Scheduled Publication Date: March 15, 2007
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were in the main ballroom, a magnificent area that encompassed the
entire top floor of Las Vegasí famous Riviera Hotel and Casino.
I was doing an on-camera interview with one of the greatest
wrestling managers of all time, Dr. Ken Ramey. We had spoken
of wrestlingís "good old days," essentially the late 1970s; the era
we entitled "When Wrestling Was Real." I mentioned an upcoming
feature film our company had in development, based on late 1970s and
early 1980s professional wrestling. "If the film is only
one-tenth as successful as we expect it to be, it may be the impetus
that brings back wrestling, wrestling the way it used to be," I said
to Dr. Ramey. "Nobody under thirty years of age has any idea
what professional wrestling was," I continued. "They think
what they see on television now is wrestling, and it definitely is
not." We both agreed. Dozens of fans were watching as we
taped the interview. Virtually all of them were nodding in
agreement. Dr. Ramey and I couldnít help but smile at their
reactions. The cameras continued to roll.
tell you what," Dr. Ramey said. "People who see the movie will
see the tail end of a dying era. Because, after we left, they
started doing what theyíre doing today. Up until that time, we
were still selling WRESTLING all over the United States. Now
weíre not. Thereís no wrestling anymore. Itís like you
say. Itís a soap opera. Itís a show." I looked
directly into Dr. Rameyís eyes. With a serious expression of
understanding and agreement, I responded with, "Yes, and they forgot
Ö" At that moment, I couldnít hold back the smile any longer.
I continued in a language called "Carnie," a language spoken by
every wrestler of the era. "Deezont smeezarten the meezarks!"
I quipped. I was going for a reaction and I got it. Ken
Rameyís raised eyebrow completed his expression of disbelief.
If I could have read his thoughts, I would have expected to hear,
"I canít believe you just said that! Youíre speaking Carnie in
the middle of a televised interview? Yes, weíre retired, but
we still donít speak Carnie to the fans!" Dr. Ramey didnít
know that the director of photography, Peter Redford, was working
for my company, and that I would be in charge of the editing.
But, Dr. Ramey is very intelligent, knowledgeable, and possesses a
quick wit. The smile on my face made the joke obvious after
only a few seconds. "Bless you, Sir," I said to Dr. Ramey.
"It has been a pleasure talking with you." "My pleasure," Dr.
Ramey said. "My pleasure."
Dr. Ramey went to the far sides of the ballroom and to the floors
below to locate his two most famous wrestlers, the Interns. I
interviewed several other wrestler friends in the interim. I
looked toward the front of the ballroom and saw two large men with
white masks, being led toward me by Dr. Ken Ramey. I figured
that it would take them about five more minutes to get across the
room, so I timed the interview I was conducting so it would end just
at the five-minute mark. I invited the three men to take their
places. Only a few seconds later, we heard the welcome word,
I looked directly
into the camera. It was a "tight shot" with just my head and
shoulders in frame. "Ladies and gentlemen," I began, "for the
first time in over twenty years, we have together Dr. Ken Ramey and
the Interns Ė three living legends in the world of professional
wrestling." The camera had slowly pulled back to reveal Dr.
Ken Ramey standing next to me, with a masked intern slightly behind
and to each side of him. "Ken," I asked, "would you please
introduce your famous wrestling team?" Ken turned to his left
and motioned with his outstretched right hand. "This is Number
One Intern," he said referring to the very muscular and slightly
larger of the two masked men. Then Ken turned toward the other
man. "And, this is Number Two Intern." I hesitated for a
moment. "Ken is doing an interview just like he did thirty
years ago," I thought. "Heís not going to let the fans
in on anything." Ken continued, "Of course, when we were
in the ring, we never advertised them as one or two. It was
always on an equal basis."
I wasnít quite
sure where Dr. Ramey was heading. I looked at him with a
slight questioning smile on my face. I was about to ask him
another question when he continued. He
looked toward the gentleman to whom he had referred as "Number One
Intern." "This is Brother Jim Starr." Directing his
attention to the other gentleman, he continued, "and this is Tom
Andrews." I was fascinated by his candor. "You have just
given away a secret," I responded, "a secret youíve kept for thirty
years!" "Weíre retired now," Dr. Ramey said. "We donít
care." There was a smile on his face. "Do you mean," I
asked, "that it might even be possible to finally unmask the famous
Interns?" "Itís never been done," Dr. Ramey quickly reminded
me. "Thatís true," I agreed. "Yes," Dr. Ramey
reiterated, "Itís never been done." It was as though he were
waiting for me to take the hint and throw out the next obvious line.
In real time, it probably took less than a second before I grasped
and reacted to the situation by saying, "Well, Dr. Ramey, if anyone
could do it, if anyone could unmask, for the first time ever, the
famous Interns, maybe it could be Ö the first, the only, the
original ĎMr. Wonderful,í Rock Riddle." Although it was a
statement, I asked as if it were a question, as if I were asking for
permission. Dr. Ramey whispered to the first intern, nodded
his head, then whispered to the second intern and reacted to him
with a single nod. Dr. Ramey looked at me and said, "They
agree. Just for you Ö and just for the fans out there."
I was having great
fun with the interview and didnít realize that a momentous event was
about to transpire. Never had the Interns been unmasked.
Never! Yet, I was given the opportunity! "This is
amazing!" I said. "And, Iím going to be given credit for
unmasking them?" "Yes, indeed," Dr. Ramey responded. "Right
here on television." I slowly reached my hands out towards the
mask of Jim Starr, "Intern Number One." The wrestling sense of
humor can be quite extreme. After I had taken the bottom of
Jimís mask with both hands, I figured no joke was imminent, and he
was actually going to allow me to unmask him. I worked the
mask from the bottom up to just below his nose. The mask was
tight. "Youíll have to do the rest," I said to Mr. Starr.
"I donít want to take your nose off. I did that with Michael
Jackson and he had no nose afterwards." "And, he still has no
nose," commented Jim Starr. Now, to my astonishment, both of
the Interns were unmasked. "Oh, my gosh!" I exclaimed. "Holy
Mackerel! So, the rumor was wrong. The rumor was that
the Interns were so ugly, so horrible, that nobody could stand to
see them, therefore the reason for the masks. But, that was
wrong. These men are extraordinarily handsome. In fact,
what we have here are four of the handsomest men on the planet, all
together, for the first time in over twenty years!" "You do
know how to speak the truth," Dr. Ramey added. "You do!"
I ended the segment and the interview with, "I do indeed."
Until next week, keep those e-mails coming.