Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ring Announcer Tom Miller

Tom Miller introduces Barry Windham and NWA World Champion Ric Flair
before their title match in Fayetteville, NC in January of 1987

For lots more about "Truckin' Tom Miller and his various roles in Jim Crockett Promotions, check out all of our related posts on the Studio Wrestling website.

Also see our post on the 1975 "Wide World Wrestling" theme music on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Big Bill Ward (1958)

Host of "Championship Wrestling from 1958-1974 on WBTV-3 Charlotte
Publicity photo from 1958 Wrestling Photo Album

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wrestling & Roller Derby on WLOS (1970)

In the early 1970s, TV wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions was still being taped in three different locations: WBTV-3 in Charlotte NC, WGHP-8 in High Point NC, and WRAL-5 in Raleigh NC. The consolidation of television production to WRAL would not take place until 1974.

The Raleigh show hosted by Bob Caudle, titled "All Star Wrestling" went out to most of the Crockett TV markets. Some markets had a second program, and during this time, we believe that program was the show taped in High Point hosted by Charlie Harville titled "Championship Wrestling." In the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market, we know this to be the case from audio recordings from WLOS in the early 1970s.

The newspaper clipping seen here shows a Saturday evening line-up for WLOS-13 in Asheville, NC from August 1, 1970. Included in that line-up is "Championship Wrestling" at 6:30 PM and the stars advertised included George Becker, Johnny Weaver, and  the Infernos.

Munsey Millaway
During this time, WLOS sports director Munsey Millaway and local JCP promoter Paul Winkhaus would host special promotional segments pre-taped at the local studios of WLOS that would air during the same time Charlie Harville was doing his local interviews for the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market.

This listing is from that time period. (More on Munsey Millaway here.)

Also fun to see Roller Derby listed at 11:30 PM. I'm assuming this was the show that featured the "world famous" Los Angeles Thunderbirds that was popular during that era and featured such stars as Ronnie "Psycho" Rains, "Skinny Minnie" Gwen Miller, Ralphie Valladares, heel manager Georgia Hass and many others. When we first got cable and I could watch WLOS, "Wide World Wrestling" with Ed Capral came on at 11:30 Pm followed by Roller Derby at 12:30 AM. I didn't know it at the time, but the tapes we saw in the mid-70s were actually originally recorded and aired in the early 1970s.

Check out this earlier post on another wrestling/roller derby double feature.

Good memories! Thanks to Carroll Hall at the "All-Star Championship Wrestling" blog for sending us this clipping.

Friday, March 3, 2017

TV Wrestling Debuts from WFBC-4 in Greenville SC (1960)

Composite graphic courtesy of Carroll Hall

We are proud to be able to add another name to our official roster of on air talent for Jim Crockett Promotions.

WFBC Greenville TV personality Bob Poole was the first host of "Championship Wrestling" that was taped at the studios of WFBC and aired exclusively on that channel in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville market in the early 1960s. The program debuted on WFBC-4 on Saturday, March 26, 1960.

WFBC's sports director Bill Krieger followed Poole as host of "Championship Wrestling" in February of 1961.  

Poole had various roles at the station, also prominently hosting a program called "Bob Poole's Gospel Favorites" on Sunday mornings on channel 4.

Thanks to Carroll Hall at the All-Star Championship Wrestling website for this information.

For a complete list of on-air talent for Jim Crockett Promotions from the late 1950s through 1988, see the list of filter links on the right hand side of this page. 

More information on the history of "Championship Wrestling" at WFBC-4 in Greenville, SC, can be found in the Mid-Atlantic Almanac Studio TV History section on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Jim Crockett Promotions Television Affiliates - 1979

This list was included in 1979 and 1980 editions of "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine" published by Jim Crockett Promotions.

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.