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Old 11-04-2008, 05:20 AM   #1
rjg41
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Default Abe Simon

I happened to do a Goggle search on Abe Simon and noted an archived post on this site posted earlier this year that contained a comment that Abe must have liked to eat.

My family knew Abe pretty well. My father taught him at John Adams High School in Ozone Park and after Abe got married, by chance, he bought a house on 215th St. between 56th and 58th Avenues, in Bayside, Queens, a few houses away from my parent's house.

First, Abe's size likely had little to do with his eating habits. As my father explained it, Abe had an overactive pituitary gland. He was almost his adult size when my father first met him when he was about 16 years old. Abe walked into my father's classroom and in that incredibly deep voice Abe had, said, "My name is Abe Simon, where do I sit?" My father, who was 5'7" and about 150, looked up at Abe and said,(confirmed by Abe as an adult), "Anywhere you want".

Abe had a size 17 shoe, a 48" chest unexpanded, and hands the size of a baseball glove. As a young teenager, I can remember his ring easily fit over 2 or three of my fingers at once.

My parents bought their house in 1940 and I was born in 1941. I do not know when Abe and his family bought their house but my earliest recollections all include Abe, his wife, Rita, daughter Kathy, son Alfie(Alfred) and Abe's mother, living up the street.

They were very nice people. Abe was the gentle giant. On Halloween he would put on a large dress, a wig and use boxing gloves for a chest, and would trick or treat on the block. Interesting seeing this large figure dressed as a woman at your front door, saying "trick or treat" again with that voice with a lower tone than anyone I have ever known.

Our neighbor next door had one of those big lawn rollers you filled with water, that was the "neighborhood roller". Abe didn't roll it up the street to his house, he would throw it over his shoulder and carry it.

I do not remember any of Abe's boxing career but I remember him as a liquor salesman. I recall he worked for Hunter and sold their products. As most know he also did a few parts in movies and also did some television.

One interesting story about his part in "On the Waterfront". As all who know of Abe's role in that movie, at one point he is portrayed as throwing a full beer can at the priest played by Carl Malden and cutting the priest's head. As most know, Abe was Jewish. While he didn't, in reality didn't throw that can that hit Carl Malden and he was playing a character, he was bothered by being shown hitting the priest. That portrayal was totally against his obvious beliefs concerning respect and tolerance.

As Abe grew older his became more and more crippled by arthritis, likely a consequence of his very rapid growth in adolescence. Possibly as a result of his reduced mobility he left the liquor business and became a "bouncer" at the bar at Roosevelt Raceway. He would tell me about sitting at the bar all night, meeting very nice people and getting the greatest horse tips.

When I was in college 1959-1963, Abe was working at Roosevelt. I would get home from a date, with my now wife of 45 years, and see Abe arriving home from work at Roosevelt. He would park in the street. The arthritis had gotten very severe and was continually getting worse. I would notice the great difficulty he had getting out of the car and walking to the house. At one point he would take some 10 minutes to get out of the car and walk the short distance to the house. It was difficult to watch this once great athlete and always super nice person, have such difficulty and be in such obvious pain.

I will always remember Abe with affection.
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Abe Simon

This thread is probably better off in the classic section, where there have been a few discussions about Abe Simon. Very interesting post.

By all accounts, Abe was a heck of a character with a natural flair for acting. Did broadway a few times, if I'm not mistaken. I'd like to learn more about him, so I'm all ears if you want to tell a few more stories.

By the way, welcome to the board.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Nice post rjg41. plz check out the classic forum, there you would receive more feedback from threads such as this.

One other thing, have you ever heard of the Scott brothers, all boxers? I think there wer 3 or 4 of them. Buddy Scott was one of them, he use to live a couple of houses down from me. He trained some of us at the the Garland Optimist Club in Garland, TX. Hell of a good guy.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Abe Simon

I have asked the admistrator to move this to the classic section.

No, hadn't heard of the Scott brothers.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Wonderful Story and thanks so much for sharing it, Abe Simon was a nice man in a tough era.. God Bless.....
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Abe Simon

I've watched the Louis-Simon fight and thinking how this man is so massive. Great story.
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Old 11-08-2008, 06:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Let me share another story about Abe.

Right about the first time Joe Lewis's tax troubles became public I asked him about that. Abe told me it was a shame what was happening to Lewis. Abe told me that in no way did Lewis personally benefit from not paying all his taxes.

He told me Lewis was generous to a fault. He would always be handing out cash to people in need, mostly people he didn't even know, and giving it to charities. He thought nothing about the need for receipts or future tax issues so when the IRS came after him, he had no way to prove he gave a great deal to "charity".

P.S. There may still be pictures in the family of Abe when he was my neighbor(unfortunately none at Halloween). I am going to see if I can find any of them. If so, I will scan them and provide a link to view them.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Great post. I have done a little research on Abe simon and i've discovered some intresting facts about this huge man!

First is he was jewish, i never knew that! He also was trained by jack johnson a little, and was even advised by the first black champion before fighting joe louis.

His best win was knocking out jersey joe walcott in 7 rounds. But he was as a boxer extremely slow - and - clumsy, and basically a sitting target for louis to pick him apart with precise, accurate power shots.

But just for his size he will alway's be remembered. He reminds me in many way's of andre the giant, they both where big guy's who used there gigantic body/personality to become famous athlete's.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Abe Simon

You are right about the comparison with Andre the Giant. I suspect that both suffered from a similar glandular disorder as adolescents.

The men in our neighborhood use to play softball every Sunday at a nearby field built by the neighbors. Abe would play in those games. While he was incredibly strong and could hit well, he was slow on the bases. When you are that size and a size 17 shoe, you don't run fast.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjg41
You are right about the comparison with Andre the Giant. I suspect that both suffered from a similar glandular disorder as adolescents.

The men in our neighborhood use to play softball every Sunday at a nearby field built by the neighbors. Abe would play in those games. While he was incredibly strong and could hit well, he was slow on the bases. When you are that size and a size 17 shoe, you don't run fast.
I wonder whether this type of pituitary disorder related gigantism was shared by Primo Carnera and in the present day by Valuev.

BTW thanks for posting these priceless memories of the man.
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Old 11-09-2008, 02:54 PM   #11
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arka
I wonder whether this type of pituitary disorder related gigantism was shared by Primo Carnera and in the present day by Valuev.
I think Carnera did have a pituitary disorder.
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: Abe Simon

I guess I am feeling very nostalgic. I did some more googling on Abe.

He is a link to a book chapter he wrote about himself, called, "I can't take it." [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

Abe's story starts on page 26.
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjg41
I happened to do a Goggle search on Abe Simon and noted an archived post on this site posted earlier this year that contained a comment that Abe must have liked to eat.

My family knew Abe pretty well. My father taught him at John Adams High School in Ozone Park and after Abe got married, by chance, he bought a house on 215th St. between 56th and 58th Avenues, in Bayside, Queens, a few houses away from my parent's house.

First, Abe's size likely had little to do with his eating habits. As my father explained it, Abe had an overactive pituitary gland. He was almost his adult size when my father first met him when he was about 16 years old. Abe walked into my father's classroom and in that incredibly deep voice Abe had, said, "My name is Abe Simon, where do I sit?" My father, who was 5'7" and about 150, looked up at Abe and said,(confirmed by Abe as an adult), "Anywhere you want".

Abe had a size 17 shoe, a 48" chest unexpanded, and hands the size of a baseball glove. As a young teenager, I can remember his ring easily fit over 2 or three of my fingers at once.

My parents bought their house in 1940 and I was born in 1941. I do not know when Abe and his family bought their house but my earliest recollections all include Abe, his wife, Rita, daughter Kathy, son Alfie(Alfred) and Abe's mother, living up the street.

They were very nice people. Abe was the gentle giant. On Halloween he would put on a large dress, a wig and use boxing gloves for a chest, and would trick or treat on the block. Interesting seeing this large figure dressed as a woman at your front door, saying "trick or treat" again with that voice with a lower tone than anyone I have ever known.

Our neighbor next door had one of those big lawn rollers you filled with water, that was the "neighborhood roller". Abe didn't roll it up the street to his house, he would throw it over his shoulder and carry it.

I do not remember any of Abe's boxing career but I remember him as a liquor salesman. I recall he worked for Hunter and sold their products. As most know he also did a few parts in movies and also did some television.

One interesting story about his part in "On the Waterfront". As all who know of Abe's role in that movie, at one point he is portrayed as throwing a full beer can at the priest played by Carl Malden and cutting the priest's head. As most know, Abe was Jewish. While he didn't, in reality didn't throw that can that hit Carl Malden and he was playing a character, he was bothered by being shown hitting the priest. That portrayal was totally against his obvious beliefs concerning respect and tolerance.

As Abe grew older his became more and more crippled by arthritis, likely a consequence of his very rapid growth in adolescence. Possibly as a result of his reduced mobility he left the liquor business and became a "bouncer" at the bar at Roosevelt Raceway. He would tell me about sitting at the bar all night, meeting very nice people and getting the greatest horse tips.

When I was in college 1959-1963, Abe was working at Roosevelt. I would get home from a date, with my now wife of 45 years, and see Abe arriving home from work at Roosevelt. He would park in the street. The arthritis had gotten very severe and was continually getting worse. I would notice the great difficulty he had getting out of the car and walking to the house. At one point he would take some 10 minutes to get out of the car and walk the short distance to the house. It was difficult to watch this once great athlete and always super nice person, have such difficulty and be in such obvious pain.

I will always remember Abe with affection.
Very interesting inside information ,thanks for sharing it with us and Welcome.
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Old 11-10-2008, 06:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Abe Simon

Great post. Thank you for sharing ....

I believe Primo and Valuev did/do suffer from the giant disorder ... you can tell by the shape of the skull, brows and jaw line ...
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:48 AM   #15
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That chapter on Abe Simon was strange.It's in the autobiographical voice,but the ghost writer(and there is no other likely candidate) spoils the effect,by not being able to hold back his interesting knowledge of medicine and physiology as they relate to boxing.

BTW did anyone check out the chapter on Harry Greb-"The Iron City Express"?
Nice !
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
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