Mike Mazurki

"When I got started, wrestling was at its peak," he says. "This was during the Depression. Hell, everybody looked up to a wrestler then. Today, they wouldn't care if you walked down the street and did a handstand. They'd look at you and say, 'He's a fruit or something.' But in those days it was an honor to be a wrestler because wherever you went they would sell out the arenas. We walk down the street or stroll into a hotel and we're top banana. Just like the rock singers of today--biggest cars, tailor made suits, best looking dames, top hotels. "Today you have to be some kind of freak. In the old days it was no frills. Oh sure, sometimes we'd put a little spin on things. For example, if I was wrestling you, and you were a favorite, if you got a hold on me, like an armlock, rather than go down with it I would put my foot on the ropes. That would make them boo me. And then they'd start yelling, 'He's yella!' So I might throw an elbow smash into your heart."

Someone out of nowhere asks Mazurki if he wasn't married to some dish in the news, and Mushy is painfully reminded that his wife Jean is in the hospital. When they met, Jean was a showgirl on the Orpheum Circuit, an acrobat and dancer. She had the female lead in a few Sennett features. Unlike Mushy, Mazurki is a grizzly who goes off early at the mention of his first wife--but then Jean had given Mushy's Irishness substance through conversion. His son is the Catholic priest who taught Ilene Segalove video at Loyola University.

"My first wife bamboozled me into marrying her," Mazurki kvetches. "Newspaper reporters got a knack that way. We were married, but I kept traveling a lot, and while I was away she threw parties all the time. She was a boozer. Deserted the kids when they were ten, twelve years old. When I finally got a divorce, the kids said, 'Dad, you're gonna marry Sylvia and we're gonna give you away.' Syl's helped raise them since they were little. We went up to Las Vegas and sure enough, they gave me away ."