Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tom Miller and His Ton of Fun (1983)

Tom Miller as host of "Wide World Wrestling" in 1978
We remember "Truckin'" Tom Miller fondly for his work as a color commentator on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Bob Caudle in the summer of 1976 and co-host of Wide World Wrestling in 1978. Miller co-hosted Wide World (with George Scott) in between the 3-year stint of Ed Capral that preceded him and the 4-year stint of Rich Landrum that followed him (when the show's name was changed to World Wide Wrestling.)

He was also the well known ring announcer in Greensboro in the 1980s, as well as occasionally on the TV shows of that era, and for many of the pay-per-view events as well.

This newspaper article from 1983 was one of several columnist Jerry Bledsoe wrote about Miller in those years.

* * * * * * * 

Wednesday, February 2, 1983
By Jerry Bledsoe

Tom Miller called the other day laughing. This is usually a bad sign. It means something is up, and with Tom you never know what it might be

Tom is a well-known radio personality in these parts. He has worked in Burlington and Charlotte, but for many years he was in Greensboro at WGBG (now WKEW). For the past few years, he’s been in Danville, now as manager of WAKG, a powerful FM country music station that can be heard throughout central North Carolina and Virginia (103.3 on the dial).

Tom has done a lot of crazy things over the years and, being a good friend, he has managed to get me involved in many of them, sometimes to my regret. So I was understandably a little leery when he told me that he had come up with a great idea. This would be the biggest thing to happen in this area, he said, since……well, who knows when.

“OK,” I said. “What are you up to?

“Two-seventy,” he said.

Pounds, he meant.

And that was precisely why he was calling.

“All my life I’ve been fat,” he said.  “My mama’s fat, my daddy was fat, my sisters are fat. My whole life’s been fat, growing up in a world of fat, riding in cars going one way – leaning sideways.”

Tom has come to the point of not only accepting his size, but celebrating it.

“What I want to do,” he said, “is get a thousand people who weigh 200 pounds or more to assemble in a gigantic parking lot for a group picture. I’m going to call it ‘A Hundred Tons of Fun.’”

Tom has already checked and found out that this would be the world’s largest group picture of heavy people and the people at the Guinness Book of World Records have already indicated that they will record the event for posterity.

But this is only one reason for doing it, Tom said. The main reason is fun.

“We’re going to give away somebody’s weight in hot dogs and soft drinks and ice cream and steaks and anything else we can sell sponsors on. Those are not small prizes. You take a man who weighs 368 pounds and wins his weight in hot dogs. That’s a lot of money.”

There will be other prizes too.

“I’m going to have all kinds of trophies made up,” Tom said. “We’ll give a trophy for the heaviest person, the oldest heavy person and the youngest, the heavy person who came the longest distance, all kinds of things.  You could get in professions, the heaviest doctor and the heaviest nurse. We’ll have a superior-size beauty contest for men and women. There are just infinite possibilities.”

This is not going to be a celebration of fat so much as of bulk. Fat isn’t even necessary.

“The only requirement is that they have to weigh 200 pounds,” Tom says. “In other words, a woman could be six foot eight and weigh 202 and not have an ounce of fat on her and that would be ok.”

People who weigh less than 200 pounds will be allowed to come to the event, to enjoy the entertainment (to be provided by heavy entertainers) and other festivities, but they won’t be allowed to enter the contests, win any trophies or get into the picture.

“We’re not against skinny people,” Tom said. “It’s just that heavy people have always been discriminated against. This is one time being a big-size person is going to pay off for somebody.”

“Nobody will ever be able to accuse you of not thinking big,” I said.

“One thing we’re not going to do,” he said, ignoring me “is make fun of people. And we’re not going to moralize whether fat is right or wrong or anything. We’re just going to have fun. We’re going to say, ‘Hey, we’re big and it feels good.’”

No date has been set for this event. Tom is shooting for May or June. This is where I come into the picture, so to speak. Tom needs help finding people who weigh more than 200 pounds who would be willing to attend and pose for his picture. Write him at WAKG, P.O. Box 1629, Danville, VA 24543.

