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 racing-reference.info)


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.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sam Muchnick Renews KPLR Contract (1966)

Wrestling Revue Magazine 1966

NWA President Sam Muchnick (left) and Harold Koplar (right) flank announcer George Abel as Muchnick signs a contract to continue to present "Wrestling at the Chase" on KPLR TV in St. Louis.

Koplar was the founder of KPLR-TV channel 11, one of the most successful independent stations in broadcast television history. Part of the success was the legendary and historic "Wrestling at the Chase" TV show which promoted the regular wrestling events at Kiel Auditorium and later the Checkrdome and the St. Louis Arena.

"Wrestling at the Chase" was produced by the St. Louis Wrestling Club through the production facilities of KPLR. The St' Louis Wrestling Club was Muchnick's wrestling promotion in the Gateway City, and the epicenter for the territorial wrestling organization known as the National Wrestling Alliance.

The show was originally taped in the Khorassan Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, also owned by Koplar. It later moved to a smaller venue in the adjoining KPLR TV studios.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Bill Krieger: Sports Director and Wrestling Host (Greenville SC)

Bill Krieger was the sports director at WFBC-4 (now WYFF) in Greenville SC for many years.

In 1961, Krieger also hosted a studio wrestling show taped at WFBC called "Live Championship Wrestling."

No photos of the ring set up in the WFBC studio are known to exist, but both Krieger and Billy Powell report in separate interviews with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway that it was a very small studio with two small bleachers on two sides of the ring, accommodating roughly 50-60 people.

For more information on live studio wrestling held at WFBC (now WYFF) channel 4 in Greenville, SC, visit our WFBC Studio Wrestling page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Tribute to Bob Caudle

Featuring the voice of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" Bob Caudle.

Also seen in this video:
David Crockett, Johnny Weaver, Lance Russell, Ric Flair, J.J. Dillon, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Baby Doll, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, Wahoo McDaniel, Jim Cornette with the Midnight Express and more.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Russ Dubuc: The Lost Voice of Wide World Wrestling

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In the late fall of 1977, Jim Crockett Promotions replaced Ed Capral as the host of their syndicated program "Wide World Wrestling" with a fellow by the name of Russ Dubuc. I've long thought of Russ Dubuc as the "lost voice" of Wide World Wrestling. He only hosted for a few months and is largely forgotten in the annals of Crockett Promotions television history.

I recently came across an audio recording of an episode of Wide World Wrestling hosted by Dubuc from February 4, 1978. I thought I would document his contributions to studio wrestling here with a sample of his voice from that program.

In this clip, Dubuc is making viewers aware of how they can get their very own Wide World Wrestling bumper sticker. At the end of the clip you'll briefly hear the voice of Ricky Steamboat, his guest color-commentator for the week. The audio is pretty low fidelity, but you should be able to make it out.

Dubuc was replaced as host by booker George Scott and Tom Miller in the early spring of 1978. Miller was a popular regional radio personality and friend of the promotion. He had co-hosted "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" with Bob Caudle in the summer of 1976, and would later become the regular ring announcer at the Greensboro Coliseum.

No photos exist of Debuc on the job at the wrestling tapings at WRAL, but we were able to locate some video of Russ calling a water-skiing tournament for ESPN in the early 1980s, and captured this still image of him with ESPN personality Kevin Slaten.

Not much is known about Dubuc's background, but we're always on the hunt for more information. We hope to provide some further information soon.

Russ Dubuc may not be widely remembered by Mid-Atlantic area wrestling fans, but his contributions to Jim Crockett Promotions and studio wrestling at WRAL in Raleigh will be remembered forever here on the Studio Wrestling website and the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

* * * * *

Wide World Wrestling Theme Music 1975-1978
Check out this post on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway with streaming audio of the "Wide World Wrestling" theme music used during the time Russ Dubuc was host of the program.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Paul Winkhaus Tribute on "All Star Championship Wrestling" Site

Paul Winkhaus
Carroll Hall, who publishes the "All Star Championship Wrestling" website, recently posted some material related to Crockett Greenville promoter Paul Winkhaus, including his obituary.

Winkhaus promoted Greenville, Asheville, Anderson, and smaller towns in that area for Jim Crockett Promotions for several decades. He also co-hosted some promotional segments on WLOS-13 out of Asheville, NC, for the local shows at the Asheville Auditorium in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The segments were taped at the WLOS studio and were hosted and produced by then WLOS sports director Munsey Milliway.

Some good stuff there, including an early photo of Winkhaus with boxer Tony "Two Ton" Galento, circa 1930s.

Here are the links:
For more information on the studio segments at WLOS with Winkhaus and Milliway, visit our page for wrestling at the WLOS-TV Studio.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Local Promos in the WRAL Studio

This great studio shot from the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, NC was featured in one of the Weston magazines in 1979.

