Wait just a minute Gil. You knew Harry “Hairy Hercules” Herkelshimer but you never knew that his father was Herk the Mauler? It’s safe to assume at this point that Gil knows Hairy from some sort of wrestling context. Well, Gil never was all that good at connecting the dots.
So, it’s hairy knuckles, crazy moustaches and pro wrestling this summer? Cool.
In case you slept through the Fourth, we bring you a repeat of the gears in Gil’s brain slowly meshing, then on with the exposition.
Pop was part of the regional pro wrestling scene, Gil. Shall we explain “regional” to you? That means the country is segmented into several areas, or “regions”. Pro wrestlers of the day performed as different “characters” in different regions in the service of storylines which may or may not have been crafted to appeal to the fans of that area. Got it, Gil? Okay, shall we move on?
Around “here” Pop was Herk the Mauler, where he basically mauled people. Out west, though, he was good guy Sheriff Johnny Blaze, who basically mauled Mexicans (like El Jarbo, depicted here) and then escorted them to the border if they couldn’t produce their papers.
Regional pro wrestling has come up on this blog many times as we’ve reached back into out past and pulled out phrases like “the squared circle” and crimson mask” and kicked around names and places associated with the “sport”. I grew up in Florida where we had weekly televised wrestling primarily under the banner of Championship Wrestling from Florida with host Gordon Solie. I confess that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the stuff, but you kind of had to at least know who the good guys and bad guys were or you’d be totally lost when their exploits were retold at school. Everyone had to have a dog in the fight when Bugsy McGraw fought Dusty Rhodes for the Florida television championship (which most likely took place in Tampa at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory). Then, when Bugsy and Dusty teamed up, are you kidding me???