He could really make a great pizza and those Christmas cookies were as good as my grandmother Anna Lamantia baked when I was a kid!
This story began a while back but came again to my attention after I penned last week’s column talking about Bruno Sammartino and George “The Animal” Steele.
I was hounded by emails and people stopping me in the books telling me they were from the tri-state area of Steubenville, Weirton and Pittsburgh. They went to many of those wrestling matches and what about “Jumping” Johnny Fazio and “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers who was the mentor of “The Fabulous” Moolah one of the greatest female wrestlers of all time who won the title in 1999 at age 76.
And that gets us to the pizza. One of my friends brought up the times when Tito Adami the pizza and cookie maker would bring his good friend Moolah and her wrestlers into the Stardust to say hi. They were great people.
Moolah (Mary Lillian Ellison) passed away in 2007. She was a mainstay in wrestling ever since first winning the title in 1956 and appeared on many programs with Rogers.
Anyway, Tito was the cook at the very famous Tower of Pizza that many old timers like myself remember with reverence, especially those pepper and egg “sangwiches.” This guy came looking for a job and got hired washing dishes. His name was Scotty Schettler. He eventually became my boss at the Stardust. Scotty hired Tito as a ticket writer.
Tito was one of the nicest guys on the planet and we all loved him, especially when he would bring in the pizza. But as for punching out tickets, his always came first. They had some very funny lines on them but no one cared since he was a $5 bettor and seemed to always balance.
One day I came out to the front of the counter after hearing some guy screaming at Tito calling him an idiot and telling me that a monkey could write punch tickets better than him.
The next morning around 7, I come in the back door and see this orangutan where Tito sits writing tickets (they were doing a video for Bobby Barosini who had his animals in the Lido showroom). As I watched this very smart orangutan perform the task I could only think the bettor the previous day was correct. A monkey could write punch tickets better than Tito.
I asked Bobby, the owner and trainer of Chet, if he wanted to work part time, but he said his pay and food scale was out of our reach. I had to settle for Tito, the pizza and cookies. That was ok with me.
As for football, it was just another wild and wooly weekend. The fourth quarter craziness prevailed with more overtime games than I can remember in one season. We still have three more weeks of regular season to go.
The real Atlanta Falcons showed up, while the Colts and Skins continue to pull out games late. Look for one crazy playoff season as it really seems anything could happen.
We start the college postseason off this Saturday with the New Mexico Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
College Football Saturday
At Albuquerque, NM
Nevada +10 vs. Arizona (75): I like the Wolf Pack in this 10 a.m. early game as they have already beaten a Pac 12 team with a win over California 31-24 as a +12 point dog. NEVADA.
At Boise, ID
Toledo +10 vs. Utah St. (58): The second half of the ESPN double header. Aggies had an amazing season losing only two games, and both could have been wins. Wisconsin won at home 16-14 and BYU edged State 6-3 – the only two games the Aggies did not score over 20. Look for them to close out the season in style. UTAH ST.
Bengals-3½ at Eagles: The Eagles finally got the win with some new talent at the running back and QB. Future looks to be in front of them. EAGLES.
Giants -1 at Falcons: The Giants who almost never lose in December on the road will get the best Atlanta, whose bubble burst last week. GIANTS.
Broncos -2½ at Ravens: The Broncos look possessed as does Peyton Manning. BRONCOS.
Have a great week. Next issue expect some Christmas shopping hints that are not very expensive. You don’t need to go to the mall, just pick gifts up at a spot near you. Please, I have had enough wrestling. thank you for all the emails.
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Contact Richard at [email protected].