In the days of flaming redheads like Rita Hayworth we could, according to the song in Gilda, “Put the Blame on Mame.” In the present day and the present place (the greater Milwaukee area) the wording might be “Because They Put the Bronze on Fonz.”
It is likely that had not a statue of Fonzie been erected on the Milwaukee Riverwalk there would not be a campaign to build a life-size replica of South Milwaukee’s famous son, wrestler Reggie Lisowski, better known as The Crusher.
Lisowski, who died in 2005, seemed to enjoy life both inside and out of the ring. Legends like a Reggie regimen taking the form of running with beer barrels on his massive shoulders endeared him to fans both near and far from Suds City. Inside the ropes, he and tag team partner Dick the Bruiser used every shady maneuver to get the best of their opponents and bring out the jeers and cheers from the crowds. In 1959 the Novas immortalized the grappler in song, encouraging dancers gyrating to “The Crusher” to do the eye gouge and the hammerlock on their partners.
So far a small amount of the $40,000 goal has been raised through GoFundMe. It is obvious more effort needs to be exerted at the grass roots level if a bronze figure of Lisowski flexing his sizeable biceps is going to become a landmark. Here are some helpful suggestions to induce people to contribute without resorting to the head squeeze.
Children can start their own ComePinMe fundraiser by flopping back on a mat at school, getting friends to slap the mat three times, and then snarling “I wuz robbed!”
Shoe clerks can ask for a donation each time they use a stepover toe hold to put footgear on a customer.
Karate students can temporarily replace the traditional “Kiai” with “Grrrr” as they body slam each other at $5.00 a throw.
Butchers can add a surcharge for each tasty tidbit of Galliformed nape they sell from now until Thanksgiving and growling “Take that, you turkey neck!”
Newlyweds can raise large amounts of money simply by asking everyone invited to the wedding to donate for the privilege of witnessing the couple bend ring fingers back mercilessly until each one screams out “I give up!” instead of “I do.”
Delis could add 25¢ to phone orders received for hero sandwiches as a “Sub Mission Hold” fundraiser.
In an homage to the favorite ploy of diverting the referee’s attention so a forbidden move could be made on an opponent, April Fools’ Day tricks can be employed anytime of the year with the person made to look the other way or to open a door when no one is there compelled to “feed the kitty” as a way to “rush the Crush.”
There will be no griping in this corner if a statue of Lisowski becomes a reality, although I would be more in favor of raising a memorial to a wrestler known for sportsmanship and positive behavior in the ring such as longtime heavyweight champion Verne Gagne. I would willingly contribute to see a sculpture of Gagne placed somewhere in his home state of Minnesota showing him in his famous pose of administering the coup de grâce to one of the bad guys. It may be a long shot; I prefer to call it a sleeper.