WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

P: Pablo - Patino

 

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Pablo the Gypsy (Worcestershire)
What is it about wrestling and gypsies. We had Pedro the Gypsy,  Gypsy Benito, Gino the Gypsy and at least three of Pablo The Gyspy. Of course the one thing they had in common was that none of them were actually gypsies.  Do not confuse any of our Pablo trio with Pedro the Gypsy, he was Gordon Allen and a  different person.

Just one of our Pablo collection had the distinction of a few years of Joint Promotions work in the mid sixties. He even made it on to the cover of The Wrestler magazine and was seen four times on television.  Working for Joint Promotions was Pablo de Aluarez who came from Worcestershire. Presumably he was the one featured on the cover of The Wrestler magazine.  

Pablo the Gypsy (Bradford)
For the independent promoters there was another Pablo from Yorkshire, Tony Kaye remembers, "I wrestled him a few times, the one from Yorkshire that is. A good lad and a pleasure to work with. It was said that he was the uncle to one of a pop group from Bradford." 

Tony was right. The lad from Yorkshire was Ronnie Uttley of Bradford. And yes he was the uncle of a pop group member; Terry Uttley from the band Smokie, whose most popular hit was Living Next Door To Alice.

Ronald Uttley died in 2014.

Pablo the Gypsy (Kent)
It was Wrestling Heritage member Barry Smith who alerted us to the existence of a third Pablo. This Pablo was from Snodland, a small town in Kent. His name was Bob Bartholomew, and by his own admission he wrestled only a handful of times, always using the name Pablo. Bob worked with wrestler Peter Gurr in a cement works, Peter being a lorry mechanic and Bob working in the stores. Bob had been a big wrestling fan for many years, Jim Breaks being his favourite. It was Peter who suggested  that Bob took up wrestling. Peter trained him, gave him the name Pablo and introduced Bob to Danny Lynch who was promoting at the time. It was 1970 and the new Pablo wrestled only a handful of matches before deciding his heart wasn't really in the performance side of the sport. It's outside the ring that Bob Bartholomew has made his mark. As he is added to the A-Z in 2016 Bob is still working behind the scenes for promoters in the south. He also authored a book, "Top of the Bill," about wrestling at the Royal Albert Hall between 1972 and 1982.

Ken Page
Activity suggests a Midlands based middleweight of 1961-62, though we do have a record of working in the North East for Don Robinson. . We would like further information. 

Johnny Palance (Also known as Johnny Locke)
Son of wrestler Johnny Mack this Liverpudlian was one of the under-rated men of the golden era, failing to receive the recognition he deserved from the major promoters. In the 1960s and 1970s Joint Promotions expected their wrestlers to work exclusively for themselves and readily stopped bookings for those who had the audacity to accept simultaneous bookings for the opposition promoters. Some wrestlers tried working their way around these restrictions and, if memory serves us right, that is how Johnny Palance became a man with two names, using the name Johnny Locke in Joint Promotion rings. 

With a background in boxing, and trained in the submission style favoured by Lancashire wrestlers Johnny was a tenacious and hard wrestler, "A great wrestler, who did not get the credit he deserved for his great moves in the ring,"  Eddie Rose told Wrestling Heritage.  We saw Johnny wrestle for independent promoter s in the early 1970s and always found him good value for money. Did not seem to be given much of a push after crossing to Joint Promotions and was sacrificed to Wonderboy Steve Wright in what we believe was his only televised match. 

Johnny's skills did seem more appreciated by promoter Brian Dixon and many fans recall great matches with Kung Fu Eddie Hamill.  Graham Brook recalls: "I knew him as Johnny Locke and it was Orig Williams I believe who began billing him as Johnny Palance due to his physical resemblance to Jack  Palance. I used to attend Orig's shows at The Town Hall, Rhyl, regularly and recall Johnny having great bouts with Jackie Pallo, Adrian Street, Eddie Hammil and others."  More memories from 1978 Kid, who told us: "Johnnie Palance was probably the most hated heel at the Stadium before John Quinn came along. In a strange reversal of the "home town hero" phenomenon, the Stadium fans reserved some of their greatest disdain for wrestlers from Liverpool including Palance, Woody Waldo and the Liverpool Skinheads. Palance was a hard hitter who often defeated Stadium favourites like Kung Fu and Tony Borg." 

Maybe disillusioned with the British scene in 1981 Johnny travelled to Canada, working for Stu Hart's Stampede Promotions, where he used yet another name, Jake Foley!

Harry Palin
When we first came across Harry Palin in the independent halls of the 1960s the youngster did stand out from the run of the mill independent supporting men. Maybe that was hardly surprising as the Widnes middleweight came from the gymnasium of old-timer Ted Betley, who had already unleashed Wonderboy Steve Wright on an unsuspecting wrestling public. Whilst Wright's acrobatic style had caught the imagination of young fans Harry Palin was from a different mould. He had a much harder edge, appreciated by Lancashire fans, relying on a thorough wrestling knowledge combined with strength developed through his rigorous weight training regime. Mainly working around the midlands, north and Scotland Harry was signed up by Joint Promotions where he was a regular worker for many years, with half a dozen televised bouts to his credit. He also bestowed his son, Dave Duran, on a grateful wrestling public.

Bobby Palmer 
Mostly remembered by fans as one of Dale Martin Promotions top referees and dapper M.C. Bobby Palmer had a previous life as a professional wrestler. Robert Thomas Palmer was born in Bow, London, on 21st October, 1914, He was the son of Rebecca and Thomas "Pedlar" Palmer, a boxer known as the "Box of Tricks." According to journalist and boxing expert Peter Grundy Thomas Palmer was one of the cleverest boxers of all time, winning the world bantamweight title from  Billy Plimmer in 1895, successfully defending it five times before losing to Terry McGovern in New York.

The family moved to Brighton whilst Bobby was a schoolboy, and it was here he learnt to wrestle at the Brighton and Hove Athletic Club. His youthful appearance in later years made it hard to believe that here was a man who had combined wartime service with wrestling, Corporal Bobby Palmer on the posters.

In 1936 Bobby became a steward on the passenger liner, The Orford, As a young lightweight Bobby gained initial success, including a visit to Australia, before his career was interrupted by service as a parachutist in the R.A.F during the war.  He joined up on 7th September, 1939, four days after war was declared

Bobby resumed wrestling activities full time following the war. We find him refereeing from 1947 onwards, whilst also continuing to wrestle. In 1952 he wrestled George Kidd for the world lightweight championship at the Caird Hall, Dundee. Bobby took the opening fall before succumbing to falls in the eighth and ninth rounds.

When not in the ring Bobby worked as a film stuntman, was an antiques dealer and car delivery manager. As a referee, and later Master of Ceremonies, dapper Bobby brought dignity to occasions that would otherwise have been less so and helped to build the credibility of the wrestling days we celebrate on these pages.

He died on 26th January, 1999, aged 84.

Jim Pantobe
Flore Alfred Joseph Pantobe was born on 24th November, 1915 in the French overseas territory of Guadleoupe, a Caribbean island in the Leeward islands. He was a successful professional boxer before turning to wrestling, where he was a big name in France and Spain. He came to Britain in 1951 and again in 1952 with opponents that included Jim Armstrong, Bert Assirati, Ernie Baldwin, and Bill Verna. After retiring from the ring Jim Pantobe became an optician in Paris.

Con Papalazarou 
A Greek technician who was a favourite of Greeks around the world. Hold and counter hold was the style of this wrestler who visited the UK during the winter of 1963-4 whilst allegedly the World Junior Heavyweight Champion. He came to Britain following visits to France, Germany, Lebanon, Australia and the United States. The Wrestler magazines assertion that he had remained undefeated for ten years seemed less than credible to us as he notched up a sequence of British defeats, not just against the usual suspects Georges Gordienko, Bill Robisnon and Josef Zaranoff but against lesser lights that included Johnny Czeslaw.

Our suspicions were confirmed by  Australian historian Ed Lock: “While Con Papalazarou was a fine wrestler, his alleged "undefeated for ten years" record contained losses to Angelo Savoldi (on Thursday 11 February 1960 in Sydney, Australia), Leo Garibaldi (on Thursday 18 August 1960 in Sydney, Australia), Baron Von Heczey (on Friday 12 July 1963 in Sydney, Australia) and Sheik Wadi Ayoub (on Saturday 17 August 1963 in Melbourne, Australia and again on Monday 19 August 1963 in Adelaide, Australia). I imagine that Papalazarou also suffered a number of defeats during his North American tours. “

Papalazarou visited Australia three times, the first two for George Gardiner and the third for WCW. Usually a main eventer he was, as everywhere, popular with the Greek community, with impressive victories over Tosh Togo, Lucky Suminovich, Dr Jerry Graham and Tony Galento. Australian wrestler John Marshall recalled Con in the dressing room habitually standing in front of a mirror flexing his muscles. So habitually that referee Ron Hansen wheeled a full length mirror into the dressing room. Intended as a joke but Con Papalazarou loved it.

Wrestling historian Phil Lions  also reported that Papalazarou lost the Greek Heavyweight Title to Dimitris Karystinos in 1954 in Athens, and that Haralambos Karpozilos also beat Papalazarou in 1958 in Greece.

Angelo Papini
We know very little about Angelo Papini, but the little we do know suggests he was a hard man, reputed to be a difficult opponent who was hard to handle.  Always billed as Italian we cannot confirm this and neither can we find any records of an Angelo Papini in the UK birth records of the appropriate period. So whether or not he was Italian, or whether or not that was his name we don't know.  We first come across him in 1951, wrestling the Golden Arrow. Appearances become more frequent the following year, suggesting a capable wrestler meeting the usual cross section of lighter heavyweights like Mike Demitre, Count Bartelli, Spencer Churchill and Dennis Mitchell. These and the other opponents we find suggest nothing out of the ordinary. He disappears from our records in 1953, believed to accompany Bert Assirati on a tour to India. He returns to Britain in 1957, this time working for independent promoters.

