COLLECTING FRED KOHLER’S CHICAGO PROMOTION
Despite having been born and raised in Mondt/McMahon Capitol Wrestling territory, I am a HUGE fan of promoter Fred Kohler and his Chicago/Mid-West territory.
Kohler virtually took over and controlled the Chicago/Mid-West market by the early 1940s and promoted some of the greatest shows wrestling has ever seen up until 1964. By 1965 he sold out and left the game.
Even though he had his problems with the NWA and its perennial president, Sam Muchnick, Kohler had one of the most important territories and actually became the NWA’s president in 1961. That was the year he and Vince McMahon, Sr. put together the NWA title switch in Comiskey Park that made Nature Boy Buddy Rogers the NWA’s first heel champ and made an attendance record of 38,662 that stood for over two decades.
I had an article printed in the 2017 PWHF yearly induction program/magazine which explains Kohler’s use of his programs in marketing and the variations the collector should be aware of. Below is the original text and some photos.
THE ART OF WRESTLING MARKETING: THE FLYERS/PROGRAMS OF FRED KOHLER’S CHICAGO PROMOTION
By Mike Tereshko
Professional wrestling has provided us with some of the most aesthetically pleasing works of art in the form of advertising posters, broadsides, programs, and flyers. Some of the most beautiful of these were the flyer type programs produced by Fred Kohler’s promotion in Chicago in the late 1950s and early 1960s. These flyer/programs were printed up for Kohler’s wrestling shows in Comiskey Park, the Chicago International Amphitheatre, Marigold Arena, Wrigley Field, and the Chicago Coliseum.
The collector of these beautiful Kohler creations should be aware that the flyer/program for each individual show usually had four different variations. I have broken down the variations as follows:
TYPE I – EVENT FLYER/PROGRAM
The flyer/program sold at the wrestling show itself was called the “event program.” This program had a serial number on the lower right corner of the reverse side indicating where it stood in the total number of programs sold starting with 1, 2…through the maximum number for a sold out house.
TYPE II – FLYER/PROGRAM SOLD OR GIVEN AWAY AT PUBLIC VENUES PRIOR TO THE SHOW
The flyer/program that was sold or given away at various public venues prior to the actual day of the wrestling show were exactly the same as the TYPE I event flyer program, EXCEPT there was no serial number on the lower right corner of the reverse side.
TYPE III – SUBSCRIPTION FLYER/PROGRAM
The subscription flyer/program was mailed out to subscribers a few weeks prior to the show’s date. It was exactly the same as the TYPE II flyer program. However, in addition to not having a serial number on the reverse side it had a large blank space with a Bulk Postage Rate and the subscriber’s name and address typed in on the top left corner of the front side.
TYPE IV – SUBSCRIPTION FLYER /PROGRAM
This was simply a TYPE III subscription flyer/program that was a left over and was never mailed out. It did not have a name and address typed in the blank space with the Bulk Postage Rate on the top left corner of the front side.
TYPE I – EVENT FLYER/PROGRAM SOLD AT THE SHOW
TYPE II – FLYER/PROGRAM WITHOUT SERIAL NUMBER ON REAR SIDE DISTRIBUTED AT VENUES PRIOR TO SHOW
TYPE III – SUBSCRIPTION FLYER/PROGRAM MAILED TO SUBSCRIBERS PRIOR TO THE SHOW
TYPE IV – SUBSCRIPTION FLYER/PROGRAM LEFT OVER AND NOT ADDRESSED