ITALY: Alias Mike Hammer

Though his proud fellow citizens like to think of him as their own Mike Hammer, Milan's Tommaso Ponzi, 37, really does not quite meet TV specifications for a private eye. Big Tom weighs 270 lbs., is a happily married homebody (three children) who has no time for slinky blondes. But otherwise, Tom is up to fictional standards. He is a proven skullbasher: in Italy's first chaotic postwar days he tangled with the Communists in (by his own estimate) 1,300 street brawls, mowing them down with a chunk of railroad track. And he has cold nerve: when two madmen terrorized a...

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