Ray Parkes
Craggy faced Darlington heavyweight active for Joint Promotions during an intensive three-year period from 1969 before, like so many before and after him, disappearing abruptly and without trace. Born in 1940, Ray was an amateur boxer who later turned to wrestling and enrolling at the Gladstone Street Youth centre in Darlington. In his early twenties Ray turned his attention to making a bit of money from his talent and decided there was no better way to learn the rougher rudiments of the professional ring than follow in the footsteps of Bull Davis, Kincaid and many others; dedicating 4½ years to learning the trade in fairground wrestling and boxing booths.  He then graduated to independent promotions on his way to meeting Judo Pete Roberts at the Royal Albert Hall in 1971 and other top heavyweights such as Gwyn Davies, Tibor Szakacs, Wayne Bridges and Rocky Wall in Joint Promotion rings. 

Bill Parky 
When it came to muscles Manchester's Bill Parky had them in abundance. Yet it hadn't always been that way. The muscular Bill Parkinson, who came into wrestling after winning the Mr Britain competition, was not particularly muscular or strong when he served in the R.A.F. It was there, in 1951, he and a friend, Henry Downs joined up as training partners. They devised their own training routine and the results were remarkable. Working with weights and eating a naturally high protein diet Bill, who began the routine weighing just 8 stones 10 pounds,  gained almost nine stones of pure muscle. Just four years later Bill Parkinson won the Mr Britain competition. For the following four years Bill toured Britain posing and demonstrating his strength in halls and on television. In 1959 he joined the ranks of the professional wrestlers, working for the independent promoters, opponents included Jack Rowlands, Earl Maynard, Flash Lee Edwards and Terry O'Neill. Name recognition from his body building pursuits gave him instantaneous top billing.In 1962 he was signed by Joint Promotions. For a year or so he worked with big names such as Billy Joyce, Gerry DeJaeger and The Mask before returning to the independents in 1963 and fading away.

Les Parry 
Welterweight Les Parry worked for the independent promoters in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly for Jack Taylor's International Promotions, and was a regular at the Saturday night shows in the huge Granby Halls, Leicester.  Les, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire had a reputation as a very rough wrestler with little regard to the finer details of rules. Opponents included veterans such as Jack Taylor himself and newcomers Zoltan Boscik and the Lapaque brothers. Les Parry passed away at his home in Chesterfield in July 2009.

George Passalaris
Oh how the nation cheered the Greek Adonis as he took the battle towards the man we loved to hate, Mick McManus on our television screens in November 1965. That was not enough for the Golden Greek and he returned for further punishment from Mick's rival, Jackie Pallo, in April of the following year. With the benefit of hindsight we know the result was inevitable, but the British public took the young Greek to their hearts, shown once again when he suffered a knock out loss to Mick's tag partner, Steve Logan, at the Royal Albert Hall. Don't allow our dwelling on these high profile defeats disguise the fact that here was a good technical wrestler could hold his own with Europe's best middleweights of the time. Born in Greece George's father took the family to live in South Africa when the youngster was in his mid teens. It was there that George took an interest in wrestling and turned professional when he was twenty years old. George told us that when he  first arrived  in the UK in 1960, a raw young athlete from South Africa and having no clue how to go about getting matches  Reg Trood, Peter Rann, Lindey Caulder and Tony Cassio took him in as a friend and taught him a great deal. They introduced him to Paul Lincoln and soon he was working for the independent promoters. Opponents on Lincoln bills included veterans Bob Sherry and Fred Van Lotta and newcomers Bob Kirkwood, Reg Trood and Bobby Barnes. 

George's extended visit that covered most of 1965, 1966 and 1967 was for Dale Martin Promotions, which brought higher profile opponents such as Les Kellett, Johnny Kwango and the aforementioned television contests. 

Chato Pastor
The short, acrobatic Spaniard whizzed his way over to the UK for a doomed televised European middleweight championship attempt at Mal Sanders in 1979 at Wembley. Two weeks previous an earlier televised contest against Gary Wensor gave Kent Walton a further opportunity to practice his exaggerated Spanish accent with a strong emphasis on the second syllable of the surname. The Spaniard had style; flying around the ring surprisingly acrobatically for his stocky build. These were not his only visits as he had previously come to Britain for two months in the winter of 1966, billed as Spanish Lightweight champion. On that occasion he had wrestled many of the top lighter men, going down by straight falls to Jackie Pallo at the Royal Albert Hall. A fast, high-flying mover who worked within the rules he was a popular visitor to British shores.

Gaucho Patino
American based Columbian Bill Martinez Patino came to Britain for a handful of matches in January 1961 following on from a visit to Germany. A background of of jiu jitsu and boxing eventually led to the lights of the wrestling ring, where he worked for three decades. Highest profile bouts were a televised contest against Steve Logan and a Royal Albert Hall match against Johnny Czeslaw. Although he returned to Germany numerous times in the 1960s and 1970s we are unaware of return visits to Britain. In Mexico in 1974 when Warrington's Steve Wright removed the mask of Tigre Columbiano the face revealed was that of Bill Martinez

22/02/2020: Entry for Con Papalazarou revised

27/12/2019: Entries for Bobby Palmer,Con Papalazarou, Angelo Papini and Bill Parky revised