The Smiling Martinelli’s Membership Card

Accession Number

PRATT.6.1937

Series

PRATT, Subgroup Coppers

Remarks

It is unclear why Police Chief William H. Pratt possessed Wanda Jo Fuller’s “The Smiling Martinelli’s” membership card. To date, no connection has been established between Pratt and Fuller beyond a shared admiration for Frank Scarpa (aka Gino Martinelli). Wanda Jo Ann Fuller’s infatuation with professional wrestling was ignited by her brother, Williard Lynn Fuller, who wrestled at Parkersburg High School (West Virginia) and later for the Ohio University Bobcats in the early 1950s. As an ardent fan, Wanda amassed a valuable collection of wrestling memorabilia that contained promotional and personal photographs, autographs and letters, fan club bulletins and membership materials. Included in the collection is a signed publicity photo of Frank Scarpa that is remarkably similar to the one presumed to belong to William H. Pratt (see PRATT.5.1937/ SCARPA). For a time, Wanda dated “Handsome” Johnny Valentine* who rose to fame with such moves as The Brainbuster, The Flying Elbow, and The Vertical Suplex. To land the “Handsome” Johnny Valentine, Wanda must have been quite the beauty. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that she was crowned the very first Colonel’s Daughter—a title similar to a rodeo queen—n Camp Verde, AZ. The honor is bestowed on a young woman whose sole responsibility is to preside over Forte Verde Days, an annual community celebration. The rodeo queen and “handsome” wrestler must have made a striking couple.
Other than the fact that Wanda was a certified member, nothing is known about “The Smiling Martinelli’s” fan club or its president, Oma Zella Justice of Costa, West Virginia.


* Valentine’s career ended in 1975 when a plane crash left him paralyzed. The twin engine Cessna carrying a promoter and 4 professional wrestlers went down in Wilmington, NC when the plane ran out of gas. The pilot had trouble controlling the plane during take off due to the significant load of the bulky wrestlers (the weight of the passengers had not been distributed properly in the cabin) and he decided to dumped fuel to lighten the load. He miscalculated and the plane ran out of gas before reaching their destination.

Files

The Smiling Martinellis PNG.png

Citation

“The Smiling Martinelli’s Membership Card,” Institute for Clew Studies, accessed November 13, 2018, http://instituteforclewstudies.com/items/show/63.