“Can you really envision it?” he asked. “Can you imagine the grandeur of 1,000 fat people in a gigantic parking lot?”

“I’m not sure I can.”

Friday, November 4, 2016

Jackie Crockett Steps in Front of the Camera

Fans who attended TV tapings in the arenas for Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW in the 1980s and 1990s became familiar with Jackie Crockett as one of the important men behind the camera.

Not many people realize that for a short period of time in 1985, Jackie stepped in front of the camera, too, hosting selected local promos that were inserted into the syndicated programs such as "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" and "World Wide Wrestling." These segments were taped at the makeshift studio at the Crockett offices on Briarbend Drive. 

The above image is from a local promotional segment for the Columbus, Georgia TV market. Jim Crockett's affiliate for the "World Wide Wrestling" show at that time was WRBL-3 in Columbus, with Fred Ward acting as the local promoter on the ground, just as he had been for decades for Georgia Championship Wrestling.

As we build our roster of on-air talent for Jim Crockett Promotions from the 1950s-1980s, we are happy to finally locate this image and add Jackie Crockett to that list. The complete list of on-air talent for all of the various shows and studio locations during the Crockett years can be found on the right-hand side of this website. Click on any name to bring up posts related to that person.

* * * * *

Jackie played many important roles in the family business, which also included photographer. He took photos at shows primarily in Charlotte over many years, from the mid-1970s through around 1983. Some of those wonderful photos are found in a new book of his photos sold by the Crockett Foundation, the family's charitable organization run by Frances Crockett's daughter Debbie Ringley Mrozinski. (Click the graphic link below for more information.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Southeastern Championship Wrestling (Dothan)

Charlie Platt and Les Thatcher

A shot from early 1981, Charlie Platt and Les Thatcher hosting the show in the southern end of the Southeastern Championship Wrestling territory, taped at the studios of WTVY-4 in Dothan, Alabama. Thatcher also hosted the show in the northern end of the territory at that time out of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Later that same year, Ron Fuller sold the Knoxville territory to Blackjack Mulligan and Ric Flair, and concentrated his efforts out of the territory formerly known as Gulf Coast Wrestling which consisted of major towns such as Pensacola in the panhandle of Florida and cities in Alabama such as Mobile, Montgomery, and Birmingham.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Southeastern Championship Wrestling (Knoxville)

Les Thatcher and Phil Rainey on the set of "Southeastern Championship Wrestling"

"Southeastern Championship Wrestling" emanated from the television studios of WBIR-10 in Knoxville, TN. It was the NWA promotion in the mid-to-late 1970s that covered East Tennessee and later parts of Northern Alabama.

The host of the show was veteran wrestler and broadcaster Les Thatcher. His frequent co-host and promo announcer was Phil Rainey, who was one of the lead sports personalities at WBIR.

Rainey's voice is heard over the opening theme song to "Southeastern Championship Wrestling" uttering these famiar words:

"Welcome to Southeastern Championship Wrestling, featuring slow motion, instant replay, and other technical firsts. The program voted number one by the Wrestling Writers Federation. Join us now for the fast paced competition of professional wrestling, featuring the top stars from the world's largest governing body, the National Wrestling Alliance."
Thatcher was one of wrestling's busiest men (still is!) as he not only hosted the program out of Knoxville, but produced it as well. He also published the area's arena program and magazine, was a photographer, organized the local promotional spots, sold advertising, and occasionally still wrestled - - a renaissance man if there ever was one!

We are proud to spotlight this great photo from the Southeastern Championship Wrestling studio.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dusty Rhodes Promo on Ric Flair for Atlanta TV (WPCQ)

One month and one day after losing the NWA World Heavyweight Championship to Ric Flair in Kansas City on 9/17/81, Dusty Rhodes gets his rematch on 10/18/81 in the Omni in Atlanta. This taped interview with Rhodes promoted that rematch and aired on "Georgia Championship Wrestling" on Saturday, 10/03/81.

