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Forum Home > Talk Wrestling > Wrestlers that didn't drive

Les Prest
Member
Posts: 126
I find it amazing that the number of wrestlers in the Teesside area during the 50's and early 60's that couldn't drive, 3 of which were Gentleman Jim Stockdale, Big Bill Stones and Dirty Dicky Swales. The latter being Dicky who travelled the length and breadth of the country by train mainley, then either taxi or promoter would pick him up from the station and take him to the venue, Dicky told me not long ago that a typical week that he could remember was, starting in Hull on the Tuesday night then Loughborough wed, Bristol thurs, Belfast Fri and Workington on saturday, so that was several trains and taxis and 2 ferries, what would that lot cost today?. I can recall when I was wrestling in the 70's we were paid 4 pound per hundred miles (you could get 3 gallons of petrol for a quid). Cyril Knowels always would say ' how much is the ESSO for your expenses ' ? I suppose that in the 50's wrestling was very popular, with packed houses every night, so money was no object to pay for train fares and hotels. regards Les.
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May 6, 2018 at 6:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

The Ost
Member
Posts: 50

Really interesting topic.

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May 6, 2018 at 6:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

frank thomas
Member
Posts: 1536
Recall reading that Keith Martinelli, old "bloodboots" never drove. Whether he couldn't or just didnt, I don't know..
May 8, 2018 at 5:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

PETER
Member
Posts: 524
Not unheard of even today for wrestlers to travel to venues by train
May 10, 2018 at 12:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2432

Hi Les. Many of the London boys coming to Newcastle came up by train.

I know because I walked with them to show them the way to the Central station, going back down.

Long old trip though wasn't it?

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May 10, 2018 at 5:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Les Prest
Member
Posts: 126
Hi Bernrard: what percentage of a wrestlers wages , would the price of a rail ticket be in those days? from London to Newcastle now will cost about 120 quid return. Maybe if you book online now you may get cheap deals, but that wouldn't be the case in the 50s. regards Les.
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May 10, 2018 at 6:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Les Prest
Member
Posts: 126
Yes Bernard: it was a long trip, I suppose if you had to drive from London to Newcastle, wrestle them drive back again, would be quite gruelling. Which I know quite well, from my own experience from doing long distance wrestling shows. regards Les.
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May 10, 2018 at 6:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2432

Hi Les, I couldn't tell you because I never bought a rail ticket Newcastle to London when I was 10-14.

I don't suppose that wages in those days would have been more than about £5 per week. That's if you were known and trusted , so you kept pretty busy.

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May 11, 2018 at 5:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melvin M Melvin
Member
Posts: 31

One of the books (either Pallo or Garfield) speaks of a wrestler nicknamed Banger by his peers (not Walsh) who avoided the train fare by buying clapped out cars then ditching them - it ran out cheaper.

   As a non-driver by choice, I am sometimes surprised by the number of people in the public eye who don't drive -- darts player Eric Bristow didn't, for example. It's less surprising for those who are London-based, because available transport is generally excellent. 

May 13, 2018 at 2:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hack
Moderator
Posts: 2632

There's often been comments about Robby Baron and Bob Kirkwood driving McManus. Did McManus drive at all?

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British wrestling - great characters but the plot was always a bit of a mystery.

May 16, 2018 at 4:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Mad Mac
Member
Posts: 317

Hack at May 16, 2018 at 4:58 PM

There's often been comments about Robby Baron and Bob Kirkwood driving McManus. Did McManus drive at all?

I have one of my vague recollections that he stopped driving after being in an accident.

May 16, 2018 at 6:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

ballymoss
Member
Posts: 154

I believe Mick McManus was a driver, but owing to his exalted position with Dale Martin, he often had someone to drive him. He was involved in a traffic incident as a passenger in a car driven by Eddie Capelli .Back in the 1960's this revelation made news in the tabloid press, and caused quite a few people to scratch their heads!!

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May 18, 2018 at 4:14 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2432

I think that I read somewhere ,quite a while ago, that Dale Martin's had a small bus that Mick used to drive the wrestlers to venues in. 

