Monday, September 22, 2014

REMEMBER GEORGE HARBEN?


GEORGE HARBEN

I certainly do.

I remember George Harben as the ring announcer on WBTV's CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING TV program, which was video taped every Wednesday night in Charlotte and broadcast that following Saturday afternoon.

And for a number of those years, the same program was broadcast over WBTV's 'sister station' in FlorenceSouth Carolina.

However, MrHarben's career in the wrestling business went back quite a bit further than announcing on television and at house shows at PARK CENTER and the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

Harben was born in Stone MountainGeorgia, a famous historical spot that is still visited by tourists the year round. He broke into the business as a wrestler in 1933 and had an active career until retiring in 1956.

In 1935, George helped train one of the all-time greats of modern wrestling, none other than LOU THESZ, who went on to become WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION six times. THESZ was a young boy of eighteen when he worked with Harben.

In 1940, during the years of World War 2, George Harben made a trip to Australia by boat to wrestle and was on board when the vessel was struck by a mine off the coast of New Zealand.

He also wrestled in Cuba before Fidel Castro took control of that country.

George Harben wrestled with his brother Charlie over most of the United States as a tag team. The two were in the main event that drew the largest crowd to ever witness a wrestling card at the old CHARLOTTE ARMORY. It was in early 1953, and the Harbens' opponents were GEORGE and BOBBY BECKER.

Besides his ring announcing duties for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONSHarben also assisted in advertising the company's wrestling shows in several other towns besides Charlotte and for a while promoted house shows in HickoryNorth Carolina.

George Harben passed away several years ago, but I can still his voice---
"Good evening Ladies and Gentleman and welcome to another exciting evening of Championship Wrestling on Channel 3."

GEORGE HARBEN during his career as a wrestler.





Jim Harben said...
I remember George Harben. He continued in promotions and advertisement for Jim Crockett promotions until his death. Professional wrestling was is life. He died at my kitchen table of heart failure following a hospital stay and procedure for prostate cancer. He is survived by three sons and one daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

THE GREAT BOLO SEES RED

August 26, 1958
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

A FIGHT TO THE FINISH will headline tonight's PARK CENTER wrestling program

The NO TIME LIMIT bout will give RED BASTIEN a second shot at THE GREAT BOLO, and if BASTIEN can capture two falls-out-of-three, off will come BOLO's mask.

Last Monday night, the pair battled to a one-hour draw without a single fall being recorded during the sixty-minute time limit.

"There must be a decision this week," says promoter JIM CROCKETT. "I don't care if they have to wrestle three hours---this match is going to settle something."

The semi-final scrap is a tag team contest that pairs GEORGE BECKER and CYCLONE ANAYA against the rugged German brother duo of FRITZ and WALDO VON ERIC. The Germans were disqualified in a bout last week with BILLY TWO RIVERS and his partner and quickly showed they are among the roughest duos in the wrestling business today. This match is set for the best two-out-of-three falls.

Two single bouts complete the card.

One has ERNIE DUSEK taking on NICK ROBERTS, and the 8:15 opener sends footballer MIKE PAIDOUSIS against TINKER TODD.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SUPER STARS IN SUPER ACTION

KIM DUK battles WAHOO MCDANIEL

PAUL JONES has the better of BARON VON RASCHKE.

JACK BRISCO ties up GREG VALENTINE with a rear chin lock.

The end is near for his opponent as DINO BRAVO begins his airplane spin.

THE ASSASSIN manhandles an opponent.

DUSTY RHODES deals with both OLE and GENE ANDERSON.

BLACKJACK MULLIGAN arm bars PAUL JONES.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

THE TEXANS HAVE THEIR HANDS FULL

JANUARY 8, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

48 Years Ago


A new year of professional wrestling will be ushered in tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA after a three week holiday break.

Towering TEX McKENZIE and his popular partner NELSON ROYAL, two Texas cowboys, will battle the rugged duo of THE GREAT MALENKO and "BIG O" BOB ORTON in the top of the card.

Another tag team contest will send prize Mohawk Indians, BILLY TWO RIVERS and SUNI WAR CLOUD, against the strutting GEORGE "TWO TON" HARRIS and rugged IKE EAKINS.

Both tag battles will be fought under the best two-out-of-three falls stipulations.

A single match will kick off the evening when young OMAR ATLAS faces JOHN GUDISKI.

Action kicks off at 8:15.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

WERE ANY OF THESE GUYS YOUR FAVORITES?

No one can dispute the fact that JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS always had the top stars of the business.

Here are seven of them...

