“When I see a lady onstage, I desire my tongue to hang out and my body to quiver,” Riviera owner and organisation magnate Meshulam Riklis informed People magazine in 1981.
The then-57-year-old was going over the best ways to best show off the sex appeal of his then-25-year-old then-wife, singer Pia Zadora. Determined to make her a star, he put her onstage at the Riviera … and instructed Bob Mackie to make her outfits skimpier. Describing her as “extremely prudish,” he told People how he persuaded her to do a nude scene in the softcore incest movie Butterfly, directed by his pal Matt Cimber. Zadora’s breakout function as a nymphette earned her both a Golden World and a Golden Raspberry, for finest and worst brand-new star, respectively. (Long-lasting scuttlebutt declares that one of those 2 awards were “bought.” Can you guess which one?)
Fast forward almost 10 years. Riklis and Cimber have actually a struck TELEVISION program on their hands, however it does not include Zadora: It’s G.L.O.W.: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The syndicated program, which ranged from 1986 to 1990, featured the very best excesses of the ’80s: shine, spandex, huge hair and some now really cringe-worthy stereotypes.
Thanks to a 2012 documentary and new Netflix drama G.L.O.W. (starring Mad Guys’s Alison Brie, with comedian/podcaster Marc Maron as a fictionalized Cimber), the campy wrestling phenomenon is back on the popular culture radar.
All accounts say that by 1990, G.L.O.W. was a phenomenon, with countless individuals lining up to see live tapings. Riklis, who funded the business, used the program to advertise his lots of holdings, from makeup brands to the Riviera. In fact, throughout the first two seasons, the wrestlers lived and shot at the Strip casino (they moved a few miles east for the last two seasons). But if you don’t remember seeing these outlandishly dressed ladies at the clubs, that’s since they abided by stringent curfews.
Inning accordance with the documentary G.L.O.W.: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, Riklis pulled financing at the height of the show’s popularity. He provided no warning or explanation. The cast didn’t even get a possibility to state their goodbyes.
Almost Thirty Years later, the concern stays: Why would he do that? It seems so out of character. Here’s a shrewd entrepreneur with Montgomery Burns-level wealth who had no qualms about investing huge sums in assistance of lovely ladies’s professions. The G.L.O.W. cast numbered about 60 performers, divided into 2 camps of “great women” and “bad women.” Seems like a dream come to life for a guy like him. Why stop the glitter train?
One theory is that despite the program’s appeal, it just wasn’t that profitable. Riklis had actually experienced cash issues in the past, and utilizing the program to promote his own ventures would restrict advertising profits. So he might have simply run out of funds. But would not he have at least attempted to profit from his financial investment before ending?
The other theory is that Zadora became envious and made the classic ultimatum that all young trophy other halves need to eventually make: It’s either me or 60 more youthful acrobatic lady wrestlers. If this theory is true, credit should be provided to Riklis for picking his wife (although they did divorce 3 years later). Zadora didn’t react to a request for remark. Nevertheless, the documentary makes a strong case for this holding true, even showing an old gossip post about an affair between Riklis and a GLOW wrestler. The most damning hint: The wrestler’s name is redacted. G.L.O.W. safeguards their own.