Years before the WWF started making money off merchandising, Big Time Wrestling was already doing it. They sold T-Shirts, Key Rings Buttons, photos and more.. The felt pennants sold for 75 cents and they had all the stars available on them. I used to drive my 67 VW Beetle to work everyday with a Bobo Brazil pennant hanging off the antenna....These are my wife's. Can you tell she was a Mark Lewin fan? Most of us were. He was one of the most over faces that Detroit fans had ever embraced. He could wrestle and brawl. Mark had the best sleeper hold in the business. Lewin's Jewish heritage made his vendettas with the Sheik a natural for many sellouts. They even sold out Toledo Sports Arena which I only recall happening once. Lark
This is a snapshot I took outside of the Olympia when in Sept 1974 The Sheik and the Bruiser met for the 1st time since 1963. Interesting to note the other acts coming to the venue- Sheik and Dick are right up there with Superstars like Elvis and Marvin Gaye . It was a wild night and those 2 really rocked the packed arena. There was a full scale riot after the ref, who'd gotten bloodied up trying to retain order, called it a double dq. My wife and I sat in the front row and debris and bodies were flying all over. I remember, Terry Sullivan, the ring announcer, getting knocked out with a full can of Stroh's thrown by an unruly fan. Lark
The inside sleeve and record for the Ringside soundtrack. There was a song on it called "I Like to Hurt People" and it seemed to spark the new title for the final film. (The song, however was never used.) Too bad.....Good tunes on this record..Maybe someday, I'll have them transfered to digital so we can share them. Lark
"I Like To Hurt People" went through a few incarnations before it ever saw the light of day. First it was called "Ringside in Hell" then it morphed into "Ringside" It also went through different soundtracks. Here is a rare 4 song promo vinyl record featuring Big Time Wrestling's own announcer, Bob Finnigan as songwriter and singer. None of these songs ended up on the final product. Too bad..The songs are great. Lark
Here is a celluloid button produced to promote the movie. They are very rare and as far as I know, were not sold to the public. Taskmaster, Kevin Sullivan wanted mine really bad. He offered to cast a Demonic Spell on Gorilla Barone and make him look like a Troll in exchange for it. I replied, "Why bother?, Nature already did the job for free." Lark
This book, "Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George" came out in 1974 and was a great insights into the business. It showed respect and observed Kayfabe. The Sheik was featured on the dust sleeve and it had lots about Detroit wrestling history in it. It's a hard book to come by but worth the search
Here's a Body Press and a Souvenir button for Guy Mitchell, The Stomper, another one of my wife's faves. He and Ben Justice had many heated bouts with The Kangaroos and The Germans (Von Hess and Von Schotz) over Tag Titles. The Kangaroos broke his leg on TV, once. Later, Ben turned heel on Stomper and they had a series of matches that wowed the fans all over the globe. FYI, the Stomper went on to play the role of Jerry Valiant and with combinations of Johnny Valiant and Jimmy Valiant, headlined Madison Square Garden. Interesting that all 3 of the "Valiants" got their big break from Big Time Wrestling. They've all praised the Sheik, often, for giving them a break. After retiring from active wrestling, Guy went on to build, transport and maintain wrestling rings for many major promotions. He designed the ring for Wrestlemania III and even developed the little mobile wrestler transport rings (Powered by a folklift underneath) for the event.
Here's part of my collection of Body Press Programs, complete with lineups, photos, stories and a lucky number to win free tickets to a future show at Cobo. The Blue one in the center with Lord Layton on the cover is Volume 1, Number 1 from 1963 I believe this is for the 1st show after the Farhat's bought the promotion. It has a great story on the Sheik and the Princess, Salima (Mrs. Farhat). A few years back I mailed it to them and they each autographed the article in gold. Priceless.......Someday, I'll scan those pages and send it in for the online Hall of Fame. lark