Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Outrageous Conduct Of Jimmy Hart

People often ask me if I have a "Holy Grail" of wrestling items that I'm looking for.  I've never been able to honestly answer that question, mostly because I often don't even know that I like something until I'm ready to acquire it.  I rarely seek something out, but rather let it come to me and then decide if it's something that I want to add to the collection.  That being said, there's one item that I did indeed want for a long time, especially after I learned that it actually existed.  That item would be Jimmy Hart's "Outrageous Conduct" album. 

I can still recall looking at a WWF Magazine from around 1987.  It was around twenty years ago, so the magazine was already several years old at that point.  Located near the end of the issue was a full page ad, complete with order blank, touting Outrageous Conduct.  Did Jimmy Hart, "The Mouth of the South," "Wrestling Renaissance Man," and "The Dick Clark of Wrestling" actually have his own album with the WWF's involvement?  Seeing as that the order blank seemed authentic enough and there was no print anywhere to declare that it wasn't, I figured that the album had to really exist.  Why had I never come across it?

Here we are, decades after I first learned about it, and the album does indeed exist.  In fact, two versions of the album exist.  One is an earlier version released in Memphis during Hart's successful managerial run in that territory.  The one shown and discussed here today was released with full cooperation with the WWF complete with several examples of the logo as well as "thanks" given to Vince McMahon and Jack Tunney right on the back of the album.

It seems that the album had a retail release in Canada, but may have only been available in the U.S. via the aforementioned magazine order blank.  Curiously enough, there is a small pinback button that was obviously made to promote the album.  Where these were used is anyone's guess.  In the same color scheme as the album cover, the button boldly proclaims "Jimmy Hart" and "Get Outrageous."  It's possible that many fans who wanted to "get outrageous" never had the chance.  It's another possibility that the powers that be behind the album didn't feel that music produced and performed by a "bad guy" manager would be a huge seller.

Nevertheless, copies do exist.  The particular copy shown here is a promotional version from CBS records.  The album cover is a great photo of Hart perched outside of a WWF ring complete with megaphone and microphone.  The words "Outrageous Conduct" are configured to make "Rage On" stand out.  The back features an outline of the WWF logo with the Jimmy Hart LJN figure framed inside.  It's just the kind of wrestling memorabilia crossover that completely appeals to me.

Many, if not all, of the songs on the album were released as singles by Hart back in the Memphis days.  The album includes "Eat Your Hart Out, Rick Springfield," "Juvenile Delinquents," "We Hate School," "Handsome Jimmy," and "Blackboard Jungle" on side one with "Solid Gold Rock & Roll," "Hippo Hips," "Barbra Streisand's Nose," "Tammy Wynott," and an instrumental of "Blackboard Jungle" on side two.  Truly a lineup of songs that reflected the fun side of Hart's character.

Admittedly, I haven't had the heart to spin such a treasured platter as of yet, especially in the pristine condition that this example is in.  I'm sure that it will be done eventually, but many of the songs can already be found in other outlets.  I will say that I have a burning curiosity as to whether or not "Barbra Streisand's Nose" is just another version of Hart's "Lance Russell's Nose" from Memphis.  How about a song about Jimmy Valiant on a 1986 WWF product? 

Mr. Hart is a heckuva guy who frequently makes signings and other appearances.  Perhaps someday soon I will get to ask him just what the story behind the WWF re-release of "Outrageous Conduct" really entails.  Promotional oddity?  Rare collectible?  Fun piece of memorabilia, if you ask me.  Maybe I'll get him to sing a few more bars of the unused WWF theme for Leilani Kai and Judy Martin, "The Glamour Girls," as well.  For a man as "loud" as he was with that infamous megaphone, you wouldn't think that so many great mysteries would've been held in for so long!

No comments: