BOYS FROM NORTH BROADWAY
Originally conceived in 1977, "North Broadway" is Garrett Saracho's long in-the-works dedication to a time and place long gone, the hustling corridors of pre-World War II, LA's, North Broadway district, home to a vibrant Mexican, Italian, & Native American community.
As a young boy, Saracho spent much of his youth accompanying his uncle to the local Teamsters Gym, where he became enamored with boxing culture and the stories behind the young fighters and their lives. Some went on to become prize fighters and war heroes. Some shined shoes and sold papers outside Phillipe's, the original on Alameda and Ord Street. Boxing trainer, Johnny Forbes (named, "Johnny Rooney, in the play), started and developed young boys and taught them "The Art of Boxing!" They were known as his, "Shamrock Stable", as it was known, and the North Broadway community at large, defied all expectations held for them by society.
"North Broadway" tells the story of a hard-working people, an American family, and their triumphs in the face of adversity.
THE GARCIA FAMILY
In the story of "Boys From North Broadway, Alejandra Sanchez, The Great Grandmother and matriarch of the Garcia family. Thru her business, of selling food for the railroad workers down at Union Station, she provided fresh milk, cheese and chicken. Later, she open a cafe on the corner of Sunset and North Broadway, where many of the public and truckers, would stop and eat.
This is an early photo of my Uncle, "Frank "Kiko" Saracho!" My first time remembering was stepping through the doors of the Teamster Gym. The smell of sweat and Wintergreen Oil smelled like roses to me. The manager of the Teamsters gym, was Joe Kelly. He was slender built, long arms and face, blue eyes and short grey wavy hair underneath his fedora hat. He wore a dark Brown suit and tie. He usually wore a gun fasten to a holster, inside his left suit. He was straight as an arrow and had very little tolerance for anyone, thinking they could slide by him at his front desk. He'd throw you out, on your ear, if you didn’t pay the two bits entrance fee.
The cast of characters that made up the Teamsters boxing family were some of the elite fighters, trainers, and managers of Los Angeles boxing in that golden era. One was Johnny Forbes, who trained Light-heavyweight Jack Johnson, Gil Cadilli, Frankie and Juan Luis Campos, Keeny Teran, Carlos and Al Chavez, and Vince Delgado and many others.
Hoyt Porter had mostly amateur fighters in his stable at the gym, with one or two pro fighters. Jonny Forbes, Ralph Gambina, and Hoyt was some of the first “professional” trainers who trained in the Teamsters old building. Fighters like Lou Bernal, Fabela Chavez, Bernard and Maxie Docusen, Don Jordan, Lauro Salas, Rudy Jordan, Rudy Garcia, Gil Cadilli, Cisco Andrade, Hank Aceves, Dave and Butch Contreras, Carlos and Al Chavez and Manuel Ortiz, Keeny Teran—the list goes on and on!
In those ten years, kids came through the program that later on went on to have stellar boxing careers. Some became world champions, some top contenders, and, to be honest, some didn’t win more than twenty-five percent of their fights—but to their credit; they fought on when the odds were against them.
Today that old building is still there, but the gym was closed years ago. All that remains of the storied Teamsters Gym are the ghost of those great and, yes, some not so great fighters that trained there, fighters who I would like to think are still shadow boxing on the wooden floor of that old gym, with old Joe Kelly yelling at them, “you better not spit on the floor!”