P: Proctor - Pye
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
Our knowledge of Jack Proctor is very limited, but we do know Heritage members would like to learn more. To date our members have ascertained Jack originated in Cornwall, wrestled in the 1950s most likely at light heavyweight, moved to the North East where he refereed for Norman Morrell.
The early 1960s masked man was quite unique amongst the hooded brigade as he defeated all placed before him. Unique in that he was clean and scientific, unique in that....well, if you want to learn more, including his identity, you will need to take a look at The Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.
Born near Pitlochrie in 1927 Chic Purvey is fondly remembered by all fans of the Heritage years.
He was a tough, cunning, skilful middleweight who was one of the bad boys of the ring. Fans sometimes referred to him as the Scottish Mick McManus, but we think his style and wrestling skill made him a more three dimensional wrestler than his southern counterpart.
He had a bit of a wild look, and wild nature to match; we remember him as a wrestler always on the attack, giving opponents little time to catch their breath. Bernard Hughes remembers him as a wrestler who always gave good value, but was frequently matched with heavier opponents at the St James Hall, Newcastle.
With a background in fairground wrestling (grandmother was a fortune teller) and a successful amateur career he turned professional under the guidance of George Kidd; an odd couple indeed in pro wrestling circles.
Purvey went on to win the Scottish middleweight title from Les Cannon and in the early sixties regularly exchanged the middleweight title with Tommy Mann.
Chic and Tommy Mann exchanged the British title three times in bouts which are now almost legendary in wrestling folklore. Chic, who was at the lighter end of the middleweight division and gave away quite a few pounds, using his more aggressive style on those occasions that he overcame the Mancunian.
That aggressive style and unpredictable nature made him one of the more exciting wrestlers of the 1950s and 1960s; a man who fans loved to see on the bill, and loved to boo and jeer.
Eddie Rose remembers: "He was one of the most entertaining wrestlers of his day and some of his bouts with Tommy Mann were epic. After one such bout during which Purvey drew a lot of claret from Tommy's head, the Medical Officer at Belle Vue told me that he and his First Aiders treated 16 fans who had fainted during the bout! Tommy's blood and Chic's tenacious attacks to the bleeding wound on Mann's head were too much for faint hearts. Outside the ring, Chic was the most warm and welcoming guy you could hope to meet, Contrary to popular misconceptions about Scots, Chic was generous almost to a fault. He was always first to buy you a drink and was always happy to accept one in return.A great ambassador for Scotland and his native Perthshire, Chic graced and entertained British wrestling and was, in the words of Tommy Mann, 'a tough little bugger.' "
Chic Purvey passed away in November, 1996 at the much too early an age of 69.
Read our extended tribute: The Tartan Terrier
Unrelated to the famous Pye wrestling dynasty Bad Bill Pye was a villain of the independent circuit trained by Eric Pleasance, and later Brian Trevors in the 1960s and 1970s.
Although he was born in Lancashire Bill moved to Lowestoft whilst a toddler. Other sporting interests included boxing, he was a schoolboy champion, and rugby, but it was wrestling that Bill chose to pursue as a means of making his money.
The Norfolk based heavyweight worked mainly in the east of England and is best remembered for his partnership with John L. Hagger in The Stompers tag team.
Frank "Bully" Pye was the brother of Dirty Jack Pye, one of the eleven children of Henry and Ellen Pye. Born in 1916, he wrestled alongside his famous brother in the 1930s, He died in 1944 (not 1939 as stated elsewhere on the web), aged just 28.
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Dirty Dominic Pye was the son of the one of wrestling’s greatest post war exponents, the uncrowned King of the Mat, Jack Pye.
Like that famous parallel heir apparent Dominic was not content at spending his professional life in the shadows of his famous parent, but carved a niche of his own in his chosen career. Fans of the 1950s and 1960s remember Dominic Pye and the accompanying frenzy as he barnstormed his way around the rings of Britain and the world.
Dominic was a very hard man with a good amateur background. There are stories aplenty amongst the wrestling fraternity about Dominic. For instance, the time he upturned a car on Blackpool promenade because it was in front of one of his wrestling adverts, or when he invited boxer Brian London to sort out who was the hardest.
"Dominic was a man who seemed to worry about so many things," one big name heavyweight told us, "One night he was really heavy and bad tempered in the ring. It was one of his own shows. Suddenly a smile came over his face and he whispered, 'It's okay, I've remembered where I put the advanced booking money.' "
If Jack Pye was the Uncrowned King of the mat then Dominic was most certainly the Prince of Darkness. Read about him in the Shining Stars section.
