RIP: Jacqueline Stallone

Jacqueline Stallone passed away this morning at the age of 98.  Best known as the mother of Sylvester and Frank Stallone, she was much more than just the parent of famous brothers.

Here is part of what Frank posted on his Instagram

This morning my brothers and I lost our mother Jackie Stallone . She was the mother to four children, Tommy, Sylvester, Frankie and my late sister Toni Ann. She was a remarkable woman working out everyday full of spunk and fearless . She died in her sleep as she had wished. It was hard not to like her, she was very eccentric and flamboyant person.

Jackie, as she was known, was indeed a remarkable woman.  She was always into fitness and training.  As a young woman she performed as a trapeze artist!  She was also a nightclub dancer.  Jackie Stallone was the first woman to have a daily exercise and fitness show in Washington, D.C. Later in her career she owned Barbella’s, a gym for women.

Jackie became a popular guest on talk shows where she discussed not only her famous sons but also her astrology books and psychic hotline.  She also became involved with GLOW – the Gorgeous Women of Wrestling!

Jackie Stallone was a powerhouse.  Frank was right in describing her as eccentric, flamboyant, fearless and hard not to like. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jacqueline Stallone’s family, friends and fans.

RIP – James “Kamala” Harris

James Harris better known as the professional wrestler Kamala the Ugandan Giant has died at the age of 70 due to complications from Covid-19.

Harris began his pro wrestling career in 1978 after meeting Hall of Fame Wrestler Bobo Brazil.  In his early years Harris wrestled under the names, Ugly Bear Harris, Big Jim Harris and Bad News Harris.  In 1982, Harris signed with promoter Jerry Lawler’s Continental Wrestling Association.  Harris and Lawler created the Kamala character — a giant headhunter brought to the US from the jungles of Uganda.

Harris wrestled for all of the major companies and was a fan favorite.  When my sons and nephews were young, I took them to a live wrestling event where Kamala was one of the featured stars.  I overheard the boys telling my youngest son, Chris, that Kamala was a cannibal and a headhunter who ate little kids.  They went on to tell Chris that if Kamala got hungry he would begin slapping his belly and then climb out of the ring to look for a meal.  (Slapping his belly was a signature move for Kamala and he did it in every match.)

Needless to say when Kamala came out to wrestle Chris seemed to move a bit closer to me with eyes as big as saucers watching the Ugandan giant enter the ring.  Sure enough, part way through the match he began to slap his belly.  Chris grabbed my hand, and said, “C’mon dad.  Time to go, Kamala’s getting ready to look for a meal!”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to James Kamala Harris’ family, friends and fans.

“Paradise Alley” – Rare, Behind the Scenes Video!

I think a return trip to Paradise Alley is in order.  We could catch up with the Carboni brothers, Frankie the Thumper, Big Glory, Stitch, Mumbles and all the other mugs there.  Maybe we could swing over to the dance hall and see Annie and Bunchie and hear that smug dance hall crooner.  We could end the night with a rooftop race.  

Are you in?

Source:  Brian Stooss‎ ULTRA STALLONE FanPage
Rare : Behind the Scenes of Paradise Alley  Kudos : Joe Breen

You Don’t Mess with William Afflis!

The gentleman above is William Afflis, but if you grew up anywhere in the midwest from the 1960’s or later, you knew him as Dick the Bruiser.  As you probably guessed (if you didn’t know) Mr. Afflis was a professional wrestler.  Beyond that Afflis was a legitimate tough guy and smart business man.

Brandon Davenport has written an informative profile of The Bruiser that details his early life, his amateur and pro football career, his brawls with coaches, police and the riot he and Alex Karras caused when they got into a bar fight with each other, as well as his Hall of Fame wrestling career from newcomer to owner of the World Wrestling Association.  Even if you’re not a fan of pro wrestling, I think you’ll get a kick out of You Don’t Mess with William Afflis.

