, Mr. Big’s henchmen are arrested after a shootout with the police.

racket48
So the bad guys die, the other bad guys get arrested, and Mr. Big apparently lives long enough to score a #1 single with “To Be With You”.

And what about the “good guys,” the gals from Scalli’s gym? Who knows.

racket50
You know, for a movie whose sole purpose is to let lonely men from the 1950s look at a bunch of girls’ tight cabooses, this movie sure does have a lot of loose ends.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
28 Responses to "Induction: Racket Girls – Sleaze? In women’s wrestling? Impossible."
  1. Preparation Triple H says:

    Mystery Science Theater 3000 did an episode featuring Racket Girls. Hi-hi-hilarious!

    • ClawsomeMan says:

      Highlight was, when it was near the end of the movie and music finally shows up on the soundtrack, Crow says: “Music?! Why here? Why now? WHY US?!” Classic!

  2. Sean Bateman says:

    This should be reviewed by the Cinema Snob! Bravo, Art for beating him to the punch.

  3. John Cameron Traderat says:

    Well, at least little Lupita can sleep easier at night, knowing that her hero isn’t taking bribes. By the way, did you ever pick a winner of that contest you announced in the last induction? Hey, $5 is $5, man.

    • Art0Donnell says:

      That was RD’s contest. I hope he didn’t bucket the money.

      • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

        You think the Hays Code was strict? That’s nothing, buddy! The Lord Alfred Hayes code allowed for no disparaging remarks to be made about Sugar Daddy or Fruit Stripe Gum.

    • RD Reynolds says:

      Lots of great suggestions last week, but there was one I could legit hear Rude saying in the 80’s, which would be…

      Vastardikai says:
      JUNE 24, 2016 AT 1:13 AM (EDIT)
      Fat, Out of Shape, Orlando Orangutans.

      • Vastardikai says:

        Thanks, so much. I recommended a donation to a documentary about the steel guitar, in hopes to bring it back into prominence. I hope the link I posted in the website part works.

  4. John Cameron Traderat says:

    I take it that the you weren’t as offended that six months ago, the swindling bookie “lived in a cheap hotel room, now (she) has a nice apartment.”

  5. Hulk6785 says:

    Well, that was the cat’s pajamas.

    I have no idea what that means.

  6. The Doctor of Style says:

    Fun to see a “Wrestlecrap: TCM Edition”. Art just needed to narrate this wearing a suit and tie in a studio, a la Robert Osborne.

  7. The Doctor of Style says:

    I looked up this film’s producer, George Weiss, and I see he produced Ed Wood’s film “Glen or Glenda”. He was even depicted in 1994’s “Ed Wood”! Wikipedia lists him under “Possibly living people”, which would make him 94 or 95.

  8. John C says:

    Why can’t WWE Films remake this instead of all the crappy Marine movies. If only they could find someone to play the sleazy promoter, tough casting decision there.

    Maybe Joe knows that “selling peanuts” is the code word the ho-stesses use for what their job really entails and is reluctant to do so again.

    It’s been said before and it will be said again, I don’t know if Peaches could wrestle but I’d like to see her box.

  9. CF says:

    This movie appeared on _Mystery Science Theater 3000_, episode 616:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOFs65bN2bo .

    Given a good riffing, it’s *almost* watchable.

    *Almost*…. >;)

  10. Sperm says:

    I’m thrilled to see this inducted.

    I hope other old movies about wrestling will join it down the road. 1950’s Night and the City and 1938’s Swing Your Lady would fit right in.

  11. Premier Blah says:

    No comment. Except you can ‘see’ it…here.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOFs65bN2bo

  12. Adam says:

    Naturally Mr. Big are in the movie – it’s the only thing that aged worse than their music.

  13. Matt McGovern says:

    This was something totally different! I would love to see something like this again!

  14. RD Reynolds says:

    Long time WrestleCrap Radio fans may also remember when Peaches showed up on one of our progrems.

    FUN FACT: She was actually Mrs. Deal!

  15. Geoff says:

    It isn’t a good film until MIchael Bay gets in there and puts in a whole bunch of explosions. OR when Joss Whedon gets in there by doing his Jossing thing and coming up with swerves and curves that even Vince Russo would be proud of.

    By the way, there were only 48 stars because Alaska and Hawaii at that time had just become states a year before and they couldn’t find any stars to volunteer to be the last two stars on the flag. So you get an old flag and only two actors/wannabe gangsters. God bless America.

  16. Jonathon says:

    Looks like we’ve been needing a “divas’ revolution” for longer than we thought.

  17. Gerard says:

    This movie can easily be remade today starring most of the current WWE divas starting with Charlotte as peaches and going from there the movie doesn’t use that much dialogue so there’s not too much worry about anyone trying to remember their lines. Is that a good or bad thing?? You decide.

  18. Geoff says:

    It isn’t a good film until MIchael Bay gets in there and puts in a whole bunch of explosions. OR when Joss Whedon gets in there by doing his Jossing thing and coming up with swerves and curves that even Vince Russo would be proud of.

    By the way, there were only 48 stars because Alaska and Hawaii at that time had just become states a year before and they couldn’t find any stars to volunteer to be the last two stars on the flag. No stars would volunteer until 1958 or so. Then the draft began. So you get an old flag and only two actors/wannabe gangsters. God bless America.

  19. Geoff says:

    Ooops sorry I didn’t mean to post that twice. I did it yesterday thinking my post didn’t make it but as i scroll up, I see it has. Pay no attention to the man behind the keyboard, he is just an idiot.

  20. Anonymous says:

    MORE GOLDEN AGE INDUCTIONS!

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      There’s really not a lot of footage to work with. This is a movie so he kind of lucked out. 🙂

leave a comment