Saturday, January 12, 2019

Vintage Radio Station photo of Billy Powell

Billy Powell was an institution in Greenville SC and the whole upstate area of South Carolina, known for his radio work, advertising voice overs, and of course as the voice of Greenville wrestling.

Powell did the additional local spots in the 1960s through early 1980s that were featured in the weekly episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" on WFBC-4 (now WYFF) that were in addition to the two traditional local promotional spots inserted from Jim Crockett Promotions.

He was also the ring announcer in Greenville for many years.

Visit the Billy Powell page on the old archive website of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway (The Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives) for more info on Billy Powell. Occasional Gateway contributor Don Holbrook wrote of Powell for the website back in 2016. Visit the WFBC Studio Wrestling page, too.

Special thanks to Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Wrestling from Roanoke" at the County Fair

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Continuing our streak of posts here on "Studio Wrestling" having to do with wrestling from Roanoke, I found this little newspaper clipping to be very interesting. Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website came across it and forwarded it to us. It's also a bit misleading, but more on that in a minute.

The article is promoting a wrestling card in Galax, VA, that was featured as a "grandstand attraction" at the Galax Agricultural Fair. The wrestling card was booked by Roanoke event promoter Pete Apostolou, booking wrestling talent from Jim Crockett Promotions in Charlotte. Apostolou was Crockett's man on the ground for wrestling events in Roanoke as well as Lynchburg and many spot-show towns around the WDBJ-7 viewing area, Galax included.

What interested me at first was the mention of the Roanoke wrestling program that aired at the time on WDBJ channel 7. The program, which was always called "All Star Wrestling" on the air, was often referred to in newspaper listings and TV Guide as "Wrestling from Roanoke" or sometimes "Live Wrestling from Roanoke."

"All Star Wrestling" was broadcast live from the studios of WDBJ-7 for many years, beginning back around 1960 until it went off the air in 1967 and the Raleigh tape started airing in Roanoke on WSLS-10.

However, this little article is a bit misleading, and when you first read it you might think it was saying this Galax event would air on WDBJ. This of course was not the case, and the writer was simply trying to say that the wrestlers you will see at the Fair will be the same wrestlers you see each week on channel 7.

During those days, there were wrestling shows from around the country that might pop up on local channels, and although they typically had a generic name like All Star Wrestling or Championship Wrestling, they were frequently identified in newspaper television listings or in the TV Guide with  a name that identified the point of origin. For example, "Wrestling from Texas" was seen in several North Carolina and South Carolina TV markets in the 1950s and 1960s.

And so it was with "Wrestling from Roanoke" in this clipping from 1963.

Thanks to Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website for sharing this clipping with us. We're always interested in finding vintage references to the programs taped in various stations across the Crockett landscape.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Direct From the Studios of WDBJ-TV: Wrestling Ad in Roanoke

We received this old newspaper ad from Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website. It's special becasue it mentions wrestling "direct from the studios of WDBJ-TV."

For the better part of the 1960's, WDBJ in Roanoke VA presented a live program called "All-Star Wrestling" on Saturday afternoons at 5:00 PM, in advance of the live event later that night at the Starland Arena. Local promoter Pete Apostolou (working for Jim Crockett Promotions) had the perfect set-up where the guys could come in and do the live "All Star Wrestling" TV at channel 7 and then the Starland Arena show later that night, all in one trip within hours of each other.

It was one of the highest rated programs in the market on a weekly basis. The show was hosted by WDBJ personality Hal Grant.

Johnny Weaver told us that WDBJ cancelled the show following an ugly incident between Ike Eakins and Luther Lindsay. Not long after, "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" hosted by Bob Caudle debuted on WSLS-10 in Roanoke VA, although for many years, they still ran the old "All Star Wrestling" logo over the Mid-Atlantic opening, which included two cartoon wrestlers and the introduction which announced the program presented by the Roanoke Sports Club. Promoter Pete Apostolou also did the inserted 30-second local promos until they began the 2:30 second spots taped in Raleigh for each local market.

(Some information for this article was pulled from the WDBJ page of the Studio Wrestling section of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives.)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Roanoke Wrestling Graphic

Fans in the Roanoke, VA, area will remember this simple graphic that preceded each episode of "All Star Wrestling" and later "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" on WSLS-10.

The graphic itself (without our old-school TV set treatment) was posted on Facebook by Jim McDowell and forwarded to our attention by our friend Thom Brewer. McDowell's mother Julie McDowell, then a graphic designer for the station, is said to have created the graphic for the station all those many years ago.

From around 1960-1967, WDBJ-7 taped and aired its own wrestling program called "All Star Wrestling." The show was taped in the small confines of the WDBJ studios, and hosted by local personality Hal Grant.