The interview was likely taped in the studios of WPCQ-36 in Charlotte, the home of television tapings for Jim Crockett Promotions since August of that same year. Crockett had just recently moved his base of TV operations from Raleigh to Charlotte. (There is also the slight possibility this was shot at the Briarbend studio where the local promos were taped, although those typically had a different background.)

The introduction by Gordon Solie was taped at the WTBS-17 studios in Atlanta, GA.  The interviewer in the clip is Ken Conrad. (Click here for more info on Ken Conrad being added to the roster of Jim Crockett Promotions on-Air Talent.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Gulf Coast Wrestling

Charlie Platt with Bob Armstrong on the set of "Gulf Coast Wrestling"

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

As I've done several times in the past on this blog, I have strayed outside the confines of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling to explore the look and feel of other studio locations for pro-wrestling from the territory days, as well as the sound and style of the broadcasters that brought us that wrestling.

When I moved to work and live in Alabama in early 1982, the local wrestling program I discovered on TV out of Montgomery and Birmingham, AL was "Southeastern Championship Wrestling" hosted by Charlie Platt and Ric Stewart. The funny thing about this program was that it had the same name and opening theme music and video sequence as the "Southeastern Championship Wrestling" show I grew up watching out of Knoxville, TN. That show was promoted by Ron Fuller and hosted by Les Thatcher, someone very familiar to me from the Mid-Atlantic area.

What I didn't know then was that in the late 1970s, Fuller had bought the territory based out of Mobile, AL promoted by Lee Fields known as "Gulf Coast Wrestling" and for several years the Knoxville show aired in the Alabama territory, too. Around 1980, Ron Fuller sold his interests in the Knoxville territory and moved his television tapings out of Knoxville down to WTVY-TV channel 4 in Dothan, AL which had been the home of Gulf Coast TV for many years.

The TV show was taped each Saturday morning and then sent out to TV markets throughout the territory which spanned from the panhandle of Florida up through roughly 2/3 the state of Alabama, just past Birmingham.

The studio setup in Dothan was much like the studio setup in Knoxville with a couple of bleachers on two sides of the ring, and a desk where the hosts sat and introduced the show and also did interviews with the wrestlers. The back-drop behind the desk of the Southeast show was the same as it had been in the 1970s in the Knoxville studio. But I had never known what the back-drop looked like for the Gulf Coast show.

But recently I came across a video on YouTube of wrestling from Georgia in 1980 where a taped interview with Bob Armstrong had been sent in as he prepared to return for a special match or two in the the territory. It was a great surprise to see the friendly face and hear the familiar voice of Charlie Platt introducing "Bullet" Bob against a back-drop I had never seen before. A closer look and I could make out the bottom half of the words "Gulf Coast" above the word "Wrestling" behind Armstrong and Platt.

I thought it was a very cool looking studio back-drop and it made me wish that during my time in Alabama that the show had still been called "Gulf Coast Wrestling." 

So this is our small glimpse across Charlie Platt's broadcast desk back in the Gulf Coast days of the Alabama/Pensacola territory. 

For a closer look at that territory in the Gulf Coast days, see Mike Norris's excellent series of articles on Kayfabe Memories or check out some of the relevant podcasts produced by Karl Stern on the premium side of the Wrestling Observer website.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Rare Studio Shot in WRAL (1975)

Ric Flair, Les Thatcher, and Johnny Valentine on the set of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling", 1975
Photo by Ric Carter

What a rare and special image from the studios of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC, in 1975. Ric Flair (wearing the Mid-Atlantic TV championship belt), host Les Thatcher, and U.S. Champion Johnny "The Champ" Valentine are apparently waiting to come back from a commercial break, as you can see the floor director or camera operator leaning against the ringpost.

LATER EDIT: Since originally posting this, we have learned that the photographer that took this shot is Ric Carter. We hope to provide more information on him and his work in a future post.

