Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sept 27 1980 Photo Spotlight

A Photo Spotlight in Ring Magazine. There were a few in Ring late 70's early 80's era but by this time we were hard pressed to find major coverage in the magazines of the era.

In the 'Apter' mags there were lots of photos taken at MLG and used in the generalized stories but you have to look very close in some of them as they would crop out the identifying features.

Obvious signs that would prove it was MLG such as refs Terry Yorkston, Fred Atkins, or John Laing, the huge scoreboard hanging from the roof, or the signage along the end blues with upcoming concerts, or Ice Capades - give it away.

There were quite a few stories or Spotlights on Toronto from the 60's up with some of the big bouts here getting features of their own. Dewey vs Bockwinkel in 1980, Billy Red vs Brisco 1974, the 50th Anniversary in 1981 stand out.

Our own Roger Baker contributed many during the 60's and early 70's. Definitely track those down as they feature a lot of real info as Roger would travel and cover the wrestlers and get to know them, as well as a lot of candid photos (Bulldog Brower enjoying some classical music in his apartment!)  

This one from Ring is of the Sept 27 1980 card

9/27/80 MLG
Greg Valentine W Ric Flair
Tiger Jeet Singh W/DQ Hossein Arab
Angelo Mosca N/C Bobby Duncum
Paul Jones/George Wells W Swede Hanson/Gene Lewis
The Destroyer W Don Kernodle
Frankie Laine W Ron Ritchie





Friday, September 1, 2017

'Wild Bill' Potts ! 1936 and the Amateur scene

So last entry was on Wild Bill Zim the colorful wrestler who worked around Ontario in the 1940's and '50s, this time we find none other than Wild Bill Potts. This is the only time I have seen that nickname for our future 'Whipper Watson.'

Young Bill had been wrestling around the area, starting on trainer Phil Lawson's frequent amateur meets and tournaments in Toronto and across Southern Ontario.  By 1935 Bill would start to move into the pro side of the sport. At that time there appears to be some grey area between the amateur and pro ranks. In addition to the strictly amateur contests some of the pro cards had the amateurs who would 'wrestle' but add some of the 'entertainment' aspects to the show.

We have featured Edwin 'Red' Garner on the site and here on the blog and his long running promotion around the north of Toronto. He was a standout amateur and would feature many of the amateur stars of that era on his shows, usually promoted as lightweights.

Many of the amateurs of the 1920's and 30s would go on to long careers both as wrestlers and referees. Jack Forbes, Cliff Worthy, Bert 'The Little Flower of Uxbridge' Maxwell, Al 'Krusher' Korman, Sam Gotter, Winnett (Pat Flanagan) Watson,  and Ken 'Tiger' Tasker were all notable amateurs on the Toronto scene first.

Some others that would go pro but were too light for the most part to work on the MLG cards would work on the many cards in around Toronto that featured the lightweights or pegged as middleweights. Jim Allen, Ernie Hughson, Harvey Stanfield, and Ted McKinley were some of those that were very successful in the amateur circles. McKinley is the reason I dug up this ad as i am working on a look at his career.

Which takes us back to "Wild Bill' Potts. The Wild Bill moniker went back many years and quite a few pro wrestlers used it, most notably Bill Longson, whom in 1947 (the then) Whipper Watson would beat for the NWA (Association) World Title. The fellow on the ad I assume is Ted McKinley. His grandson contacted me and we are awaiting to see if a photo of Ted can be found. Bert Maxwell, pre horticulturist days, is at that time 'Mighty' Maxwell and 'Krusher' is still just 'Al.'

The clip from Richmond Hiill is May 25 1936 and below that just a regular Bill Potts in Bowmanville Oct 18 1935. The Bowmanville is a strictly amateur show. .



































Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wild Bill Zim !

It's always great to hear from family of wrestlers who appeared in Ontario. Recently I heard from the son of Wild Bill Zim, a very interesting and well traveled star of the 30's to 50's.

