Aircheck: AWA Syndicated TV Outtake, 1/1/1984

In honor of the passing of Gene Okerlund yesterday (who I’ve mentioned before on here), I thought I’d share this gem.

In the scripted world of professional wrestling, you may wonder – do things ever go wrong? Yes, though most of the time such bloopers weren’t shown so that “kayfabe” (the art of thinking that wrestling was real, thus treated as if it was real) could be maintained.

Before Okerlund went to the WWF and become a household name to even casual wrestling fans, he cuts this promo in the AWA with Jesse Ventura – soon to be WWF bound himself. Ventura introduces a new tag team partner, Mr. (Masa) Saito. To get the promotional vignette “over” (to sell to the audience that they should go watch them in live matches in their local arena), Saito tries to headbutt a small piece of wood so that it breaks in half.

(In most promotions during that era, the wood board would have been broken ahead of time, then pasted together so that it would resemble being broken as a result of the villain’s karate move to promote the premise that the “bad guy” had a strong chop, a hard head, a lethal kick, et cetera.)

As you can see, they run into complications and had to abandon this singular take – but not without a good amount of laughter breaking out.



We begin the eighth year of this blog with the sad news most of you know by now. Former President George H.W. Bush passed away on Friday night at the age of 94. He is the fifth former President to expire in my 47-year lifetime and the first in nearly 12 years since Gerald Ford died in 2006.

I do feel a sense of sadness, though. He was the President when I graduated high school and made some tough decisions in his four-year term in office. (To show you what I geek for the news I used to be – I snuck in a radio to school on January 20, 1989, the day Mr. Bush became President. None of the classes I had that day had shown the inauguration on TV, and the school year was either in exam week or was close to it – so the event went ignored.) He is also, perhaps, a cautionary tale for the current President in one respect: after the first Persian Gulf War, his approval rating was above 90 percent – but he wound up losing the following year to an upstart governor from Arkansas named Bill Clinton.

Around the time of 9/11, my mother worked at one of the St. Petersburg nursing homes (of which there are many), and one of her residents was someone who worked for “Poppy” Bush at one time or another. She (the patient) was upset with some issue regarding the aftereffect of 9/11 (or so I seem to remember) and went on a hunger strike, so former President Bush took the time to call this woman up and had attempted to talk her out of it. I don’t remember whether or not Mr. Bush’s talk was successful or not, but I admired the fact that a former President would go out of his way to support someone like that.

The outpouring of love for “Poppy” will no doubt surprise a few. In a nearly unprecedented move, the stock market will close this upcoming Wednesday, December 5th – the day of the former President’s state funeral. Like many leaders, he has his critics – but I always thought he had a quiet dignity about him, and there’s nothing wrong with being quiet or having dignity.

(CORRECTION, 12/3/2018, 4:40 pm ET: I was erroneous in saying Mr. Bush was the fifth president to pass in my lifetime. He was the sixth. I forgot that Harry Truman died on December 26, 1972 – and I was born September 6, 1971.)

Flashback: “Thank God And Greyhound” by Roy Clark

As some of you heard yesterday, Roy Clark of Hee Haw fame passed away at the age of 85.

Much like Buck Owens, Clark had a legendary career on the country music circuit. “Thank God And Greyhound” went to #6 on the country charts at one point in 1970, also reaching #90 on the Billboard “Hot 100” that covers pop music.

My memories of Mr. Clark also hearken back to a series of commercials back in (if I remember accurately) the 1980’s. Back in an era when workout videos by Jane Fonda were the rage, Clark had advertisements for a tape he put together on how to learn to play the guitar.

Well, now that I’ve done a bit of investigating on YouTube – my memory may be incorrect. At one point, Clark had a book that taught readers how to play the guitar. Not so sure about a VCR tape now.

Anyways, rest in peace, Roy.

Flashback: “Let’s Do Something Cheap And Superficial” by Burt Reynolds

The song was referenced in the “Smokey And The Bandit II” movie, and yes – there was really such a song. It was a minor hit for Reynolds on the country and pop charts in 1980.

Flashback: “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

Word broke yesterday that the Aretha Franklin had died at the age of 76. Here’s the hit the “Queen of Soul” is probably most famous for, released in the spring of 1967 and reaching the top of the Billboard Pop and R&B charts.

But did you know – the song was originally performed by Otis Redding?