Quick Bits: Whipper and the Hallway

Though not quite as famous as the ramp the hallway has some history too. At Maple Leaf Gardens the entrance to the dressing rooms was a hallway from the arena floor. There were a few steps to the ramp which led to the ring. In earlier eras Frank Tunney headed the hall, always smartly dressed with an ever present cigar. In the boom of the 1950s he was often accompanied by Pat Flanagan or Whipper Watson and others as they ran the show. Frank was there right into the early 70's as you can see in some of Roger Baker's photos around the site. In this one below Roger captures a sharp looking Whipper taking in the bouts from the hall.
Whipper in the hallway 1960

On the MLG Film and in other photos from the collection you can also see the wrestlers waiting their turn to the ring. Often the villains and heroes just a few feet apart. In the photo below from 1957 it's a rare look from up the hall as Fritz Von Erich & Gene Kiniski battle with Whipper & Pat O'Connor  Oct 1957. The bad guys had just won the tag titles after Roy McLarity (he's in white) interfered and they all brawl down the ramp, and into the hall. You can see Flanagan and others at the entrance behind the wrestlers.

By the Mid-Atlantic era that entrance was always covered by a curtain so you couldn't see down the hall until they opened it. Sometimes Jack Tunney or Billy Red, or one of the wrestlers would stand in front of it watching the bouts. Meanwhile inside the hall and behind the curtain the wrestlers would pose for photos in front of the telltale MLG brickwork before hitting the ramp.

Some photos in the hall M-A era
Other times they would step out to talk to fans or watch the bouts. Below Jay Youngblood steps out in front of the curtain for a photo op in 1982. You can also note the empty camera mount and seat when they had a camera running above the entrance. 


-AC and Youngblood photo by... 

Thanks to Roger Baker