NWA Member: Rudy Dusek
Admitted to Organization: November 25, 1950
New York City Office: 1650 Broadway
Phone Number: Columbus 5-1452, Columbus 5-0891 (1955)
NWA Member: Joe "Toots" Mondt
Admitted to Organization: October 23, 1950
Corporation Name: Manhattan Booking Agency
Corporation Officers: Joe "Toots" Mondt - President, Rudy Miller - General Manager, Milo
Steinborn - Matchmaker (all prior to March 1952)
New York City Office: Holland Hotel (351 W. 42nd Street)
Phone Numbers: Circle 6-8174, Circle 6-8175, Circle 6-0700 (1952), Plaza 7-5124, Plaza
Corporation: Manhattan Booking Agency, Inc. (1952-54)
Press Agent: Len Casswell
NWA Member: Ignacio "Pedro" Martinez
Admitted to Organization: March 1952
Corporation Name: Manhattan Booking Agency, Inc.
Corporation Officers: Joe "Toots" Mondt - President and General Manager, Ignacio "Pedro"
Martinez - Chairman of the Board of Directors
New York City Office: Holland Hotel (351 W. 42nd Street)
Cable Address: Momistoots - New York
Dusek's booking territory included Jamaica and Binghampton, New York, Camden and
Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Wilkes-Barre and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had close ties to
the Johnston Family.
Mondt booked Madison Square Garden, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Winter Garden,
Kingston, Hempstead, Spring Valley, Newark, Trenton, Columbia Park, Washington D.C.,
Ridgewood Grove (in 1948-50 time-period)
Mondt had close ties to Ray Fabiani of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago, at various
It was suspected that the only reason Mondt applied for NWA membership in late 1950 was
because he was feeling a pinch in New York City, and needed the Alliance. Prior to that,
he'd brushed off the idea of joining the organization, and, according to one member, even
ridiculed the NWA on occasion. Although he attended the 1949 convention in St. Louis, and
could see some of the positive aspects, Mondt was a big shot from New York, and didn't
require the association of the Midwest group until his own problems had been magnified.
But at that time, in 1950, Mondt was engaged in providing opposition to NWA members in
Chicago and Houston, and Fred Kohler wanted the Alliance to deny his membership.
Adding Mondt, though, was a significant milestone because it was adding one of the most
important booking agents in the country, and further aligning all top wrestling promoters into
one union. It was more important to have Mondt, Bowser, and Haft in the group than punish
any of them for working against Kohler or Morris Sigel. Kohler resigned from the NWA
because of these issues, right around the same time Mondt was being accepted in.
The Manhattan Booking Agency, Inc., with offices at 351 West 42nd Street in New York City,
was incorporated on January 30, 1952 by Richard H. Sackoff, Irene Dmocher, and Emily
Argue. The paperwork for incorporation was filed with the State of New York on February 4,
1952, and a $50 fee was paid ($10 for tax and $40 for filing). Peter A. Lauria, attorney with
offices at 152 West 42nd Street, prepared the forms. Dmocher and Argue were the public
names behind silent partners, one of them being "Toots" Mondt. Dmocher's address was
152 West 42nd Street, which maybe indicates she worked for or with Lauria.
The Manhattan Booking Agency boasted the "World's Greatest Wrestling Attractions" and
was Internationally Affiliated with contacts in the U.S., Dominion of Canada, South America,
Australia, Mexico, South Africa, England, France, and China.
Ignacio "Pedro" Martinez bought the Manhattan Booking Agency from Mondt in early 1952,
and obtained membership in the National Wrestling Alliance. The deal may have been that
Martinez had a "half-vote" along with Mondt, giving both of them a place in the organization.
In May 1952, there was some discussion that Bill Johnston Jr. had broke from the New York
office and took Kingston, New York. That city, which Martinez claimed belonged to him, was
reportedly being booked by Ed Don George of Buffalo - Martinez's former partner.
Fed up with the lackluster wrestling scene, Martinez sold out of New York, and resigned from
the NWA on January 10, 1953. He sold his interest in the company back to "Toots" Mondt,
Kola Kwariani, and Antonino Rocca. In 10 months, however, Martinez had only received a
small percentage of the money he was owed, and finding it nearly impossible to get the rest.
When Mondt and the Manhattan Booking Agency went bankrupt in April 1954, it still owed
Martinez more than $19,000.
The New York Booking Agency was badly mismanaged, seeing that there was nonpayment
to wrestlers and promoters complaining about the booking they were receiving. In Baltimore,
the promoter dumped Mondt completely for another NWA member because of the horrible
conditions. There were also protests from Anthony C. "Bert" Bertolini in Eastern
Pennsylvania. Mondt's inability to handle money and his contribution to local gambling
establishments, including horse-races, were affecting the entire territory, and solidifying its
complete and total demise.
Mondt was in desperate trouble. A dire need for talent in the summer of 1953 left him with
no other choice but to arrange a booking deal with Fred Kohler to bring television stars to
New York from Chicago. Kohler was generating a wealth of money through his national
distribution of wrestling across the DuMont Network. Over and above any other professional
wrestling on a local scale, Kohler's operations were featured prominently from his Chicago
headquarters, and his grapplers were now required in cities from coast-to-coast. With the
abundance of publicity television provided, wrestlers wanted to be on Kohler's shows, and
many formerly successful booking agents - Mondt included - were in need of Kohler's help in
a big way.
Mondt needed Kohler's workers at Madison Square Garden, and after talking with the
Johnston Family, agreed to a deal with the Chicago maestro in September 1953. Kohler's
workers would also appear at the White Plains Civic Center and at the St. Nicholas Arena.
For years, Mondt was responsible for booking wrestlers into Baltimore for promoter Ed
Contos. Shortly after the 1955 NWA Convention, Contos dropped his affiliation with Mondt
and Jim Crockett, and started to bring in workers from Al Haft in Columbus. According to
Sam Muchnick's September 15, 1955 letter to the Justice Department, Mondt was "furious"
about the situation, and sent a letter to the Alliance Grievance Committee. Muchnick told
Mondt over the phone that any promoter had the right to use whichever booker they wanted,
and that they had eliminated the protection of territories from the NWA By-Laws.
In the late 1950s, ex-wrestler Frank Judson may have worked in the booking office of "Toots"
Mondt at the Holland Hotel in New York City.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
January 1, 2011
|New York City Booking Office