Monday, July 18, 2005

BOYHOOD MUSINGS

How I long for to muse on the days of my boyhood
Though four score and three years have fled by since then
Still it gives sweet reflections, as every young joy should
That merry-hearted boys make the best of old men
Guess I'm feeling like the Bard of Armagh this morning. Been taking a nostalgic trip through web sites related to some of the pop culture icons of my youth in Oklahoma City.

Here's a page full of some of the great 'rasslers I remember from those Friday nights at Stockyards Coliseum . There's even pictures of wrestlers like Danny Hodge, Sputnik Monroe and "Irish" Mike Clancy, pictured here. (That's one thing I love about wrestling. A guy has a name like "Mike Clancy" but someone feels it's necessary to explain he's Irish!)

Another story about some of the same characters can be found here . Be sure to scroll down to the article called "Mid-South Memories."

And don't forget the great 2001 NPR Morning Edition report on Sputnik -- the Heavenly Body from Outer Space, the Body That Men Fear and Women Love!

I've told the story many times of when I was about nine years old and went to get Sputnik's autograph in his corner before a match. I'd collected a pretty good number of wrestlers' autographs during the preceding weeks. Most kids were only interested in the heroes' signatures, but I wanted the villains'. While kids flocked around the hero, I was the only one at Sputnik's corner. Sputnik looked down from the ring, smiled and took my autograph book. I thought I'd scored. But then he held the book dramatically over his head. The crowd began to stir and a demonic look was in Sputnik's eye.

He ripped my autograph books to shreds as the crowd jeered. I nearly cried, but secretly I respected him for staying in character. That incident probably warped me beyond repair.

I also revisited the site of Danny Williams, a broadcast pioneer in Oklahoma. In the 1960s he not only was a great radio personality on WKY -- the station with which my life was saved by rock 'n' roll! -- he also ruled television. In the '50s he was 3-D Danny, while in the '60s he portrayed Xavier T. Willard on The Foreman Scotty show.

Danny also had an afternoon talk/variety show, Danny's Day. My band, The Ramhorn City Go-Go Squad & Uptight Washtub Band appeared on it in early 1968, though one of my main memories of that day was walking across the set of The Buck Owens Ranch.

It's getting too late for me to do serious searching for Foreman Scotty or Ho Ho the Clown or start waxing nostalgic about the triple-feature monster movies at the Mayflower Theater ... Bedtime for the Bard of Armagh ...

1 comment:

  1. Steve,
    great memories for sure. Did you know that Mike Clancy and his wife, Terri ran a pizza place in Tulsa at 11th and Mingo rd. Only, I knew him as Uncle Mike. We weren't related, but my parents were close friends of theirs for many, many years. I especially remember after the Friday night bout was over he would come over to our home, and since he was catholic, he and my dad would sit and shoot the bull and drink old crow high balls and wait until midnight, then get the grill out and cook steaks and it was really special for me because at around 9-12 years of age I got to sit up and eat with the big folks (as long as I could stay awake, that is). My mother, shortly before she passed away, told us a story. You see we are both adopted and it seems that Mike was actually my adopted sister' paternal father!!! And they always had this special bond for some reason I never knew. Anyway, he was a real sweetheart to us always. Kind and considerate, tough on his kids. His youngest Timmy is now a lawyer or some repute practicing in Tulsa and his middle son had reasonable success as a pro baseball player. Didn't ever meet his oldest. Mike Jr was from his first marriage. Thought you might a kick out of a little behind the scenes on my "Uncle" Mike. If you would like other anecdotes you can reach me at cjhollandnbtx@yahoo.com

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