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 - John Edwards

When we left off last month, five of us (16-17 year old wrestling fans) were being ushered into the KPLR Channel 11 studios from the line that queued up at the back door (studio entrance) around the building and down the street. Once ushered into the studio, it was basically “general admission”, first come, first served to the seats. Well, actually “seats” is a generous term, more like bleachers. My friends and I spotted the main camera and immediately headed for the middle of the bleachers directly opposite it.

As the rest of the fans (approximately 200) filed in, we looked at the studio/arena. It was really small. Just really enough room for a full-sized wrestling ring (don’t know if it was the same one they used for Kiel and Arena shows), 8-10 rows of bleachers opposite the main camera and 5-6 rows on the other three sides.  Studio klieg lights across the ceiling. Off  in the one corner was the announcer’s table, with bell and hammer, of course, and Larry Matysik’s microphone.

After about a half hour or so, Mickey Garigiola (famous St. Louis ring announcer, famous restaurant personality, and famous brother of major league ballplayer and TV personality Joe Garigiola) made his way into the ring and picked up the house microphone. He gave us a short speech about booing the heels, cheering the faces, but behaving (this will be important later). “Do not throw anything and absolutely do not touch the wrestlers.”

 And, when the show was about to start taping, he would count down for us so that just as the show started, the crowd would be cheering madly as Larry Matysik began his introduction of that week’s show.

Once we were good and ready, and on pins and needles, a massively fat jobber approached the ring. We booed him just because he was really fat and we could tell he was a jobber. (Even though we didn’t know what a jobber was in 1980.) Next thing, who should come out from behind the curtain but BULLDOG BOB BROWN!! What a start to my first TV taping!   More...

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