Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rare Houston Footage spotlights familiar faces from the Mid-Atlantic Area

Bob Caudle, David Crockett, and Joe Murnick join Paul Boesch in signing Harley Race vs. Andre the Giant in a rare video clip from WRAL in Raleigh

by Dick Bourne
originally published 10/3/17 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Another rare piece of Crockett-related footage has surfaced from Houston TV on YouTube. Houston promoter Paul Boesch flew from Texas to Raleigh, NC, in the fall of 1978 to film a contract signing segment with Andre the Giant.

The video is actually two separate segments that would have aired separately on the Houston television show, and are likely presented here in reverse order.

In the segments, Boesch signs Andre the Giant to challenge NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race at the Summit Arena in Houston on 10/13/1978. Paul Boesch is introduced by "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" host Bob Caudle. Representing the NWA for the contract signing are David Crockett and Joe Murnick of Jim Crockett Promotions in Charlotte.

The segments were taped at the studios of WRAL TV in Raleigh, NC, home of Jim Crockett's weekly television tapings.

Both David Crockett and Joe Murnich got a few words in. I especially liked Murnich's well-wishes to fellow promoter Boesch and the fans of Houston:
"I think the fans of Houston are very, very fortunate because I know this bout could be held anywhere in the world and your fans are most fortunate in having it. Good luck to you." 
David Crockett noted that the bout would be held on Friday the 13th, and suggested it might be unlucky for some (Harley Race perhaps?) but hopefully not for Andre.

The real rarity here is seeing and hearing Joe Murnick. What a special treat. Murnick was the local promoter for Jim Crockett based in Raleigh, NC, and he promoted the Raleigh area, as well as most of eastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia, including Richmond and Norfolk. Murnick was co-host of a Raleigh-only version of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" in the 1960s and early 1970s, and when that Raleigh-only version was discontinued and all of the area's TV tapes were consolidated to WRAL in Raleigh, Murnick was still seen as the ring announcer on Crockett shows until his sons Elliot and Carl took over those duties toward the end of 1977 or early 1978. Joe Murnick had a deep, classically-southern voice that was just so perfect for the times and one of my favorite ring announcers ever. 

Very cool to be able to go back in time this far and see Murnick, Caudle, and Crockett in the old WRAL studio. Crockett Promotions didn't start keeping and archiving their old tapes until the early 1980s, so seeing this is very rare. The backdrop used in this tape was one frequently used in the early 1970s for local promotional spots for the various towns, but by 1978 wasn't used that frequently anymore. Nice to see it here.

These videos are bound to be pulled down soon, so we should enjoy them while we have them.