At that point in time, two separate versions of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" were taped on Wednesday nights, one hosted by long time Raleigh announcer Bob Caudle, the other hosted briefly by Sam Menacker and then regularly by Les Thatcher. After the consolidation of Charlotte and High Point TV tapings into Raleigh, the Thatcher-hosted "B" show replaced those shows in markets where more than one hour of Crockett programing aired.

This second hour of the show featured all different interviews and matches than the first hour.

This second hour of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" was later replaced by the new "Wide World Wrestling" show in October of 1975, which would be hosted by longtime Georgia wrestling host Ed Capral.

Thanks to Doc Hopper on Facebook for sharing this image with us, which he found on the Net.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Caudle, Schiavone, and Ross Together in Charlotte

Check out the article on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway about three top wrestling broadcasters from the 1970s-1990s all at the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Fanfest together in Charlotte in early August.

Mid-Atlantic Gateway:
Caudle, Schiavone, and Ross a Highlight of Fanfest

Saturday, June 25, 2016

TV Title Tournament Advertised for WRAL-5

Mark Eastridge Collection
This newspaper ad appeared in the Wilson NC newspaper on February 9, 1974. It was ent to us by Mark Eastridge.  It promotes a "Sports Special!" on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, which aired on WRAL-5 TV out of Raleigh, NC.

The "sports special" mentioned is a "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling tournament featuring America's outstanding mat men."

The show was seen in the Wilson, NC area on WRAL-5 TV at 11:30 Saturday night.

The tournament mentioned was a historic one, the prize being the first ever Mid-Atlantic Television Championship.

A month later, on the Raleigh show that was taped on 2/27/74 and aired on 3/2/74, Danny Miller defeated Ole Anderson in the finals of the tournament to become the inaugural Mid-Atlantic TV champion.

Carroll Hall of the All-Star Championship Wrestling website pointed out to us that the photo used in the ad is from 1964. "The tall guy that Sandy Scott is facing is Mike Valentino who became Baron Michel Scicluna in the WWWF," Carroll reported.

We always love coming across these old ads for TV studio wrestling!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mike Duncan (Nick Gulas Promotion)

Robert M. “Mike” Duncan, a well-known wrestling announcer in the 1970’s, passed away in Nashville, Tennessee on June 23, 2011 at the age of 64.

Mike was known as a colorful character, and fitted well into the vibrant mid-south ring scene of the time. A cousin of Jerry Jarrett, he capably commentated the TV matches in Birmingham and Nashville during Nick Gulas’s promotional reign. He later handled ring announcing duties in Louisville when his aunt, Christine Jarrett, promoted the city. Mike’s voice was also familiar on voiceovers for arena footage taped on the circuit around Memphis and used on the city’s TV wrestling shows.

If you ever wondered where Jim Cornette got his early fashion sense, here’s the answer: Mike Duncan also worked in a men’s wear store in Nashville, and cleverly put together the very first “mama’s boy suit” for the budding ring manager who would shortly become so notorious.

Mike is survived by his wife Julie, three daughters, and four grandchildren.

Photo and information from the Cauliflower Wrestling Club, "Finishes," 2013
(Website may no longer be available.)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Georgia Championship Wrestling

Gordon Solie interviews Tommy Rich and Mr. Wrestling II

The WTBS-17 studios in Atlanta were home to "Georgia Championship Wrestling" going back to the early 1970s and was later home to "World Championship Wrestling" for Jim Crockett Promotions in the mid-to-late 1980s.

An upcoming documentary called "6:05 on the SuperStation" will take a look back at the studio, station, wrestlers, and announcers who helped make wrestling on WTBS an institution on Saturday evenings. 

Jim Ross has joined up with the producers of "Mid-Atlantic Memories" documentary, and together  hope to present a similar feel-good film about a 20-year period in time when folks down south were glued to their TV sets at 6:05 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

"6:05 On The SuperStation!" will be the first film produced by Ross, who said on his "Ross Report" podcast "We're gonna make a hell of a movie!"

