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Dale Pierce has written numerous “real books” in the traditional book form over the years, but when he decided to enter the age of electronic publishing and market a book in this format, orderable directly from him, it was an entirely different undertaking.

“I figured if Stephen King could do it, so could I,” he commented. “I’m not Stephen King, but I do have a big enough following where I can turn a profit.”

Profit, in this case, might well be far from Pierce’s primary goal. With his recent e-book release of The Garden Lives, he documents the history of the old Phoenix Madison Square Garden, which held wrestling from 1929 to 1979 in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The building was razed in 2006, amid great public outcry, to make room for an office space.

“What I did was type up an electronic book on the computer, with over 310 pages. I have started marketing it at $3.00 apiece. People send the money to my pickup point and an email; then I send them the text. They may read it, print it up, file it or transfer it to a disk. That is up to them. The whole electronic book concept is new to me, but it definitely makes marketing and mailing easier, even if the concept is something I am not used to.”

Orders are available with checks payable to Dale Pierce, co/ 521 Fair-NW Rear, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663. This is a pick-up point and not his residence.

Though Pierce and his wife have lived in Ohio since 1998, he grew up in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb. He graduated from Glendale High School in 1977.

“I used to go down to the Garden all the time to see the matches,” Pierce said. “Tito Montez, The Comancheros, Eddie Sullivan, Don Kent, plus all the others! I remember them all. The thing is, history has ignored this arena and I have done something to help keep the memory alive. It is not a major project, like some of my other books out here, but something done easily and something I wished to do.”

Over the decades all of the greats appeared at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden, including Lou Thesz, Gorgeous George, Buddy Rogers, Argentina Rocca, Dick Hutton, Jim Londos are Fred Blassie. In 1963, a wrestler named Jim Wright died in the ring there from a heart attack.

The arena in Phoenix also saw a great deal of action brought from south of the border, when Mexican stars were imported from Nogales and Ciudad Juarez on a regular basis.

“The Phoenix promotion had an agreement with Pedro Gonzalez, who ran bullfighting and wrestling in Nogales for many years. Often, he would send wrestlers up to Phoenix for shows and the Phoenix office would send wrestlers down to Mexico. Kurt Von Steiger, Billy Anderson (under a mask as one of Los Mercenarios, The Lumberjacks and Pedro El Grande were just a few of the Arizona stars who went down for Gonzalez and were seen at his Sports Arena, In return, El Mustang, Centrella Negra, Henry Puluso, Gallo Castro and others came up to Phoenix. You’ll find them all in the text as well.”

“One of these days I would like to do a book on the arena down in Nogales too,” Pierce remarked. “That, however, is another story for another time.”

The Garden Lives consists of numerous biographies, varying in length, covering people who appeared at the old Phoenix Madison Square Garden, which was located at the corners of 7th Avenue, Van Buren and Grand.

Dory Funk Sr., Larry Henning (the father of the ill-fated Curt Hennig who died from a drug overdose a few years back), Luis Martinez, Cowboy Bob Ellis, John Ringer, Eddie Sullivan, Cowboy Bob Yuma, Jim Osborn, Chuck Karbo, Count Billy Varga, Dick Daviscourt, Buddy O’ Brian, Danny McShain, Logger Larson, Gory Guerrero (father of the famous Guerrero wrestling clan), Din Arnold, Barbara Galento, Princess Tona Tomah, Jody Arnold, Sputnik Monroe, Bearcat Wright, Dr. Jerry Graham, Pancho Pico, Daisey Maye, Mildred Burke, Jane Sherill, Tony Marino, the Torres brothers, the Garibaldi brothers, John Tolos, Mike Mazurki, The Asssassins, Al Madril and many more.

Ordering information may also be found by going to the book’s My Space page at http://www.myspace.com/rockabillybilly (The strange url is an inside joke) or by emailing the author at [email protected] for data.

Aside from writing, Pierce is qualified as an expert on wrestling from first-hand experience. From 1979 to 1998, he appeared in the western USA and occasionally in Mexico as Mad Dog Marcial Bovee, then alter as The Time Traveler, for which he became better known on the independent promotion cycles. He quit in 1999, after moving to Ohio, but was “suckered back in” in 2003. He still does around 3 shows a month in the Akron area.

“I never actually wrestled at the old garden though,” he explained. “I started as a manager role when I was 21; right after the building was closed down to wrestling. I did of course see tons of matches there and in my high school years, took photos. During the last two years the Garden held shows, when I was attending Phoenix College, I continued to take still shots and write the programs sold at the matches. In those days we used a ditto machine. I sold the programs at a quarter each and sometimes walked away with a bigger payoff than some of the wrestlers when the evening was done.”

Living over 2,000 miles away kept Pierce from coming back to join the fight against demolishing the old arena, which as we know now, was unsuccessful. After the bid to have the building preserved failed, there was nothing anyone could do.

In sad testimony of the arena’s fall, some fans saw an aged figure walking through the ruins if the once glorious stadium. It was one of The Lumberjacks, who appeared on cards from 1977 to 1979. He was on the Garden’s last official wrestling show.

He was sadly gathering pieces of brick from the demolished stadium, to give to his fellow wrestlers as a keepsake of days which were gone forever.

The Phoenix Madison Square Garden may be goner, but wrestling lives on and so does the history of this building in Pierce’s new e-book.