Rich Landrum (host of "World Wide Wrestling" for Jim Crockett Promotions at the time) is conducting local promos for "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling." With him are NWA TV champion #1 Paul Jones, Greg Valentine, and Mid-Atlantic heavyweight champion Ken Patera.

Patera may be congratulating Jones for joining the right team in 1979, that being the "bad guys." Paul had recently been a victim of brutal betrayal from partner Ricky Steamboat in a 2-ring battle royal in Charlotte. (Or at least that's Paul's story. And to this day, he is sticking to it.)

Landrum was the longtime ring announcer in Richmond, VA, and hosted "World Wide Wrestling" from the fall of 1978 until early 1982.  In this photo he's either giving Paul the evil eye or, perhaps more likely, keeping an eye on the time clock.

I love seeing these shots from the old studios.

The backdrop seen here was the set used for "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" from 1974-1978. This old set, which was replaced with a new one in 1978, was used for the local insert promotional segments ("Let's take time for this commercial message about the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events coming up in YOUR area...") until the summer of 1981 when Crockett moved TV production to WPCQ in Charlotte.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Bob Caudle Named Program Director at WRAL (1975)

Article published 12/21/75
This article appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer on December 21, 1975. Bob Caudle, longtime host of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" taped at the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, was being named program director for WRAL.

James Goodman, president and general manager of he station, made the announcement.

The most relevant piece of information to come from this report was confirmation of the date Bob first came to WRAL, listed here as April of 1962. 

A light-hearted promotional video was made at the time which aired during the WRAL newscasts when Goodman later named Bob Debardelaben as Bob Caudle's replacement doing the weather forecasts. The video also included cameos by Blackjack Mulligan, longtime Raleigh wrestling announcer Nick Pond, and Raleigh promoter Joe Murnick.

We posted that video and story a few years ago and it has been one of our most popular posts.

Check that out here:
1976 Weather Promo has 5 Wrestling Connections 

Special thanks to Carroll Hall at the "All Star Championship Wrestling" website for sending us this terrific bit of news from the past. This sure was good news for the Caudle family four days before Christmas in 1975.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Studio Wrestling at WNOK-19 in Columbia, SC

Carroll Hall (All Star Championship Wrestling) has documented new information about an additional location for studio wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions. With the help of Kriss Knights, Carroll was able to verify through newspaper reports that wrestling was taped at the studios of WNOK-19 in Columbia SC from 2/03/62 until 2/02/63.

The actual name of the show is not known. Like other shows of the era, it was likely titled "Championship Wrestling" or "All Star Wrestling", but the listings simply refer to it as Live Wrestling. The show was hosted by WNOK sportscaster Jim Paul.

This brings the total to ten (10) of the number of television studio locations for live TV wrestling and/or taped TV wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1956-1988. The complete list is always posted in the right-hand column of this site.

We'll be updating our Studio Wrestling section on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway with more information on wrestling at WNOK soon.

Here is the post Carroll Hall made on his "All Star Championship Wrestling" website after confirmation of this site for studio wrestling.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Studio Wrestling in Nashville (1977)

This image is of a ticket printed in an event program for Nick Gulas's Studio Wrestling show out of the studios of WNGE-TV in Nashville, TN. The program was for the show at the Nashville Fairgrounds on December 14, 1977. The ticket is good for the TV taping on Saturday December 18.

WNGE (which stood for Nashville General Electric) was originally WSIX-TV channel 8, and is now WKRN-TV channel 2.

From the Nashville Broadcasting History website:
Live studio wrestling was a popular early program on WSIX-TV. Sponsored by Harold L. Shyer Jewelers ("If you don't know diamonds, know your jeweler...and if Harold says it's so, it's so"), early performers included the Fargo brothers, the Greene brothers, the Germans and their manager, "Gentleman" Saul Weingeroff, Tojo Yamamoto and others.

Promoted by the popular Nick Gulas, many Nashvillians remember the night things got out of control in the WSIX-TV studio and a female fan got so angry with the villainous Jackie Fargo that she took off her high-heeled shoe and when he jumped out of the ring, she hit him over the head with it. (Pictured above: The "Fabulous One"Jackie Fargo with sposor Harold L. Shyer.)


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Apostolou Acquires Starland Arena (1965)

Our friend Kyle Rosser sent us this bit of info he found on Roanoke wrestling promoter Pete Apostolou and Starland Arena that was on the Roanoke News website from 1965:

“Professional wrestling has found a new home in Roanoke. Pete Apostolou, president of the Roanoke Sports Club, announced Saturday that part of former Starland Bowl at 3555 Shenandoah Ave., N.W., has been acquired as a wrestling arena.”
Apostolou appeared regularly as a color commentator on his TV show "All-Star Wrestling" in the 1960s. The show was hosted by WDBJ-7 personality Hal Grant and aired live on WDBJ on Saturday afternoons.

