Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's Miller Time (1987)

Greensboro Daily News
Friday, April 24, 1987
By Jerry Bledsoe

Had a call the other day from my old buddy, Tom Miller. Tom is one of my more unusual friends. He has an unruly sense of humor and he’s always doing wild and outlandish things. To come right down to it, Tom’s just a little weird.

I could tell a thousand stories about Tom, some of which I might even be able to print here with a few alterations, but I won’t get into that.

Lots of folks in these parts know Tom, of course. He was in radio in Greensboro for many years. He was remembered for other things, too. Tom was bad to take a nip now and then and you never knew how it would affect him. Sometimes he would dress up in a rabbit suit and wander around town.

When you run into a six foot five, 250 pound rabbit sitting on the curb singing to himself, you aren’t apt to forget it any time soon.

Tom also had an elf suit that he was prone to wear on certain occasions, but he quit going out in it after the glue-on Dr. Spock ears that came with it refused to unglue and had to be surgically removed.

Some years later, Tom went off to Charlotte to become “Truckin’ Tom” on a late-night show. Later, he moved to Danville and was at a couple of radio stations there. That’s where he was when I last talked to him, in fact.

I hadn’t heard from him since sometime back about the first of the year. He left a message on my answering machine saying he was in the hospital.  They’d run a garden hose down his throat and discovered an ulcer, he said.

But he was healed and chipper when he called the other day. He called for several reasons.

One was that he had just been to a supermarket and seen one of those tabloid papers with a headline that said, “Baby Born Whistling Dixie.”  He thought I ought to know about it, but he hadn’t taken the time to read any of the details. Must’ve startled the doctor, though, don’t you think? I hope the mother was a Yankee so she didn’t have to struggle to her feet and salute.

Tom Miller and Ric Flair in Greensboro
Another reason Tom called was to let me know he’d left radio. In recent months, he’s been traveling around the country as a free-lance ring announcer at rasslin’ matches. He was enjoying the work, he said, but he wasn’t sure how it was going to work out over the long haul, so he’s been giving some thought to getting back into radio.

Anyway, Tom obviously was in a philosophical mood and clearly had been doing some deep thinking.

“How long have we known each other?” he asked. “Twenty years? Back when we first met, if I’d made these predictions to you, ala Jeanne Dixon, would you have believed any of them?”

“You’ll be writing a book about murder. I’ll no longer be in radio. It’ll snow at the GGO. A 75 year old actor will be President. You won’t be able to buy a ‘Boar & Castle’ steak sandwich. The Old Rebel will be dead. They’ll be making movies in Wilmington. You’ll be able to rent a videocassette of an autopsy. And a funeral will cost more than a Volkswagen used to.”

I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t have believed even one.

Apparently, free-lance rasslin’ announcers have a lot of free time between matches, because Tom had come up with another list he wanted to read to me.  This was a list he called “13 crimes that have yet to be committed or have not yet been reported.” It follows:

1. Unauthorized camel vasectomies.
2. Sexual molestation of a car.
3. Church steeple larceny.
4. Assault on a gorilla.
5. Unlawful discharge of a bazooka in an Alaskan library.
6. Bee hive bombing.
7. Theft of all the eyeballs at a bingo game.
8. Threatening phone calls to the school for the deaf.
9. Junkyard vandalism.
10. Illegal use of a weenie in the commission of a felony.
11. Sheep fighting.
12. Concrete arson.
13. Failure to honor a PTL pledge.

You see what I mean about weird?

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Thanks to Carroll Hall at the "All Star Championship Wrestling" website for providing this article through his research, and thanks to Peggy Lathan for transcribing the article.

The photo of Tom Miller and Ric Flair was not taken from the original article.