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‘Wrestling at the Chase’ details pro wrestling’s St. Louis heyday

“Wrestling at the Chase” was filmed at KPLR studios in a building adjacent to Chase Park Plaza. It aired from May 23, 1959 to September 10, 1983.
St. Louis Mercantile Library
Most of the “Wrestling at the Chase” episodes were filmed at KPLR studios in a building adjacent to Chase Park Plaza. It aired from May 23, 1959, to Sept. 10, 1983.
Chase Park Plaza’s Kiel Auditorium could seat more than ten thousand people for the more popular “Wrestling at the Chase” matches.
Ed Wheatley
Chase Park Plaza hosted “Wrestling at the Chase” matches.

For more than two decades spanning the 1960s and '70s, “Wrestling at the Chase” regularly drew hundreds to the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Then, on Saturday evenings, hundreds of thousands more watched the matches on television.

Mimi Pultman of University City recalls the program being her grandmother’s absolute favorite.

“The one thing that we always were told when we went to Grandma's house on Saturday night was, ‘Don't bother Grandma — she's watching 'Wrestling at the Chase,’” Pultman said. “Most women at the time referred to their show as soap operas during the week, [but] not my grandma. She referred to her show being Saturday night wrestling at the Chase.”

For wrestlers, the St. Louis gigs offered a rare chance to appear in an elegant ballroom, the hotel’s Khorassan Room. The weekly matches brought in a well-heeled crowd, as historian Ed Wheatley details in his new Reedy Press book, “Wrestling at the Chase.” Tickets were free, but the waiting list often stretched three or four months long.

Wheatley joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the matches and wrestling’s mid-century heyday in St. Louis. Callers also shared their memories of the program, both in person at the Chase and on television.

Related Events
What: Presentation and Book Signing at St. Charles Library
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Cliff View Branch (10 Cliff View Drive, Wentzville, MO 63385)

Details on more “Wrestling at the Chase” events can be found here.

Ed Wheatley joins St. Louis on the Air

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.