Earle F. Yetter Letters

Earle F. Yetter is one of the most important behind-the-scenes figures in the history of wrestling in upstate New York. Earle did much of the publicity work for Pedro Martinez’ Buffalo office in the late 1950s through the 1960s. Fans know him best from his prolific photography and magazine articles. He penned “The Listening Post” for Wrestling Monthly in the 1970s, tapping into his reservoir of knowledge to bring information and insight to fans. He wrote for Ring, Boxing and Wrestling, Wrestling Revue … you name it, and Earle wrote for it. He had a very distinctive style, a little stilted, a little formal, and, by wrestling standards, rather erudite … “It cannot be denied” was a favorite catchphrase. Into the 1970s, you’d see him at ringside, with a large format camera, taking pictures to sell, accompany his writings, or just keep for his collection.

Earle kept up a large collection of correspondents and penpals in the mat game. He was helpful to the publishers of REMATCH in the early ’70s, sending along Buffalo card results that couldn’t be obtained anywhere else — except on Thanksgiving; that, he declared, was a day to be with family, not at the arena. One of his most prominent relationships was with Jack Pfefer, the brilliant but often-reviled promoter who affected wrestling in the 20th century like few others. Some of their correspondence is on file at the University of Notre Dame, the home of Pfefer’s collection.

In the coming months, we are going to pass along some of that correspondence between two late legends of the wrestling front office. Yetter’s letters tell the fullest and most complete story of Buffalo wrestling from the late 1950s to the late 1960s that we are ever likely to obtain. He touches on Martinez, the attitude issues of Mr. Bearcat Wright, the ups and downs of an important promotion, intrusions in the Steel Belt area by other promoters, and much, much more. There are about 20 letters in all; it’s clear the correspondence extended beyond Notre Dame’s holdings, and we don’t have Pfefer’s responses. But Earle covered most of the important issues in his letters, and we’re glad that he’s still informing us long after his death.

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