OX BAKER

'ROWDY' RODDY PIPER

'LUMBERJACK' JOE LEDUC

JOHNNY VALENTINE

JACK BRISCO

THUNDERBOLT PATTERSON

BARON VON RASCHKE

Friday, September 12, 2014

RED HOT CROCKETT RINGS

One of THE MASKED MARVELS takes down BOBBY KAY. *

'JUNGLE' JIM STARR (one of the unMASKED MARVELS) gives DANNY MILLER a ride around the ring by dragging him by the hair.

PAUL JONES crushes the skull of THE MASKED SUPERSTAR (BILL EADIE) **

SONNY FARGO clamps his version of a headlock on PEDRO GODOY.

One chop to the noggin' of 'PLAYBOY' GARY HART, courtesy of 'Chief' WAHOO MCDANIEL.

JOHNNY WEAVER 'crowns' OLE ANDERSON.
---
* THE MASKED MARVELS did a short stint with JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS in the early 1970s. The MARVELS were actually THE INTERNS, who came to the MID-ATLANTIC territory without their manager, DR. KEN RAMEY. RAMEY was not asked to join them due to the abundance of 'heel' managers already in the area.

** Note that PAUL JONES' hair is shorter than he normally wore it during this time. This was due to THE MASKED SUPERSTAR's taking the shears to PAUL's head in a previous match, to set up a long-term program. But, according to BILL EADIE, PAUL didn't want to go around with an ugly butchering-like haircut, so he went to a barber shop and had it all 'evened-up'. It killed the angle. BILL wasn't happy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WEAVER GOES FOR SOUTHERN TITLE

June 11, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

The SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP will be at stake in tonight's LEXINGTON YMCA feature attraction.

THE MISSOURI MAULER, holder of the coveted belt designating the championship, will defend his honor against the popular JOHNNY WEAVER, probably the most popular wrestler in the Carolinas, who has held this title himself.

The two-out-of-three falls encounter matches two long-time adversaries within a one-hour time limit.

A tag team battle is also set, and a battle it should be when GEORGE BECKER (WEAVER's regular tag partner) joins his old buddy ABE JACOBS to meet the brutal German brother combination of KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM in a two-of-three falls contest.

"Johnny's title match gives ABE and me a chance to team back up like we used to. ABE and I are going to take care of the Germans, then watch JOHNNY become the new SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION," BECKER has stated.

In the prelim matches, which kick off the 8:15 p.m. card, the tough veteran EL GAUCHO meets North Carolina's own LUTHER LINDSAY, and KEN HOLLIS dukes it out with RUDY KAYE.

Monday, September 8, 2014

SALUTING CROCKETT MAIN EVENTERS


RONNIE GARVIN
(The Hands of Stone)

HARLEY RACE
(Has to be in the TOP TEN of all-time)

BARON VON RASCHKE
(And that is all the people need to know.)

ART NELSON (NEILSON)
(Came to JCP as a heel, turned 'babyface' and teamed with JOHNNY WEAVER, then turned back to a heel.)

STEVE STRONG
(Brought in to fill a void because of the 1975 airplane crash which sidelined RIC FLAIR and terminated JOHNNY VALENTINE's career.)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

EXPLOSIVE AS THE PLANET KRYPTON

The MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING rings were always loaded with dynamite, and the explosion usually occurred !

TIM WOODS applies a headlock to his opponent.

RIP HAWK attempts an old-fashioned hanging on NELSON ROYAL.

LARS and GENE ANDERSON demonstrate their double-knee drop on GEORGE BECKER.

THE ASSASSIN (JODY HAMILTON) is caught in an abdominal stretch.

Big SWEDE HANSON does some dental work on one of the VON STROHEIMS.

One of THE INFERNOS goes for a ride.

PAUL JONES is about to feel the wrath of GREG VALENTINE's 'hammer'.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

HALF A CENTURY AGO

July 11, 1964
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


CHIEF BIG HEART

ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH

GEORGE BECKER

RONNY ETCHISON

NICK KOZAK

MIKE CLANCY

FRANK VALOIS

HOMER O'DELL
---
Professional wrestling returns to the LEXINGTON YMCA with a bang tonight following a week's layoff because of the Fourth of July holiday.

A six man tag team match, with grudge ingredients thrown in, features the program.

Heroes GEORGE BECKER, RONNIE ETCHISON and CHIEF BIG HEART will battle top bullies ALDO BOGNI, BRONCHO LUBICH along with their arrogant manager, 'COLONEL' HOMER O'DELL, in a best-of-three falls encounter. This time out, O'DELL will don wrestling attire instead of the usual tuxedo and will participate as a legal wrestler.

'IRISH' MIKE CLANCY returns after a long absence and will meet tough Canadian FRANK VALOIS in the semi-final match of the evening.

Newcomer NICK KOZAK battles TOMMY O'TOOLE, and in the 8:15 opener, BOB BOYER faces PANCHO GOMEZ.