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GUEST COLUMN: Going to the mat with Leaping Larry was poetry in motion

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Bob Boulton

Bob Boulton

Back in the day, Sundays were as tricky as a figure-four leg lock.

If I scooted home from church and no relatives were coming for Sunday dinner, I could make it just in time for Wrestling from Chicago, and there see Gorgeous George, the Human Orchid, toss Georgie Pins into a booing crowd.

Thursdays were Motor City Wrestling time, hosted by Lord Athol Layton, who, I later discovered, had lived in our own Toronto neighbourhood. My wife was, and remains, singularly unimpressed.

Saturday afternoons brought Big Time Wrestling, often with Leaping Larry Chene — the master of the flying head-scissors. Chene would somersault through the air, wrap his legs around an opponent’s neck and flip him to the mat for the count.

Was there ever anything so beautiful and so dangerous?

But it was Wednesdays, right here in Sarnia, at Kenwick Terrace, that were especially special.

One week, The Sarnia Observer announced a lineup that featured Sarnia’s own Tuffy Truesdale, the dastardly Sheik and — one could hardly absorb the news — Leaping Larry Chene in battle with Percival E. Pringle.

Hands on hips, the swaggering, bleach-blond Percival E. Pringle was a villain through and through, from his black shoes to his withered soul.

And I would be there to see it:


It was a Wednesday night in April

A hot and humid Sarnia spring

There were planets in alignment

Shooting stars and everything.


Us, downtown there on Christina,

There was Dad and Wayne and me

In the Kenwick Terrace dance hall

Up above the A&P.



Dad dealt us out our tickets

Hope jabbered in my brain

That night when Percival E Pringle

Would wrestle Leaping Larry Chene.


Righteousness was, oh, so simple

Chene was good, Pringle was bad

No uncertain moral indecision stood

In line with me. And Wayne. And Dad.


Our seats were cold metal chairs

We didn’t bother to complain

For that night Percival E Pringle

Would wrestle Leaping Larry Chene.


First Sarnia’s Tuffy Truesdale

In an inter-species round

Fought his stalwart black bear Victor

Who threw Tuffy to the ground.


The Sheik then ‘camel clutched’ some good guy

Then roared “Ah-oo Ah-oo” at Wayne

Who had yelled just once too often

That we wanted to see Chene!


There was glory, now forgotten

There was greatness, grit and pain

The night that Percival E Pringle

Wrestled Leaping Larry Chene.


No victory for our Larry that night

Pringle punched him, pulled his hair

Did the ref not see the cheating?

Did the ref not even care?


We left, stung, sore and disheartened

The thumping heartbreaks still remain

The night that Percival E Pringle

Defeated Leaping Larry Chene


Bob Boulton is a Sarnia writer and the creator of a blog for new and renewing writers,

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