Jim Cornette Presents Behind the Curtain: Real Pro Wrestling Stories

I’m really enjoying the Dark Side of the Ring series airing on Viceland.  Three episodes in and I remain impressed.  The series interviews the wrestlers, referees and behind-the-scenes folks that were actually involved in the events that each episode covers.  If you have any interest in the business of old school professional wrestling, then The Dark Side of the Ring is worth checking out.

If you’ve read this far, you also might be interested in Jim Cornette Presents Behind the Curtain: Real Pro Wrestling Stories.  Written by Cornette with an assist from Brandon Easton and art by Denis Medri,  Jim Cornette Presents Behind the Curtain: Real Pro Wrestling Stories is…

A true-story style anthology, these insider tales will show the lengths that wrestlers went to uphold “kayfabe” (the old carny term for the presentation of legitimate conflict) as well as the noteworthy cultural, racial, and economic effects these events and characters had on society. This is the graphic novel that old school wrestling fans have been waiting their entire lives for: a no-holds-barred representation of the moments that wrestling insiders couldn’t talk about for years.

Featuring appearances by Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler, Andy Kaufman, Sputnik Monroe, The Sheik, Junkyard Dog, the Fabulous Freebirds, the Midnight Express, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels.

Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories present three chapters of tales, personally curated by Cornette and adapted by Brandon Easton (M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) and Denis Medri (Red Hood/Arsenal), the award-winning team behind Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven.

Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories drops on August 6, 2019 and is available for pre-order now.

 

“The Dark Side of the Ring” / Z-View

On April 1st, I posted The Dark Side of the Ring is a 6 episode series airing on Viceland with the series summary and trailer below…

From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality. From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.

I’ve had a chance to watch the first two episodes and was impressed.  The series interviews the wrestlers, referees and behind-the-scenes folks that were actually involved in the events that each episode covers.  If you have any interest in the business of old school professional wrestling, then The Dark Side of the Ring is worth checking out.

Rating:

Rob Schamberger Wrestled with How to Make a Career in Art

Robert Schamberger wanted to be a comic book artist but wasn’t setting the world on fire.  So he decided to branch out into other types of art — especially painting.  Despite making gallery sales, he still hadn’t found his niche.

After some thought Schamberger decided to combine his love of art with his love of professional wrestling.  He started doing paintings of professional wrestlers.  A successful Kickstarter followed.  Then within a year, the WWE contacted Schamberger and brought him on board as their resident artist.  Schamberger’s story is an inspiring one in that he worked to figure out how to make his love of art become his career.

Source: Syfy.

The “Dark Side of the Ring” Trailer is Here!

The Dark Side of the Ring is a 6 episode series airing on Viceland and premieres April 10th.

From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality. From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.

From The Rock to Dave Bautista, Here’s the 10 Best Wrestlers-Turned-Actors

Bradley Russell’s From The Rock to Dave Bautista, Here’s the 10 Best Wrestlers-Turned-Actors piece for GamesRadar was a fun read and it got me to thinking…

  • Shouldn’t Stone Cold Steve Austin have been rated higher than 10?

  • Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin both had their best performances in a Stallone movie!

  • Did you catch Kevin Nash’s cameo in John Wick?

  • Does anyone besides Bradley Russell think that Jesse Ventura’s best move was The Running Man?  Ventura was in Predator!

  • Dwayne The Rock Johnson is #1 and should be.  I also want to see for the record that Johnson’s crime film Faster is very under-rated.

While Russell’s list is a good one, there has been a major oversight.  Terry Funk was left off!

How could any list of Professional Wrestlers Turned Actors omit the man who played Franky the Thumper?

Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses

Odds are, pro wrestling fan or not, you know that the photo above is of the “styling-and-profiling, limousine-riding, jet-flying, Rolex-wearing, champagne-drinking, kiss-stealing, wheeling-‘n-dealing, dirtiest player in the game,” Ric Flair.

Yahoo Sports!, Dan Wetzel has written an excellent profile – Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses – and it is well worth a read.