Read our extended tribute: The Prince of Darkness
From 1927 until 1935 Doncaster's Harry Pye was a professional boxer, with 63 contests on his record. By the mid 1930s he realised that brother John was on to a good thing and it was time to join him on the professional wrestling circuit. Brother John was one of the earliest 1930s pioneers of wrestling, Jack Pye.
Yes, he was a Pye, and that's probably enough to tell everyone enough about his style! Harry was soon a regular worker in the all-in rings, and following the end of world war 2 continued wrestling the new freestyle rules until around 1960.
By then he and his wife, Vera, had moved to Blackpool, as had Jack, and were owners of a guest house. Harry also went into business with Jack managing the Horseshoe Club.
If that wasn't enough in the mid sixties he was still spending his leisure time teaching youngsters how to box.
Jack Pye’s career spanned both sides of the war, being one of the first to introduce the all-in style to Britain in 1930 and wrestling through until 1963, when he retired aged 59.
Wrestling Heritage reader Palais Fan told us, "I remember him grabbing the second's (Syd Crowhurst) metal water bucket and putting it upside down on the head of his opponent and banging the sides before being disqualified. Great entertainment! if not good wrestling."
Another long time fan was reader Beancounter, "On 30th October 1967, Jack was guest of honour at a Charity Night at my then ‘local’ The Hamilton Arms, Cabus. His role was to shove over a massive pile of pennies which had accumulated over the past year or two. I was able to speak to him at length on the current wrestling scene and he stated that without doubt Billy Robinson was the best heavyweight of recent times, disagreeing with my choice of Billy Joyce. (Naturally, I did not argue).
Such was the esteem for Jack Pye that when he retired in 1963 he was presented with diamond cufflinks and a gold watch from the fans of Blackpool Tower and Liverpool Stadium respectively.
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Al Marshall Remembers Jack Pye
The Uncrowned King of the Mat Dirty Jack Pye from Blackpool was one of my favourite wrestlers of all time.
I saw him wrestle many times when I was a young lad. In the 1970's he refereed my match against Dave Kaye at the Horshoe Bar in Blackpool. What an honour to meet such a legend of the ring, I still have the poster to this day.
Inside the ring Jack was the villain's villain the top heel of his day doing a lot of moves today's stars would not know how to do. His long black hair and black tights made him look like the legendary rule bender that be was.
No villain was he in real life though,
Out of the ring he was a quiet retiring man who did a lot of charitable work, only in the squared circle did he become the deadly king of the inside moves.
Jack wrestled legends including Jim Hussey, Bert Assirati, my oId pal Ian Campbell, Tbe Mask and the 25stone Zebra Kid. Jack also wrestled Ed "Strangler" Lewis & Jim Londos for the World Heavyweight Title.
Once in 1933 whilst wrestling in Paris a man fired a pistol at him. He often had to be escorted from the ring by the Police to protect him from angry crowds who wanted to kill him for being so good at being bad.
Jack's father was a catch-as-catch-can wrestler and his Uncle too. Jack's three brothers Harry, Tommy and Bully were also professional wrestlers and his son Dominic was a chip off the old block, a good villain in his day. I saw him perform in the squared circle and he was as good as his dad.
Jack did some film work too and retired in 1964 but came back into action for a short period in 1971 and also did some refereeing. We can thank Jack and wrestlers like him who were in pro wrestling at its beginings and made it the sports entertainment success it is to day all over the world
"Dirty" Jack Pye passed on in 1986; the wrestling world owe's him a lot. Thank you Jack.
The younger generation of the Pye family; Joe's uncle was the Doncaster Panther himself, Jack Pye. He had a short lived career in the 1970s, opponents including Max Raeger and Honey Boy Zimba. After losing to Zimba by straight falls at Blackpool Tower in 1975 he reported "Zimba body slammed me eleven times."
Around 1970 we did see a wrestler (just the once) billed as Cousin Pye, tagging with Dominic. We've no idea whether he was the creation of the promoter, a family member, or could it have been Joe Pye?
As Joe still lives in Stainforth maybe he could get in touch with us!
Another member of the first family of wrestling, Tommy Pye was brother of Jack Pye. He turned professional in the second half of the 1930s and was a major figure in British wrestling for twenty years, with the same disregard for the rules as the rest of the Pye family. Following retirement he became landlord of The Greyhound Inn, in Boothstown, Lancashire. Following the second world war Tommy assumed the name Bully Pye, made famous by brother Frank, who died in 1944.