When We Wanted to Be Hulkamaniacs

I’ve mentioned in interviews and possibly on this blog that my introduction to wrestling books came through a friend of mine who moved in with me during the summer and fall of 2004. His name was Randy, and he’s the guy with the frightened expression sandwiched between me and my friend Jamie. It’s largely because of him this website and all the books on the website happened.

But this is not that story.

In addition to bringing his VHS tapes and books, Randy brought wrestling music – lots and lots and lots of it.  His digital music collection included everything released from WWE, WCW, and ECW. He also had another wrestling-related album the three of us came to adore: Hulk Rules by Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Band. 

I’m not making this up. This is not some spin just because I am not working with Wrestling Boot Band maestro “Hurricane JJ” Maguire on his memoir. When the three of us were out and about and we weren’t listening to No Doubt or Green Day, we were listening to wrestling music. Hulk Rules was our favorite, with our three three tracks being “Beach Patrol,” “I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac,” and “Hulkster in Heaven.”

One evening we were dropping Jamie off at her house. As soon as she shut the car door, we rolled down the window, cranked up the stereo, and serenaded her: “The car just lost another Hulkamaniac.” Jamie laughed so hard, her Dr. Pepper shot out of her nose all over the sidewalk. 

It completely blows my mind that I am working with the man who put all the music behind Hulk Rules together. JJ Maguire has lived an amazing life, and readers are going to love his Hollywood movie star stories, his rock n roll stories, and yes, his wrestling stories. But it really was a thrill when I found out that beyond “Sexy Boy” and “Cool Cocky Bad,” JJ was the music to Jimmy Hart’s lyrics on Hulk Rules.

Say what you want about the album, the songs are fun, and there’s a charm to them that is undeniable. I was sick to death of “American Idiot” before that summer was over, but I never got sick of hearing “Beach Patrol.”

“‘We love to party, party, party!’”

Teeny: Brennon Martin’s Biographical Novel Will Hold You In “The Grip”

It took me way to long to finally pick up this book and read it. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down.

Memphis Wrestling fans know Teeny Jarrett as the lady who ran the show in Louisville, Evansville, Lexington, and spot towns for her son Jerry. Many of these stories have been told before, but here, Martin presents them in a narrative that is cinematic and compelling.

In addition to telling the story of Teeny’s rise from ticket sales to powerful promoter, Martin pulls back the curtain on the Jarrett family drama in a way that is both touching and heartbreaking. He traces Teeny’s life from her poor upbringing with an alcoholic marriage, through an ill-fated marriage, to her troubled relationships with her siblings, and her struggles to hold her own children and grandchildren together.

In the end, Martin gives wrestling fans a clear portrait of one of the most powerful women in the history of wrestling. Teeny Jarrett was a self-made millionaire who worked her way up through the ranks. She humbled everyone from Jack Pfefer to the Iron Sheik, with her signature move, a one-handed face clench known as “The Grip.” In an era when women’s wrestling has come to the fore and women are taking their place alongside men as modern day attractions, Teeny Jarrett’s story is an important and inspiring narrative that every wrestling fan needs to know.

Brennon Martin set out to write one book to tell the story of his grandmother, Teeny Jarrett. I daresay he has a gift for this sort of thing, and I hope Teeny won’t be his last effort.

Kudos to you, Brennon, for making your grandmother proud.

You can pick up your copy of Teeny on Amazon.com.

More Art from the Remarkable Lord Carlton

The “Lady Carlton” just sent me a few new pics of her father’s art work. Lord Leslie Carlton was a huge draw and a much hated heel in his day, but he was an undeniably talented artist before and after becoming a star in the ring.

I’d LOVE to get my hands on the Marx Brothers print.

To learn more about Lord Carlton, be sure to pick up his biography, available from Eat Sleep Wrestle. Click the book cover below to learn more!

Black Panther Earns Praise from Tim Hornbaker

A few months ago I sent a draft of the Black Panther biography to sports and wrestling historian Tim Hornbaker. I was quite humbled and flattered when he sent his endorsement:

“Wrestling historian John Cosper has done it again. His newest book, The Original Black Panther: The Life and Legacy of Jim Mitchell is a fascinating journey into the history of one of wrestling’s forgotten superstars. This book is compelling, informative, and leave you wanting more. Major kudos to Mr. Cosper. Another great job!”

The book is selling well, and I’m trying to replenish my stock now. You can order yours on Amazon.com, or if you want a signed copy, you can get one direct from me for $15 plus postage. Email me at johncosper@yahoo.com to order.

It Started Here

In November of 2012, I sat in the booth just beside the last stool in the photo above on a lunch break with my wife and kids. I told Jessica I was thinking of writing a book about the history of wrestling in Louisville.

She told me to go for it.

In less than two months, I am flying to Las Vegas for the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion to introduce Dr. D David Schultz as he receives the 2019 Male Wrestler Award.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has shared a story, purchased a book, opened a door, or helped me in any way during the last six plus years, but I am especially grateful for how my wife and family continue to support me.

I love you, Jessica. Thanks for putting up with all this wrestling crap.

Update: It IS Here!

The Black Panther Jim Mitchell’s is now available in paperback.

I just received the final draft of the foreword from WWE Hall of Fame Mark Henry earlier this week, and the book is now available for purchase.

If you are interested in a signed copy, they are $15 plus $3 for shipping in the US. (International orders, please inquire for shipping.)

As a special offer, now through March 8, you can add Bluegrass Brawlers or Louisville’s Greatest Show for only $7. That’s $25 for the Jim Mitchell book and the Louisville wrestling book of your choice, while supplies last.

Email me to order, or send PayPal to johncosper@yahoo.com.

This has been a long time coming. I am very proud of this book and happy to have joined forces with Mark in presenting it to the wrestling world. I can’t wait for all of you to read it.

Louisville’s Own Stu Gibson in Action

Several months ago I was able to sit down with Stu Gibson’s youngest sister Mary Lou Heinz to hear more about Stu, his family, and his life in and out of wrestling. One of the things Mary Lou gave me was a DVD of old family videos, and the first thing on that DVD was about 3 minutes of silent footage of Stu wrestling.

As best as I have determined, the footage was shot in 1974 or 1975 in Stu’s adopted hometown of San Antonio. There’s a singles match, followed by a battle royal. You will very quickly recognize a certain French giant in the mix during this second match.

To learn more about Stu Gibson, you can read the bio I wrote for the Pro Wrestling Historical Society. Or better yet, order a copy of my book Louisville’s Greatest Show. Stu is the airborne wrestler flying over Gorgeous George on the front cover.

My thanks to Mary Lou for allowing me to share this!

Sabu is Almost Here, and Vader is Coming!

Kenny Casanova keeps knocking them out. He’s about to release the much-anticipated autobiography of Sabu, and word is the Vader book will finally go to press this spring as well.

I have not read the Sabu book, but I did read an earlier draft of Vader’s. It’s one of the top five best wrestling biographies I’ve read. If you’re a fan of Kenny’s previous works with Kamala, Brutus Beefcake, and Dangerous Danny Davis, you will not be disappointed.

Kenny is a very gifted writer, and I can’t wait to see what he’s done with Sabu’s story. You can pre-order the book now on Kenny’s website and get a signed copy. Click here to order.

Support your favorite wrestlers, and support guys like Kenny who are helping to preserve the history of this crazy business.

New Acquisition: A Louisville Wrestling Program from 1952

One of the first things I acquired when working on the book Bluegrass Brawlers was a copy of the 1953 Police Benefit Show program. In the 1950s, the Police Benefit Show was THE biggest wrestling event of the year in Louisville, the night they brought in the biggest stars for the biggest card. It was Louisville’s Wrestlemania.

Just a few weeks ago, the 1952 program popped up on eBay. It’s now in my collection. Here are a few images from that program.

All of the Police Benefit Shows are chronicled in the book Louisville’s Greatest Show. Fingers crossed, one of these days I hope to lay my hands on the 1954 program featuring Jim Mitchell.

Coming in 2020: The Story of a Not-So Wee Little Man

I said when I hit 500 followers on Facebook, I would announce a new book project. We shot past that benchmark last night, so here it is.

I am happy to announce I am not in the early stages of research on a book about the life of Wee Willie Davis!

Davis was a notorious heel in his time, a 6’6″ monster who appeared all over the United States from the 1930s through the 1950s. In the 1940s, he followed his buddy Mike Mazurki into the film industry and appeared in more than two dozen films including Mighty Joe Young, The Asphalt Jungle, Son of Paleface, Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, and Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. He also made a splash on television as a contestant on The $64,000 Question, and he was the co-inventor of an early form of “heads up display” technology called the Glowmeter.

Davis has a unique connection to the Louisville, Kentucky wrestling scene as well. Not only did he work for Francis McDonogh and the Allen Athletic Club, he is the missing link between the Allen Club and Memphis Wrestling. He partnered with McDonogh’s widow Betty to open his own wrestling promotion in 1958 and later became the local point man when Dick the Bruiser took over the territory in the 1960s.

It took me almost five years to compile enough information to finally tell Jim Mitchell’s story, and while I don’t expect Davis to take quite as long, I do plan to take my time and do it right. My current goal is to release his story in late 2020, but that’s subject to change. The good news is you’re going to see at least 3-4 books from me between now than then, including to very exciting autobiographies that I’ll be announcing in the coming months.

Wee Willie Davis was a colorful personality and a man of many talents. He’s become a fascination of mine, and I am looking forward to sharing his story with a generation that’s never heard of him.