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We were very fortunate to
obtain rare archival photographs from WBTV in Charlotte through our
friend Mike Cline. These photos were taken by G.B. Warren and
taken in 1965 and 1967. The
shots are from four different matches, and at least two different TV
tapings. Carroll Hall has helped us identify everyone in three of
the matches which include:
Skull Murphy and Brute Bernard vs.
Peppy Gomez and Lorenzo Parente
George Becker and Johnny Weaver vs.
Jack Vansky and The Viking
Klondike Bill and Greg Peterson vs.
P.Y.Chung and Haru Sasaki
The fourth match proved more difficult
in identifying the wrestlers, but is thought to at least involve
Steve Bolus and Rowdy Red Roberts. The referee for all of the
matches was Walt Buckner.
In the photo above, George Becker has
Jack Vansky snared in his patented abdominal stretch as Johnny
Weaver slaps the Viking the sleeper. Referee Walt Buckner asks
Vansky if he submits.
Some further background detail provided
by wrestling historian Carroll Hall (from
- - The Viking had come to Jim Crockett
Promotions very late in 1964 as the partner of Sir Nelson Royal.
Royal and the Viking parted ways in the summer of 1965 as Nelson
was beginning his face turn. Nelson Royal would become a face
cowboy and team with Tex McKenzie by the fall of 1965.
- - Jack Vansky claimed to have the
strongest neck in the world. Sometimes the ring announcer's
would introduce him as Jack "The Neck" Vansky. On a few
occasions during Vansky's tours of the area, photos were shown
of Vansky towing a Greyhound bus or a railroad car with rope
around his neck.
- - The match with Klondike Bill and
Greg Peterson vs. P.Y.Chung and Haru Sasaki would have taken
place between March and September 1967 as that is the timeframe
that Klondike and Peterson wrestled here as a team.
With the assistance of Mark Eastridge,
Carroll Hall has nailed down the dates these photographs were taken.
The photographs that involve the Weaver/Becker and Bernard/Murphy
teams were from a show that aired 5/29/65. The photographs that
involve the Klondike Bill/Peterson team were taken 5/13/67. This
information came from actual newspaper listings for each show.
These photographs are a real treasure,
and offer us a glimpse of a special time gone by.
- Dick Bourne