George Becker, George Scott, Sandy Scott and host Hal Grant
in the television studio at WDBJ-7 in Roanoke VA, circa mid 1960s.
(from the personal collection of Sandy Scott)

The show was cancelled in 1967 after an ugly on-air incident and WSLS-10 became the new broadcast home of "All Star Wrestling." Rather than taping their own show, they aired the show taped in Raleigh hosted by Bob Caudle at WRAL-5. That show later changed its name to "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" in 1973.

I've always thought the wrestler standing in that graphic looked like he could be the younger brother of Simon Bar Sinister, the villain in the 1960s Saturday morning "Underdog" cartoon.

Click here for more information on wrestling taped at WDBJ-7.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Racing and Rasslin' on WGHP

"... Junior Johnson runnin' through the woods of Carolina ..."
- Bruce Springsteen, "Cadillac Ranch"

It was great receiving this little ad from newspaper researcher Mark Eastridge recently. It is from the Greensboro Daily News in October 24, 1964 and is an advertisement for Saturday afternoon sports programming on WGHP-8 out of High Point, NC.

The ad was primarily for ABC's "Wide World of Sports" which on that day would feature racing from Charlotte and included some classic names from NASCAR's past including Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson, among others.

The race was the 1964 National 400 held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It actually took place the previous Sunday, October 18, but highlights would air on "Wide World of Sports" that following Saturday. Fred Lorenzen, seen in the photo in the ad, won the race. (My all time favorite Junior Johnson came in 39th in his 1964 Ford.)

WGHP was also home to weekly Jim Crockett Promotions wrestling tapings and the ad also mentions that following the Charlotte 400 will be "Championship Wrestling" on channel 8 featuring two tag team matches. The program was hosted by broadcasting hall-of-famer Charlie Harville.

Racing and wrestling! They were the top two professional spectator sports in our area at that time, and it didn't get much better on a fall afternoon than racing, wrestling, and I'm sure a little college football thrown in.

(Racing information from the Racing Reference website at

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Bob Caudle and Nick Pond in WRAL News Team Ad from 1975

This is a very cool ad from an October 1975 issue of TV Guide magazine featuring the "TV5 Action News Team" from WRAL-5 television in Raleigh, NC.

The TV5 news team at that time consisted of Bob Caudle, Jon Mangum, Charlie Gaddy, and Nick Pond. 

"The TV5 Action News Team: 
Depend on it Morning, Noon, and Night."

It's a nice to see both Caudle and Pond, longtime wrestling hosts, in the same photo.  Both Caudle and Pond were wrestling announcers for wrestling tapings held at the WRAL studios. Pond was the Raleigh-area host of "Championship Wrestling" from approximately 1962-1972. Caudle hosted the syndicated show "All Star Wrestling" during most of that same time, and then transitioned to the host of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" which was seen in Raleigh on WRAL and syndicated to TV stations throughout the Carolinas and Virginia well into the 1980s

Tapings for Jim Crockett Promotions wrestling began at WRAL in 1959. In 1981, they moved to a studio in Charlotte. NC. Caudle continued to host the show there, and then later out in the arenas for both Jim Crockett Promotions and Turner Broadcasting until the early 1990s.

Thanks to Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website for providing us this great piece of memorabilia.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Saturday TV Wrestling in Toronto
The Maple Leaf Wrestling website has a terrific look at what the TV schedule looked like for a Saturday afternoon in Toronto in 1981.

Fans there sure were lucky to see a wide variety of wrestling including the local Maple Leaf Wrestling show, plus Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, AWA, WWF, and more!

During these years, promoter Frank Tunney was booking a lot of talent for the Toronto shows from Jim Crockett Promotions based out of Charlotte, NC. Toronto fans got to see the "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" show which aired on channel 4 WIVB out of Buffalo, NY, just across Lake Ontario. Many of the Crockett stars also appeared on "Maple Leaf Wrestling" as well. 

Take a look at the post on Andrew Calvert's excellent Maple Leaf Wrestling. Andrew gives some great detail with what it was like to be "pinned to the couch" on a Saturday afternoon in Toronto.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Grunt-by-Groan Description by Nick Pond

An early reference to Nick Pond calling the wrestling action for Raleigh from the studio of WRAL in Raleigh, NC.

Carroll Hall of the All Star Championship Wrestling site provided the clipping. He has been researching this time period trying to determine when Pond took over as host from Ray Reeve.

"The earliest reference I have found for Nick Pond as host is April 1, 1962," he wrote me. "The latest for Ray Reeve as host is June 3, 1961. The gap between the two is getting smaller."

Pond called the action for the Raleigh market, while Bob Caudle called the action for all other markets. This was the case for roughly a 10 year period from 1962-1972.