T: Al Tarzo
(Also known as Al Bingham, Boy Bingham, Red Demon)
One of the grand old men of wrestling, a gentleman in and out of the ring, that was Alan Bingham, known mostly to wrestling fans as Al Tarzo.
Alan Bingham was born in the Nottinghamshire village of Underwood, and it was here he took up amateur wrestling and formed the Underwood Amateur Wrestling Club in 1952. Around this time he met Jack Taylor, who was running his own club in Langley Mill. Alan and Jack became good friends and Jack was to become hugely influential in Alan’s life.
Alan went on to train at Jack Taylor’s club, first at the one based at Heanor football ground and later at the Elnor Street gym in Langley Mill. Al began wrestling in the early 1950s, but was soon put out of action by a knee injury. He was in no hurry to return to the game, earning his living working on the coal face at Moor Green Colliery, and may well have been lost to wrestling had it not been for Jack, who was starting out as a professional promoter.
Jack was promoting a show at Heanor Town Hall, his first one at the venue. One of the planned matches was between a local man, Pedro Johnson, and Glamour Boy Miles. Two days before the match Johnson suffered an injury at work. A substitute was required and Al accepted Jack’s offer of a return to the ring. Did we say offer? Jack Taylor could be very persuasive and Alan Bingham was on the way back. By 1957 Al was wrestling professionally around the midlands whilst still working full time in the mines. He was a rough, tough wrestler from the beginning, described by the press as “One of the old school.”
Initially billed as Al Bingham, or Boy Bingham, the name Al Tarzo of Montreal, Canada was the invention of Jack Taylor. Occasionally Jack would throw in an Empire Championship belt for good measure ignoring the fact that the Empire had become the Commonwealth more than thirty years earlier. “Where on earth he got that idea from I’ve no idea. Jack was always thinking up new names,” Al told us. He went on to recall an embarrassing occasion that resulted from Jack's creativity, "One night at a venue in Birmingham Jack came into the dressing room with a smile on his face and said ‘Al there’s someone would like to speak with you in the audience.’ When I got out he pointed where to go and on getting there it was a crowd of Canadian airmen from an airbase in the area, keen to learn all about my life back home. Where do you hide?"
Al worked initially for Jack Taylor, who put on shows each night of the week, and later went on to work for other independent promoters. Amongst them was Bert Assirati, and Al would stay with Marjorie and Bert at their home in Finchley, “A very hard man in the ring but a lovely couple who always made me comfortable.”
Promoter Eddy Woodward put Al in a mask and named him The Red Demon, unbeaten and remaining unmasked. Al also wrestled at Nottingham Goose fair on Billy Woods Boxing and Wrestling Booth.
We last saw Al on the posters in 1966, in the ring with his friend Vince Apollo. He told us he went on for a couple of years after that and when he retired from the ring and the pits in the late 1960s went on to work as a long distance lorry driver, and on three occasions was a finalist in the lorry driver of the year competition organised by the "Commercial Motor".
Al’s love for driving continued to near to the time of his death, with Al and his wife, spending much of their time travelling around Spain.
Al Tarzo died in November, 2017.
Page added 01/04/2021