Mike Zim has done an admirable job putting together a very detailed and lengthy ring results record for his Dad who wrestled in many areas including Ontario. Wild Bill Zim (and a long list of aka's including Zimovitch, Zimm, Zimmo, and many other variations) was a very colorful character, larger than life, as many of the early pro wrestlers were.

Mike has a site up at http://www.wildbillzim.com/   if you click on the 'more' you will see the very detailed ring record created with help from Don Luce, Scott Teal, Kasper Christiansen, Jimmy Wheeler, Scott George, and others, but especially especially, J Michael Kenyon.

Self Caricature on right 

The story of Wild Bill has a strong Ontario connection. He wrestled quite a bit on Larry Kasaboski's 'Northland' circuit and also got to Maple Leaf Gardens several times

He had been scheduled at MLG in 1939 but his first appearance in Toronto would come on Dec 3 1942. Billed from Arizona, Zim was described as the latest in 'Mat Maestro Tunney's importation of oddities in pachyderms to expose on the weekly squirm cards...Zim sports a luxuriant growth of shoulder-long hair and Mr. Tunney hastens to deny that Zim is one of the Seven Sutherland Sisters incognito, He is matched with Jan Gotch.'

*The Seven Sutherland Sisters was a family "act" that toured to great acclaim showing 37 feet of long dark hair.

He faced super-villain Nanjo Singh on Dec 17 1942 and returned again to face both Jack Claybourne and Yvon Robert. His time on the Northern circuit was more plentiful, with several tours and some big bouts.


In addition to the far north spots that Kasaboski ran, they also moved into Barrie for several summers in the 1950's that resulted in a bit of a promotional war with Tunney.

The photo at right is from 1949 Sault Ste Marie Ontario, left to right Jim Barnett,  Tony Martinelli, Wild Bill, Monty Leduc/LaDue, and a 'Masked Marvel' said to be Bobby Nelson

The Northland shows were well attended and according to reports of the time, the fans enjoyed these (and Red Garner's cards) more than Tunney's cards in the area. Wild Bill appeared across the circuit including the shows in Rouyn Noranda, Quebec.

Wild Bill was also an accomplished artist and documented his life travels with interesting caricatures, portraits, and busts, both of fellow wrestlers and others he met along the way. Mike shared some great pictures and artwork, some of which was done at the Sunset Cabins resort which was owned by Herb Parks and later his brother Bill 'Dinty' Parks.


The resort is where the wrestlers would stay while up on their summer tours of the area and is the source of the naming of the 'sunset flip.' It's probable that the lure of the Ontario north was part of the attraction for U.S. based wrestlers such as Zim and others including Dory Funk Sr.

pic at right has Wild Bill holding up Marvel's mask with Larry Kasaboski

A must read on the territory is the book 'The Rassler From Renfrew' by the late Gary Howard.

Track it down, its one of the best books ever written on pro wrestling and really captures the era and the legacy of the Kasaboski's, the Parks brothers, Bill (not Bull) Curry, Frankie Hart, Wild Bill Zim, and the many regulars that traveled the Northern towns for many years.

If you can help Mike with any ring results that aren't already on his record send him a note
thanks to Mike for the use of the photos and all of the items shared with MLW ! 
 http://www.wildbillzim.com/





Thursday, July 6, 2017

Jack Corcoran portrait

A fine portrait of Toronto Wrestling & Boxing Promoter Jack Corcoran found in the City of Toronto Archives.

It is an Alexandra Studio commissioned photograph, the studio run by the legendary Turofsky brothers.

They have 194_ ?  as date. Have seen both 1892 and 1894 as date of birth so guessing mid to later part of the decade, putting him in his early to mid 50's in this pic.

I looked at his life in a longer article on the site at Jack Corcoran: The Queensbury King
Very interesting guy and evidently the inspiration business wise for his protege and successor Frank Tunney. He ran Toronto Wrestling from 1930 -1939 and boxing from about 1922. While he sold out to the Tunney brothers in 1939 he stayed somewhat active around the office for several more years and lived in the city until his death in 1965.

Always seeking info on Jack please comment or contact me if you can add to the story above.