RIP – Bobby Heenan

Bobby Heenan passed away today surrounded by his family.  My guess is even if you’re not a fan of professional wrestling, you know of Bobby Heenan.

Bobby Heenan was a WWE Hall of Famer, but he transcended the sport.  Of course when you’re considered to be the greatest manager of all time as well as the best color commentator to ever call a match your popularity shouldn’t be surprising.

Heenan spent over 40 years in the world of pro wrestling. He wasn’t your typical wrestler. He wasn’t gigantic. He wasn’t musclebound. He didn’t fly through the air [unless being thrown by Dick the Bruiser or some other good guy].  Bobby Heenan started out as manager “Pretty Boy” Bobby Heenan.  He was a heel.  As a little kid, Heenan was the first person to make me root for the “bad” guy.

Fans loved or hated him, but no one was neutral about Bobby Heenan. Sometimes Heenan would even get involved in matches [usually against his will].   He could “rassle” with anyone and make them look better.  No one could work a crowd like “the Brain.”  And Bobby Heenan was witty. His one-liners and off-the-cuff comments were at times more entertaining than the matches themselves.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bobby Heenan’s family, friends and fans.

10 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter’s Cult Classic “They Live”

Cheryl Eddy and io9 present 10 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter’s Cult Classic They Live.  Here are three of my favorites…

1) Before they met, Carpenter was a Piper fan, but Piper had never heard of the director, even though his filmography at the time included such high-profile works as Halloween, Escape From New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China.

2) The greatest fight scene in movie history runs five minutes and 20 seconds long. It took three days to film, but a month and a half of rehearsing in the backyard behind Carpenter’s office in the San Fernando Valley. According to interviews on the They Live Blu-ray, Carpenter drew inspiration for the clash from a similarly memorable brawl in The Quiet Man, a 1952 John Ford film in which John Wayne plays a retired boxer.

10) “Frank Armitage,” credited as They Live’s screenwriter, is actually a Carpenter pseudonym. It’s a shout-out to H.P. Lovecraft creation Henry Armitage; Carpenter would later pay further tribute to the author with the filmIn the Mouth of Madness. (“Frank Armitage” is also the name of David’s character in the film.)

20 Surprising Facts About Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Hollywood.com presents 20 Surprising Facts About Dwayne The Rock Johnson.  Here are three of my favorites…

He wasn’t always known as “The Rock” in the ring. 
Successful wrestling gimmicks rarely happen right out of the gate. Even The Rock wasn’t exempt from that rule of thumb. He started his pro wrestling career as “Flex Kavana,” followed by “Rocky Maivia” (a blend of his father and grandfather’s ring names) before landing on the name that would help make him a superstar. I think we can all agree that it’s hard to imagine his persona as anything other than “The Rock” in the ring.

His Scorpion King paycheck was a record-breaker
Back in 2002, The Rock made his leading-role debut in The Scorpion King, and he was paid $5.5 million to do it. For a first-time above-the-title name, that sum was the most ever paid – a testament to The Rock’s fame before he started starring in films

He Doesn’t Want to be Called The Rock
In a 2006 interview with Entertainment Magazine, Dwayne Johnson says “I no longer am a wrestler, I am now pursuing a future as an actor and someday as a director. I am not the Rock. I am Dwayne Johnson.” It sounds like people are a little slow to come around to that fact, but it seems to be happening, slowly but surely.

R.I.P. Roderick Tombs aka “Rowdy” Roddy Piper


I was shocked and saddened to ready that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has passed away from a heart attack at just 61 years of age.

Wrestling and movie fans appreciated Mr. Piper’s skills before a camera.  What I liked even more were the things Rowdy Roddy did when the camera was off and he was back to being Roderick Tombs.

By all accounts he was a humble, family man who was gracious with everyone he met.  Funny that most of his wrestling career he played a heel.  Mark Evanier wrote a nice tribute to Roderick Tombs aka Roddy Pipper that will show you the kind of person he was.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Roderick Tombs family, friends and fans.