boxing in the dark
Stupid...maybe...but, it was different and the people went nuts over it.
And...after all what else is required to have a successful business?
"Just get em in the tent," the old Circus Master would say. "I'll do the rest."
Henry M. Quill thought up the idea and the name. At first they just smiled when the story was told at the gas station or the grocery store. But, the idea stuck in their minds..hooked them better than a trout in a cold stream.
Then when the opportunity arose to tell the next person, it was passed on... and on, so when the big night arose there were more people in line than seats available.
"Henry M. Quill is bringing 'Boxing in the Dark' the theater."
"Who's Henry M.Quill and what the heck is 'Boxing in the Dark'", filtered from mouth to mouth?
"I don't know but for five bucks I'm sure going to find out," were the words that followed.
Johnny Edwards, fresh out of high school and looking for some easy money, came up with the idea while at a professional boxing match in Chicago.
Johnny Edwards (now the show master, Henry M. Quill) made his first killing before the doors even opened by selling hot dogs and Sarsaparilla.
Calling Sarsaparilla by it's correct name created an old western main street boxing atmosphere.
"Johnny's gone crazy," someone whispered.
"It's not Sarsaparilla. It's Sasparilla and it's really only root beer."
"No, it's Sarsaparilla. You've never learned how to say it right."
"Maybe he's spiked it," one of the teenagers hoped.
Realizing that everyone in town was going to be there, most came early to make sure they would get a seat in the small theater. They had plenty of time to buy all the "Henry M. Quill" hot dogs and Sarsaparilla available.
When the doors of the theater finally opened there were at least 30 different opinions of what "Boxing in the Dark" was actually going to be.
Naturally the one most favored was a fight between two men. But, what two men? It couldn't be anyone from town because all of them were in the crowd.
When the crown entered, the theater was completely dark. Johnny would only let them through the curtain that went into the lobby one at a time and he made sure that they slid in quickly so that once inside it was totally black.
He had a loud speaker and as he sold his tickets he explained that once they entered there would be no light. So as each person entered, they groped in the dark until they had found somewhere to sit or to stand.
As each person eyes became accustomed to the dark they could make out two figures slumped over in the opposite corners of the boxing ring.
When the house was full, strobe lights came on flashing red and white so the figures seemed to belong to an eerie house of horrors. Henry M. Quill strutted around the ring announcing the fighters.
"In this corner, in the blue trunks...the amazing Brock."
A murmur rustled through the crowd, "Who's Brock? Do you know Brock?"
"In this corner, the undefeated marvel of West Hampton...and wearing the red shorts...the one and only... Kid Harrington."
Again the crowd wondered about the fighter.
The strobe light went off and the theater became pitch black again. No one could see the fighters.
Henry M. Quill begin announcing the fight.
"A left to the body by Brock..Kid Harrington lands a one-two to the body."
Some one in the crowd said, "I can't see anything. Can you see anything?'
"A left jab by the Kid countered by a wicked right by Brock"
The bell sounded and the strobe lights came back on and the fighters could be seen sitting in the assigned corners. Henry M. Quill walked around the ring with a card announcing round 2.
The lights went off and the fight announcer continued.
"A left by...oh a wicked right to the jaw of ..."
Round 3...round 4...round 5...
"Oh a wicked shot to the head and Brock is cut...a right to the jaw and he's down...one ...two...three.."
With every announced blow the crowd groaned and then held their breath, hoping that the fighter would get up and continue.
"four...five...six...seven...eight..nine...Brock is up..he's groggy..weaving trying to avoid that ending blow."
The bell rings...the strobes come on..the fighters are slumped in their corners.
The crowd is buzzing..."what a great fight...isn't that kid something..that Brock can sure take a beating..."
The light goes out.
"The Kid is hurt...he is clinching Brock...Brock shoves him away...the Kid weaves and sways fighting off the blows of the amazing Brock...oh...a right to the jaw..from somewhere in left field...Brock is down...one ..two..three...four...five...he's not moving...six...seven...eight...oh lord he's still not moving...nine..ten...
Ladies and gentlemen, there is something wrong...Brock is not moving...we are calling an ambulance...please clear the theater."
The lights did not come on. It remained black inside.
The crowd slowly groped and stumbled out of the theater.
"Oh my god, what a great fight. Do you think Brock is dead? I was sure he had the Kid on the ropes. Did you see that right? I thought it was going to take Brock's head right off. That's the best punch I have ever seen."
Part of the crowd hurried to the rear of the theater to see see the ambulance take the downed fighter away. The ambulance drove off with it's siren blaring.
"Where are they taking him?"
"I don't know. Maybe West Side General"
The next day the fight was the talk of the town and everyone wanted to know when Henry M. Quill was going to put on another fight.
People wondered about the amazing Brock but, Henry M. Quill assured them that he was going to be just fine.
// // // //
written for "Two Shoes Tuesday" and the wonderful Josie
Posted by George S Batty