Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Memories of Toronto with Roger Baker: Keswick Park 1967

We are very fortunate to have Roger Baker contributing his vast knowledge and memories of Toronto wrestling to this site. This time, Keswick Park, Terrible Ted, and Whipper!

Roger takes on the bear! 
 'It was back in the summer of 1967, I had received a phone call from wrestler Paul Diamond that Whipper Watson and Dave McKigney were going to a lakeside park in Keswick  to entertain a group of challenged youngsters.

 I was very excited at the prospect having the opportunity to be on hand, and possibly get involved as well, I called the Whipper to hear from him the details of the planned event and the location as well.

 I invited a young fellow that lived in the same apt. building as myself to tag along with me to Keswick as I knew that he would enjoy seeing the bear take on all comers.

 The afternoon was all that I hoped it might be. First was a very informative and visual demonstration of wrestling holds and grips applied by Whipper Watson. McKigney had brought Terrible Ted to the park in his own custom trailer and the children would have a closeup look at a very large bear.

Phil Watson far left watches one of his pals take on Ted

 Whipper's 17 year old son Phil (later Whipper Watson Jr.) along with several of his friends were also in attendance, McKigney yelled out 'Who wants to try and wrestle with the bear?' and one of Phil's pals stepped forward to meet the challenge. He lasted about 90 seconds before McKigney pulled the bear away.

 At this point no one else seemed interested in having a go with Ted so I stepped up to the plate and accepted the invitation. I will say for sure that when that big and heavy bear is smothering you with his massive paws and slobbering on your face it can be very intimidating. I think the Bearman let Ted maul me for about a minute and a half. Afterwards Whipper made mention that because a bear is round shouldered -it can't actually be pinned.

Whipper applies a painful hammerlock in a demonstration

 When the afternoon's activities concluded the Whipper invited both myself and my friend to join him and his wife as well as Phil and his buddies for dinner at Whipper's home which backed onto Lake Simcoe. Whipper's wife was a very gracious hostess and we had an early dinner as Whipper had to leave at 6pm. He had a wrestling match scheduled at MLG that evening.'


Dave and Ted romp in Lake Simcoe behind Whipper's home