Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
Iím absolutely thrilled to have
this interview, and itís one of those occasions where Iím going to
keep my input to a respectful minimum; and let the man in question do
all the talking. I remember when I first saw pictures of him, and I
remember when I first saw him wrestle; still to this day. This man is
truly a class act, and professional wrestling could dearly use more
like him today. With a past and present that is truly both fascinating
and inspiring, I proudly bring to you; an interview with a man who to
me personifies the term Ďlegendí Ė D.C. Drake.
PETER : Thank you for this
interview, and the time taken to do it. Can I start by asking you
about your childhood?
D.C. : I was born and
raised in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. At the age of 8
years old, I was diagnosed with ulcer disease that eventually led to
bleeding ulcers in my adolescence. This disease kept my weight very
low and led to a number of other illnesses.
Despite being sickly as a child, I was still able to
participate in amateur wrestling and played American Legion baseball.
It was my dream as a youth to play professional baseball, however as I
moved into high school, my father suffered a serious back injury in
his workplace leading to many years of surgery and disability for him.
Being the oldest child of four, I felt a responsibility to go to work
and help to contribute to the family income. Throughout high school, I
worked 40 hour weeks at a gas station in an attempt to do my part in
keeping our family stable. These work hours put an end to any thoughts
of organized high school team sports which led me into the gym and
working out with weights to get my Ďathletic fixí. Throughout all
of this, I remained a huge fan of professional wrestling, especially
enjoying the matches televised on Channel 29 from Philadelphia that
featured Florida Championship Wrestling and Gordon Solie.
PETER : These must have
been difficult times. I find wrestling is a wonderful release in times
such as these. So, how did life progress from here?
D.C : After graduating high
school, I went to college; initially as a criminal justice major. This
led to my employment with the New Jersey Department of Corrections
where I stayed for nearly 10 years. During this time, I had a
continued fascination with pro wrestling, continued to work out, and
also enrolled in a wrestling training school in Jersey City; New
Jersey. Educationally, I completed college; switching from criminal
justice to psychology and mental health major and went on to get my
graduate degree in counseling psychology and eventually licensed as a
certified addictions counselor. Because my enthrallment with
professional wrestling never waned, I started the Continental
Wrestling Alliance in the Lehigh Valley in the early 1980ís;
securing Twin County Cable as our television outlet. I used money I
earned in a part time job to help fund this effort, which eventually
became financially overwhelming. Bob Raskin, a New Jersey promoter
approached me and offered to take over the financial and
administrative operations of the organization and I was more than
happy to relinquish this responsibility. I then moved into the booker
role and concentrated on the television production. The CWA later
became the National Wrestling Federation. In the mid 1980ís, Raskin
brought in an entertainment booking agency out of Philadelphia to do
the promotions and selling of NWF shows. At this point, the NWF began
PETER : Which must have
been exciting, to watch the promotion grow and become larger.
D.C. : It was. I left the
Department of Corrections in 1987, and started working with Raskin
Sports Productions and Creative Entertainment as a wrestler, booker,
and television producer. We were able to take the NWF from a
Northeastern United States promotion thanks to the Sports Channel
networks, local broadcast stations and satellite television. My days
usually consisted of television editing either in New York or
Philadelphia, trying to stay in shape so my wrestling skills did not
suffer; and writing television scripts to keep our product
competitive. We eventually hired Paul Heyman to be our television
host, and started using many big name stars. As a television producer,
my most satisfying time came when we received ratings numbers from the
Albany, NY area showing that we were beating the then WWF in that
market. Shortly thereafter, a number of events transpired within the
organization leading to money problems and the departure of some of
the partners in the product. More...