Mudcat Café message #2207211 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106708   Message #2207211
Posted By: Peter Kasin
02-Dec-07 - 08:31 PM
Thread Name: BS: Wrestling in the 50/60/early 70ties
Subject: RE: BS: Wrestling in the 50/60/early 70ties
I loved big time rtestling, and between '64-'66, I was glued to the TV every friday night for what in the SF Bay Area was called "National All-Star Wrestling," broadcast live on a local station, KTVU. The announcer was Walt Harris. I went a couple of times to be in the studio audience, when I was 11, 12. During a commercial break, one of the studio men had to tell me and a friend to stop yelling so much. however, there were these regulars, these elderly women in the front row, who were calling out the most vicious stuff: "Break his arm!" was typical. There's an excuse for a kid to take it so seriously, but, man, these older folks....

The heroes and villains were often, but not always, divided by race. Japanese wrestlers were villains, most Mexicans were heroes. My personal heroes were Pepper Gomez and, second to him, Bearcat Wright. Chief villains were Kinji Shibuya, Ray Stevens, and Stevens's tag team partner, Pat Patterson. Stevens and Patterson were bleach blonde, pot-bellied, and Stevens had a running feud with Pepper Gomez. Then there was the designated loser to the villains, who was there to build up the "championship" match to be held later at SF's "Cow Palace." Larry Williams took in that role. Then there was the "ringside doctor." His only role was to stand up from his table when a villain smashed a hero's head into it.

No matter where these matches were held, it was always the same basic script: the tag team villian distracts the referee while his partner "cheats." Everyone is screaming at the ref to turn around, but of course he is oblivious. The villain takes over the mike from the announcer during the "interviews."
Then there was midget wrestling: little Beaver (with a Mohawk haircut)...can't remember the other midget wrestlers.

These days there's hardly a distinction between heroes and voillians, it seems. Gone are the days of the pot-bellies, the local broadcasts, the shows at the Cow Palace. It was great show business, but it was obvious that these underpaid wrestlers, in a dangerous business, were very good athletes.