The film will be fan-funded. More details can be found on the website. The film also has a Twitter page where you can keep up with how things are progressing on the film.

(See also: Jim Ross Reveals First Film Project "6:05 on the SuperStation" )

Friday, June 17, 2016

During the Break at WRAL

Co-host David Crockett and Ric Flair wait during a commercial break of a taping of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling at WRAL TV studio in Raleigh, NC in 1981.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Houston Wrestling

Continuing with our recent peeks at the old territory TV shows, here is a nice shot from Paul Boesch's "Houston Wrestling" TV show. I love the studio look with the curtains in the background with a modified NWA logo hanging in front of the curtains. This was a standard look for lots of wrestling TV shows in the 1970s.

Promoter and TV host/commentator Paul Boesch interviews Chief Wahoo McDaniel before showing footage of a match where Wahoo challenged Ric Flair for the NWA world championship at the Sam Houston Coliseum in 1985. Wahoo was reigning United States champion in the Mid-Atlantic area and wore the title belt in the ring in Houston before the match with Flair.

Footage of this interview and the Flair/Wahoo title match can be seen on the NWA Classics 24/7 video on-demand service, which contains the entire Paul Boesch Houston video library. Check them out. Full details at

Sunday, May 22, 2016

David Crockett at WRAL (1981)

Promoter and broadcaster David Crockett in the studios of WRAL
television in the summer of 1981.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday Wrestling (December 1973)

Back in the territory days, before national cable networks existed, Saturday was the primary day for the 1-hour wrestling shows syndicated to local TV markets.

By December of 1973, Jim Crockett Promotions had discontinued the local studio tapings in Charlotte and High Point and consolidated everything to Raeligh's WRAL-5 studio. Also around this time, the simultanious local TV taping for the Raleigh market (which had it's own soundtrack hosted by Elliot Murnick) ended. The promotion taped two seperate hours of television each Wednesday night in Raleigh, both titled "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling." One was hosted by Bob Caulde, the other by Les Thatcher. The Caudle broadcast went to all of Crockett's TV markets. The "B" show hosted by Thatcher went to a 2nd station in a market where the "A" show was already on. (In 1975, the "B" show was repackaged as "Wide World Wrestling.")

Here is a sampling of stations and times where wrestling aired in North and South Carolina in the Mid-Atlantic territory for December 15, 1973. Notice that both the Florida and Georgia TV shows had select clearances in the territory, and occasionally a few of their top guys (particularly Dusty Rhodes) would be booked on Crockett's shows in Greensboro and less occasionally Charlotte.

TV Listings for December 15, 1973

WBTV Ch. 3 Charlotte NC (CBS)
4:00 PM Mid-Atlantic Wrestling (time approximate after NFL football)

WRET (WCNC) Ch. 36 Charlotte NC (Ind.)
6:00 PM Championship Wrestling From Florida
7:30 PM Georgia Championship Wrestling

WRAL Ch. 5 Raleigh NC (ABC)
11:30 PM Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling

WRDU (WRDC) Ch. 28 Durham NC (NBC)
3:00 PM Championship Wrestling from Florida

WGHP Ch. 8 High Point/Greensboro/Winston-Salem NC (ABC)
11:30 Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling

WCTI Ch. 12 New Bern NC (ABC)
11:30 PM Championship Wrestling from Wrestling

WFBC Ch. 4 Greenville SC  (NBC)
1:00 PM Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling

WLOS Ch. 13 Asheville NC (ABC)
11:30 PM Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (B-show)

WBTW Ch. 13 Florence, SC (ABC/CBS)
4:00 PM Mid-Atlantic Wrestling (time approximate after NFL football)

"Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" also aired on these other stations in the Mid-Atlantic area during this time in 1973:

WTVR-6 Richmond VA
WSLS-10 Roanoke VA
WAVY-10 Norfolk VA
WNOK-19 Columbia SC
WCSC-5 Charleston SC

The TV listings were partially drawn from a post on the Radio Discussions forum.

Monday, May 9, 2016

All-Star Wrestling with Ric Stewart (Kansas City)

Although technically not a "studio" shot, I love the old-school TV backdrops for the territory TV shows back in the 1970s and early 1980s. This backdrop was set up in Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS for a TV taping of "All Star Wrestling" in the Central States area in the mid-1980s. The backdrop features an artist's rendition of a wrestling ring and the classic NWA logo with the title of the show "All Star Wrestling" across the top.

Seen here are former NWA champion Harley Race with Bruiser Brody and "All-Star Wrestling" co-host Ric Stewart. Brody fought NWA world champion Ric Flair on this particular show, and Race had gotten involved. (In fact, you will see some photos of the aftermath where Race handed Brody the NWA title belt in our ongoing "Great Pretenders" feature on the Ten Pounds of Gold website.)

Ric Stewart hosted "All Star Wrestling" in the Central States area with Kevin Wall, and they were one of the top broadcast teams of that era. Stewart later briefly worked for Jim Crockett Promotions after they acquired the Central States and St. Louis booking offices, and even appeared as a commentator for Starrcade '86. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Frank Deal: The Opening Voice of WGHP Championship Wrestling (1973)

This is an ad from a 1975 TV Guide magazine for WGHP's "Eyewitness News" featuring weatherman Frank Deal. Frank's voice is the voice you heard over the theme music for WGHP's Championship Wrestling show in the early 1970s.

Charlie Harville was the host of "Championship Wrestling", but it was Frank's voice over the opening theme of the show. 

Deal was the channel-8 weatherman from 1969 to 1996. He also hosted his own "Superstar" classic movie show in primetime. 

Thanks to Carroll Hall at "All Star Championship Wrestling" blog for this image and information on Frank Deal. It's further proof we go to any lengths to document the smallest details of TV wrestling at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and Studio Wrestling!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Man Behind the Mike: Jim Carlisle (Georgia)

Jim Carlisle, WRBL-TV, Columbus GA
Wrestling Revue Magazine, August 1972
(Includes rare audio clip below.)

Born, June 19, 1939, announcer Jim Carlisle of WRBL-TV, Channel 3, Columbus, Georgia, graduated from Jordan Vocational High School in Columbus in 1957. He's married to the former Miss Betty Ann Stokes of Columbus. They have one son — Derek Scott — born December 28, 1968.

Jim has been in the radio and television industry since December 2, 1955, having started while still in high school. He has worked at stations in Chattanooga, Tenn., Montgomery, Ala., Mobile, Ala., LaGrange, Georgia, and, of course, Columbus. Has now been with WRBL-TV, Channel 3, since September of 1965. Jim is very versatile on TV, having done just about every type of program that there is.

Jim Carlisle interviews Dick Steinborn
During the late 1960's, he did a very popular show for the younger set, called "Blast-Off with V-Man," a space-man type show. After V-Man appeared in a downtown Christmas parade one year, the Columbus newspapers came out with an article saying that V-Man drew more applause from the children, and seemed to be more popular with the children, than even Santa Claus himself.

Jim calls the action on TV Wrestling every Saturday afternoon at 4:00 on WRBL-TV.

He is also the ring announcer at the wrestling matches at the Columbus Auditorium every Wednesday night.

He also writes a column, "At Ringside With Jim Carlisle," for the official wrestling program which is sold every Wednesday night at the auditorium. He gives background information on the various wrestlers who see action in the Columbus ring.

All his wrestling activities are in association with promoter Fred Ward of Columbus.

Jim Carlisle in the ring
at the Columbus Municipal Auditorium

Jim's favorite past time and hobby is fishing. He goes just about every chance he gets. A member of the Loyal Order of Moose, Jim is a Past Governor of the Columbus, Georgia, Moose Lodge No. 1166. He is also a member of the Legion of the Moose.

Jim says that he enjoys his association with wrestling, and is glad the opportunity came his way a couple of years ago. His Saturday afternoon wrestling telecasts have proven to be extremely popular with the area fans.

