Thursday, May 26, 2011

100 Entries = Countless Memories

It's a technique used endlessly over the years. All the legends did it. Lucy. Dick Van Dyke. The Simpsons...often shamelessly. No, I'm not claiming to be a sitcom, but I am stealing one of their all-time most dreaded devices. If you're kind, you can call it a retrospective. But there's an uglier word for it. The infamous "F" word.


With this being the 100th entry of this blog, I've decided to go back and take a look at some of the truly memorable entries. In a blog that's largely based on nostalgia, where better to get a bit nostalgic? With so many newer readers in the past few months, some of you may be learning about a number of these entries for the first time.

For those of you who have been with me since the first entry, I haven't forgotten you. First off, thank you for sticking with me for the past two plus years. Second, there is a bit of new content at the end of the entry.

Although I just recently started discussing the blood, sweat, and tears of wrestling meet and greets, one of the first major entries that I did was a review of IWC's Night of Legends 2009 show. If I hadn't started attending IWC shows back in 2001, I wouldn't have ended up meeting so many of the wrestlers that I've had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with.

One of those legends that I first met through IWC and have had the pleasure of meeting with many times since is the one and only Bruno Sammartino. "The Living Legend's" acceptance of the 2010 Dapper Dan Lifetime Achievement Award was my reason for this particular entry, but it remains only a small passage of the story of Bruno and Pittsburgh wrestling that needs to be told. Many more entries on both subjects are slated for the future.

Another topic which I plan on revisiting in the future is the series I call "Wrestling MarketWatch." Lifting half of the title from CBS (with my sincerest apologies to the "Eye"), these entries cover all forms of wrestling memorabilia and the latest going prices for the items. While I contend that price guides are dead in the era of eBay, these entries should fill the void quite nicely for the wrestling collector.

It's always nice when I can get input from the creators of the wrestling memorabilia. Two such entries are among my favorites and, judging from the feedback I received on them, favorites of yours as well. The first re-introduced the 1991 Wrestling Legends trading card set. Featuring Bruno, Buddy Rogers, Lou Thesz, and Lou Albano among many others, the set was produced by a Pittsburgh-based company called Imagine Inc. Although now defunct, the then-vice president of the company, Tim Ferrante, was kind enough to share memories and photos from the time of production.

The second entry highlighted the first in-house WWWF/WWF publication entitled Wrestling Action. Wrestling legend and editor of Wrestling Action, Les Thatcher, was kind enough to provide exclusive insight into these great magazines. Counting this five-issue series among my all-time favorite wrestling collectibles makes this entry a personal favorite of mine.

Our last "flashback" features another favorite collectible of mine. While WWF Hasbro toy collectors should all know about this item, judging from the great feedback on this entry it seems that many fans learned of it for the first time. The Hasbro WWF King of the Ring ring is one of those fun toys that, due to limited production and distribution, just doesn't see the light of day very often. It's sharing collectibles like this that make the entries a pleasure to produce.


Now for something that I plan on including on a semi-regular basis. Many magazines often include a "parting shot." A final page with a photo, several photos, or even a short article to end the issue on a fun note. I often look upon this blog as a monthly magazine spread out upon several weeks, so without further ado I introduce you to...

"From The Musty, Yellowed Pages..."

In my vast collection of wrestling publications I've found tons of hidden gems over the years. Either widely known or lost to time, I'll be presenting many of these in this feature. Why not start with the best one of all?

Inside Wrestling, May 1978, Page 39

About ten years ago I acquired this magazine in a huge collection of old wrestling publications. Thumbing through them, I noticed a feature in many of the titles that wouldn't fly at all today. This particular feature was a monthly listing of "Wrestling Pen Pals." Each section contained a gallery of fans, mostly youngsters, with their photo, interests, and complete home address. A fun, harmless idea in 1978 that would probably be an outrage today.

Between the listings of young Bruno and Dusty fans as well as curious photo booth shots of adults (always looking like future "friends" of NBC's Chris Hansen), a particular child hailing from Ozone Park, NY came to my attention. I could not believe my eyes. Although I scanned the page when I made the initial discover and it later spread to a few places around the Internet, I once again present this particular 9-year-old fan for your enjoyment. Who knew that I would encounter this junior bowler so many years later? Luckily for me I didn't mention that I knew about Taz's first magazine appearance, otherwise I might've been just another victim...

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