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May 18, 2018 at 10:29 AM Flag Quote & Reply

powerlock
Member
Posts: 1397
The Crabtrees did the same
May 18, 2018 at 11:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Mad Mac
Member
Posts: 317

powerlock at May 18, 2018 at 11:00 AM

The Crabtrees did the same

There was some mention of Max, frugal as ever, sticking to 50 MPH to save on petrol!

May 18, 2018 at 12:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Mad Mac
Member
Posts: 317

ballymoss at May 18, 2018 at 4:14 AM

I believe Mick McManus was a driver, but owing to his exalted position with Dale Martin, he often had someone to drive him. He was involved in a traffic incident as a passenger in a car driven by Eddie Capelli .Back in the 1960's this revelation made news in the tabloid press, and caused quite a few people to scratch their heads!!

In the 80s, Jim Duggan and The Iron Sheik were arrested while travelling in the same vehicle. At the same time, they were at war on US television!

May 18, 2018 at 12:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2542

Mad Mac at May 18, 2018 at 12:22 PM

ballymoss at May 18, 2018 at 4:14 AM

I believe Mick McManus was a driver, but owing to his exalted position with Dale Martin, he often had someone to drive him. He was involved in a traffic incident as a passenger in a car driven by Eddie Capelli .Back in the 1960's this revelation made news in the tabloid press, and caused quite a few people to scratch their heads!!

In the 80s, Jim Duggan and The Iron Sheik were arrested while travelling in the same vehicle. At the same time, they were at war on US television!

The business in Britain was less concerned with maintaining kayfabe with regard to heel vs blue-eye/babyface enmity. 


It was publicly acknowledged that the goodies and the baddies all dressed together and were expected to get along like sensible adults backstage (although, of course, often they didn't even in real life, never mind in kayfabe!) 


Big Daddy and Tony StClair were famously pictured around the turn of the 70s/80s congratulating Jim Breaks on a major trophy win, whereas, say,  the WWF circa 1991 would NEVER have published a photo of Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior at the WM7 afterparty congratuling the Nasty Boys on having won the WWF World Tag Team Title. 


And then there was that episode of This Is Your Life where hated enemies Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki could unite to help another, mutual hated enemy, Big Daddy, celebrate his life.  The likes of Bill Watts would have been mortified - surely Stax and Naggers would only ever agree to participate in such a show if it was retitled This Is Your Death and they could brutally maim Daddy to kingdom come?

May 18, 2018 at 7:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2542

(Having said all the above, there's actually an episode of the old cartoon Hulk Hogan's Rock N Wrestling where Hogan and the Iron Sheik end up having to cooperate after being stranded on a desert island together.  If not for the drugs and alcohol, the WWF could have looked to the plot of that cartoon for a good way to explain the Duggan/Sheik situation to their fans.)

May 18, 2018 at 7:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

beancounter
Member
Posts: 273
Gerry Hoggarth tells me it was quite easy to travel around the country by train in the 1950s as almost every town had a station. However, it led to arriving home at unsocial hours. The promoters gave around 3 weeks notice of venue and reimbursed the fares. Sometimes arrangements were made for him to be picked up in Lancaster if a group from, say, Wigan were travelling North. Surprisingly, Gerry maintains he never knew the identity of his opponent until he read the poster on arrival. Was this the case with you Les?
June 7, 2018 at 4:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Les Prest
Member
Posts: 126

Hi beancounter: good question, I would say 60% of the time I wouldn't have a clue who I would be on against until I saw the bill outside the hall and even then things could have changed. During the the summer months in the mid 70's, I worked in a garage for a haulage company on the back shift till 2100 hrs, which was 45 minutes from Scarborough spa, so if any wrestler hadn't turned up by the first bout had finished Toma Hanson who run the wrestling for Don Robinson would phone me to get myself through there a,s,a,p as he would always tell me to have my wrestling gear in my car when working back shift..But If I ever asked him who I would be on against, he would just say get your self through here, I'll decide when you get here. Sometimes the M.C. would stall the show while I got my boots on and still not knowing who I would be wrestling, it could have been someone that I didn't know or even Toma himself. Wrestling at Scarborough during the summer was on every Monday and Thursday evenings, and local punters thought that I was a resident of Scarborough. Hope this answers your question Beancounter !!! Regards Les

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June 7, 2018 at 6:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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