Several of the wrestlers have told Jim that he is one of the best that they had ever heard at calling the action on TV. And, considering the fact that they had heard wrestling announcers all across the country, Jim considers this to be a great compliment.

* * * * *
Editors's note: Jim Carlisle was also the host of "Macon Championship Wrestling" that aired on channel 9 in Macon, GA in the 1970s.

Here is an audio clip of a promo for a card in Macon in 1977 featuring the voice of Jim Carlisle.

The music bed underneath is the opening live instrumental fanfare on Neil Diamond's iconic live LP "Hot August Night."

Thanks to Carroll Hall for forwarding this article to us at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hart and Ringley on a "Championship Wrestling" Special

"Playboy" Gary Hart and JCP's John Ringley (1972)
In 1972, John Ringley hosted a special episode of "Championship Wrestling" that aired on WBTV-3 in Charlotte that focused on Rip "The Profile" Hawk. Ringley and Hawk's manager, "Playboy" Gary Hart were situated on a set in the WBTV studio. They reviewed 16mm film footage shot at the Charlotte Coliseum and Greensboro Coliseum featuring Hawk against various opponents including Jack Brisco in a battle over the Eastern Heavyweight Championship.

Matches included:
  • Rip Hawk and Swede Hansen vs. Johnny Weaver and Argentina Apollo
  • Rip Hawk and Swede Hansen vs. Johnny Weaver and Art Nelson (Greensboro)
  • Rip Hawk vs. Jack Brisco (Hawk wins Eastern title) (Charlotte)
  • Rip Hawk vs. Art Nelson (taped fists match) (Greensboro)

We recently had a conversation with Mr. Ringley about booking changes back during this very time period. That article can be found on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway by clicking this link.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Memphis voice "Big Jack Eaton" Signs Off

"Big" Jack Eaton
I always appreciate learning about other great voices from other territories, those that either hosted wrestling form the "studio days" or lent a hand to the wrestling business in those days through offering wrestling results on the local evening news.

Scott Bowden writes of the passing of veteran Memphis TV personality Jack Eaton in a recent column on his excellent site Kentucky Fried Rasslin'. ("A wrestling perspective that's both original AND extra crispy.")

Eaton, who Bowden explains was likely better known as the voice of the Memphis State Tigers football and basketball teams, was also well known by wrestling fans for lending his voice to wrestling highlights on the WMC-5 news broadcasts.

When Jerry “the King” Lawler defeated Eddie Gilbert in a loser-leaves-town bout to send the hated leader of the First Family packing, Eaton cracked, “If Jimmy Hart owes you money, you’d better find him fast.”
The article contains an embedded video link to rare footage of Jack Eaton showing highlights from a jam packed Mid-South Coliseum bout between AWA Champion Nick Bockwinkle and Southern champ Jerry Lawler.

A nice article, check it out as you have  chance.

Channel 5’s Big Jack Eaton Signs Off
by Scott Bowden, Kentucky Fried Rasslin

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The "Golden Voice" of Channel 4

by Don Holbrook
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Billy Powell was a local celebrity in Greenville, South Carolina and the surrounding area. He had his own daily radio show on WFBC radio and eventually became program director. He did voice over work for WFBC TV. He was a fill in weatherman on TV and he did ad agency voice over work on the side. All that plus, ring announcer at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium on Monday nights. He did the additional local spots during TV wrestling on channel 4 telling us who would be in Greenville on Monday nights.

Paul Winkhaus (local promoter for Greenville and Asheville) was a good man but his voice sounded sort of like Uncle Joe's on Petticoat Junction. I remember one Monday Billy was sick and Mr. Winkhaus had to do the ring announcing. That was when he told me just before the show started, "Well, the golden voice of channel 4 isn't going to be here, so it looks like all these good people are stuck with me tonight."

And he was right because no one could ever top Billy's unique sound and style. He was as much of a part of Greenville wrestling as anyone who ever stepped into the ring.