Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monte LaDue

Throughout the 1940s, Monte Ladue (also spelled Monti and Monty in programs) toured the USA and Canada as "The Mad Frenchman" while exhibiting a style uncommonly brutal for his era. Washignton, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois were just some of the states where he headlined. In Texas he had a run a their Jr. Heavyweight champ. Some of the people he faced included Sockeye O' Donnell, Gil Lacrosse, Gorilla Ramos, Kenny Mayne, Billy Rayburn, Paavo Ketonan and Danny McShain. In 1950, he made a permanent move to Arizona and would work this circuit for years, while still traveling out to other places.

One of the high points in Ladue's career came in 1951 in Tucson, when he wrestled Vern Gagne for the World Jr Heavyweight title in a 2/3 fall match, though he did not win.

Though he had previously teamed with Yukon Jake, somewhat of a poor man's Yukon Eric in California some time before as a pair of villains, he would break with his former partner in Arizona. The two would feud in varied towns with Jake as the sudden fan favorite and Ladue as the heel.

Jake played his role to the hilt by arriving at the arena in a broken down jalopy with pelts, traps and furs hanging out of it, like someone right out of the Canadian West. As the bad guy, Ladue played up the contrast to the best he could, by showing up in fancy suits and driving a huge car or coming in a rented limousine.

By the 1960s, Ladue was out of the game as an active wrestler, but continued for many years as a referee. He was acting as arbitrator in the tag match where Jim Wright died during a tag team match in Phoenix.

Ladue lived into the 1990s and was still listed in the Mesa phone book at the time of his passing.

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