Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Close Look at George Harben (WBTV-3)

I'm happy to find some information on George Harben, who was ring announcer on WBTV's "Championship Wrestling in the 1960s and 1970s. His voice was an important part in the fabric of studio wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1960s and early 1970s, and I'm glad to have him better represented here on the Studio Wrestling website and the Mid-Atantic Gateway.

by Mike Cline
Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats

Remember George Harben? I certainly do.

I remember George Harben as the ring announcer on WBTV's CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING TV program, which was video taped every Wednesday night in Charlotte and broadcast that following Saturday afternoon.

And for a number of those years, the same program was broadcast over WBTV's 'sister station' in Florence, South Carolina.

However, Mr. Harben's career in the wrestling business went back quite a bit further than announcing on television and at house shows at PARK CENTER and the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

Harben was born in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a famous historical spot that is still visited by tourists the year round. He broke into the business as a wrestler in 1933 and had an active career until retiring in 1956.

In 1935, George helped train one of the all-time greats of modern wrestling, none other than LOU THESZ, who went on to become WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION six times. THESZ was a young boy of eighteen when he worked with Harben.

In 1940, during the years of World War 2, George Harben made a trip to Australia by boat to wrestle and was on board when the vessel was struck by a mine off the coast of New Zealand.

He also wrestled in Cuba before Fidel Castro took control of that country.

George Harben wrestled with his brother Charlie over most of the United States as a tag team. The two were in the main event that drew the largest crowd to ever witness a wrestling card at the old CHARLOTTE ARMORY. It was in early 1953, and the Harbens' opponents were GEORGE and BOBBY BECKER.

Besides his ring announcing duties for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, Harben also assisted in advertising the company's wrestling shows in several other towns besides Charlotte and for a while promoted house shows in Hickory, North Carolina.

George Harben passed away some years ago, but I can still his voice---
"Good evening Ladies and Gentleman and welcome to another exciting evening of Championship Wrestling on Channel 3."

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Thanks to Mike Cline at "Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats" for allowing us to post his story on George Harbin here on the Studio Wrestling blog, part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Visit Mike Cline's "Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats" website.