The Starland Bowl was a skating rink and bowling alley until being converted into the famous Starland Arena in 1965. It became home to Mid-Atlantic wrestling events in Roanoke for over two decades.

For more information on "All Star Wrestling" from Roanoke, visit Studio Wrestling: WDBJ-7 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Los Angeles Thunderbirds Roller Derby (1970s)

I know it's not related to studio wrestling in the 1970s, but during the same time I got interested in pro wrestling, I also loved watching Los Angeles Thunderbirds roller derby which came on right after wrestling at 12:30 AM on WLOS-13 out of Asheville, NC.  (I have posted about this earlier.)

On this page I plan to collect some video from those days that is on YouTube, perhaps some photos, too.

But THE place to go for all things T'birds is Scott Stephens' excellent history site. Click the graphic or link below.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

"All Star Wrestling" Memories at WDBJ in Roanoke

I came across some nice memories of wrestling in the studios of WDBJ channel 7 in Roanoke on a sports blog called "Damp Fang" that was published back 2010.

I love little tidbits like this:

The ring was not like the current wrestling rings built today. The corner post were made of wood and there are two known instances in which the post cracked. Both times Johnny Weaver threw his opponent into the turnbuckle so hard that the post cracked and leaned inward.

The writer (unidentified) gives a brief history of "All Star Wrestling" in Roanoke, locally produced at WDBJ by promoter Pete Apostolou and hosted by WDBJ TV personality Hal Grant. Some of his supporting information is credited to my friend Carroll Hall's "Wrestling Memories" website and the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Hall Grant at the desk in the studios of WDBJ-7 in Roanoke, VA.
Promoter Pete Apostolou is seen in the inset photo.

The full article can be found here:

A look back at All Star Wrestling on WDBJ-7
July 15, 2010

Sunday, January 7, 2018

All-Star Wrestling with Bill Kersten

Bill Kersten was the long-time voice of "All Star Wrestling" in Kansas City for many years in the 1960s and 1970s. We are told that this studio production was taped at KBMA TV 41 in Kansas City, later KSHB 41. (Thanks to reader Tyrone Mendez.) Later as they moved into the 1980s, the tapings moved to Memorial Hall in Kansas City.

Here is a little audio sample of Bill Kersten on "All Star Wrestling" circa 1977 introducing NWA World Champion (and Kansas City hometown boy) "Handsome" Harley Race, as well as his call of the pinfall and heading to commercial.


See also NWA Champion "Handsome" Harley Race vs. Terry Gibbs in the Kansas City TV Studio 

 Some info on this territory written by Chris Owens on the WrestlingClassics.com message board in 2000:

The Central States area probably had its highest talent level in the late 60s and early 70s, when the promotion featured such names as Bob Geigel, Bulldog Bob Brown, Rufus R. Jones, Danny Littlebear, Omar Atlas, Black Angus Campbell (managed by Percival A. Friend), Nature Boy Roger Kirby, Lord Alfred Hayes, Mike George and "Mad Dog" Harley Race.
In the late 70s, Col. Buck Robley and his Army came into the area as the major heels for several years. At various times, the Army included Buzz "Avalanche" Tyler, Bruiser Bob Sweetan, Bobby Jaggers, the Blue Yankee and others. Bulldog Bob Brown, usually a heel, did a face turn to battle against the army. Ted Dibiase, Harley Race, Rufus Jones, Ken Lucas and Kevin Sullivan were all guys who I recall taking part in the long struggle against Robley and the Army.

The early 80s saw a decline in the promotion (at least in my eyes), as many of the familiar names disappeared from the territory and were replaced by guys like Mr. Pogo and Gypsy Joe. Strapped for cash because of the failure of the St. Louis promotion that Geigel, Pat O'Connor, Race and Verne Gagne had purchased from Sam Muchnick, the talent level dropped again in the mid-80s.

Jesse Ventura, Dusty Rhodes, Dick Murdoch, Ox Baker, Thunderbolt Patterson and many other stars began their careers in the Central States area.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Rich Landrum and Ric Flair (1979)

Some rare footage of "World Wide Wrestling" host Rich Landrum and Ric Flair from 1979 in the WRAL studios. I believe this 1-minute segment was something recorded and sent to other territories where Ric would be appearing. Posted on Twitter by Kris Zellner.

Fun when new WRAL footage of any kind pops up out of nowhere.

If the video will not play in your browser, go directly to Kris's tweet with this link: