Wednesday, 1 July 2009

JOHN TOLOS: MY INDEPENDENT OBITUARY

At the risk of being thought when Freddie Blassie would have called a 'pencil-neck geek', let me mention that my obituary of John Tolos, 'The Golden Greek' is in today's Independent. It provides a sequel to the one of Blassie I did for the Indy six years ago; you can find that one here. That's Tolos in the photo on the right, working over Classy Freddie in a cage.

As I said in the obit, their Monsel powder angle was one of the most copied in wrestling; wrestlers were soon being blinded in dozens of innovative ways, most famously when Michael 'BS' Hayes of the Fabulous Freebirds threw 'Freebird cream' into the eyes of the Junkyard Dog. This set up a 'dog-collar' match, wrestlers chained together so JYD could wrestle without his sight, before 30,000 fans in New Orleans' Superdome. There was also an infamous angle in Texas' World Class promotion; Gino Hernandez blinded the British-born 'Gentleman' Chris Adams, but died of a cocaine overdose before they could have the revenge match. They opened their next TV show saying 'this week we've have two terrible tragedies, Chris Adams is blind and Gino Hernandez is dead.'

This seems to be quite a week for nostalgia; I recall Blassie, Tolos, Argentina Apollo, Irish Don McClarity, Gorilla Monsoon and the rest wrestling on TV in the golden age when I was, oh, 11 through about 14. It was the WWWF, and I remember for some reason the ring announcer often welcoming us to 'the Capitol Arena in the nation's wrestling capital, Washington DC', which always made me feel Washington was good for something.

2 comments:

ZigZag1 said...

Mike, I've been trying to find your agent's details regarding a interview for a forthcoming series we're working on. Have tried BBC, Sunset + Vine and Five, but they're all being a little slow.

Would you be able to pass on the details, or maybe I could send you some more details directly?

Regards,

David Lawrence

WastelandsWindham said...

John Tolos was indeed a true star of wrestling in California. I've recently been (un)lucky enough to have had some Herb Abrams' UWF tapes sent over from the States, and he is one of the few highlights.