Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin Pro Wrestling Radio Interview – WCW, World Class, Von Erichs, NWA, Ric Flair


>>Eric: He is a former AWA and World Championship
Wrestling World Tag Team Champion and one
of my all time favorite wrestlers, “Gorgeous”
Jimmy Garvin. Jimmy, welcome to the show.
>>Jimmy: Well, thank you very much, Eric.
It’s nice to talk to you today.
>>Eric: It’s an honor to have you. Jim, when
I grew up watching wrestling, I always loved
the promos, and, in my opinion, you were one
of the greatest of all time, and I don’t want
to jump to far ahead here in your career,
but let me just ask you, how did you develop
and come up with your style of promos?
>>Jimmy: As I think back on it, when I first
started, which was November 1, 1969, I wasn’t
too good. Like anything else, when you start,
you just have to work on it. I remember Bobby
Shane was a big influence on me, back in the
days when I was traveling with him around
the Gulf coast area. And just watching and
paying attention to the different guys’ style
and practicing on the job type training. At
first they were pretty crappy, but as I got
more comfortable, and got more relaxed, and
I could get more creative, and the steps went
forward, I found I had a knack for it.
>>Eric: Is there any kind of interesting anecdote
behind “It’s not my fault”?
>>Jimmy: Somebody asked me that the other
night, and to tell you the truth, I think
it just came out one day. Most of my interviews,
in fact 99% of them, were off the cuff. I
never really thought about anything as far
as the content went. It went no further than
the fact of who I was wrestling and when it
was going to be and where it was going to
be and then everything else kind of flowed.
So somewhere in that process, the “It’s not
my fault” phrase came out.
>>Eric: Gotcha. Again, we’re talking to “Gorgeous”
Jimmy Garvin. His website is live, it’s a
tremendous website,Jimmygarvin.com.
Jimmy, you have a DVD for sale on your website,
taking a behind scenes look at the Great American
Bash. Maybe you can tell the listeners about
it?
>>Jimmy: It’s a fantastic DVD. I held onto
it for years and years. It was when Jim Crockett
promotions did the last Great American Bash
tour around the country, and I just brought
my camera with me, my video camera, and just
happened to think, ‘I want to tape the
guys behind the scenes, before the matches
started, or what they were doing during the
matches.’ Because there was a lot of funny
stuff went on, as I explain on the website.
We traveled so much, night after night, that
we had to do something to relieve the tension
or something to entertain ourselves. We found
that sitting around for hours and hours, night
after night, we did some pretty funny stuff
to keep the mood going and to keep everybody’s
frame of mind where it should be. I just took
it [my camera] with me around the country
and I got some really great stuff and some
very funny moments. People like, God bless
him, Hawk, who was a good friend of mine,
and his partner, Animal, and Sting, Lex Luger,
the list goes on and on. Jimmy Cornette had
a little piece in there, Dr. Death Steve Williams-
all the guys who were on the tour at that
time with Jim Crockett promotions. And mostly,
to what comes to my mind, it was the last
of an era. It was the last of the old days,
so to speak, where we just traveled our butt
off, did what we had to do, we wrestled hard,
we played hard, and some of that shows in
there. It’s just a really, really good DVD.
It’s the first of a few to come. The next
one is a Behind the Scenes Africa. That’ll
be coming out around November. That was a
21-day tour, I took over in Africa, with Chris
Adams, we lost him, but he was a real good
friend of mine. We had great matches in Texas,
and Kansas City, and St. Louis. Kevin Von
Erich is on that one. Jimmy Snuka, the Iron
Sheik, and the list goes on and on, and again,
it’s just what we did to keep ourselves in
the right frame of mind to do that kind of
traveling under those kind of circumstances.
The Behind the Scenes Bash is a really unique
piece, that’s never been seen anywhere in
the world, and I invite everyone to check
out Jimmygarvin.com, and they won’t be disappointed
if they get it, because it’s just really,
really good.
>>Eric: That’s tremendous. And what’s on Jimmygarvin.com,
and what I think is very cool, and one of
my favorite questions that I ask my guests,
is the road stories, and you just started
telling some road stories on there, and the
one about the bear is just tremendous.
>>Jimmy: The bear was really funny one. I
was just a kid, 18 or 19 years old, and I
wrestling for Nick Gulas, and it was in Bowling
Green, and I invite people to go on the website
and check it out. It was something, I’ll tell
you that. I really had to pay my dues in that
department. Of course, I don’t wrestle bears
anymore, never did after that. And, the one
after that, with Michael and I in Tigerland.
Have you seen that one?
>>Eric: Yes! Him on the bar.
>>Jimmy: (Laughs) You almost had to be there
to see that, but that was hilarious. I try
to update it about once a month. I try to
send a story out for the fans, give them some
kind of idea of what we went through, and
how we entertained ourselves.
>>Eric: That’s tremendous. Have you heard
the story of Michael getting the microphone
at the Stephanie McMahon-Triple H wedding
and singing and going a little crazy there?
>>Jimmy: No, but that sounds about right.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: Anytime Michael was around a microphone,
it didn’t matter, and he just went into the
other character. Which by the way, after Behind
the Scenes Africa, I’m going to have Behind
the Scenes Freebirds and the Badstreet Band,
which takes a look at what we did when we
traveled around, and we had the Badstreet
Band, and Michael and I hit the stages at
the Atlanta Olmni. We did a show there; we
did one at Centerstage in Atlanta. And that’s
going to be kind of interesting, too.
>>Eric: As the story goes, the McMahons were
having a fairly eloquent wedding, and then,
all of a sudden, Michael grabbed the microphone
and started singing. Some of the crowd, they
were running with at the time weren’t too
happy with it.
>>Jimmy: Well, I could imagine. Michael couldn’t
sing worth a darn, anyway.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: He was hell of an entertainer though,
I’ll tell you that.
>>Eric: When you talk about all time greats,
when it comes to watching in the ring and
promos, you think about guys like yourself,
and absolutely, Michael Hayes.
>>Jimmy: We played well off of each other.
We worked well together. Everything just kind
of flowed. Because we were living the gimmick,
we were pulling no punches. We were saying
what was on our minds.
>>Eric: Right. I know the history with you
and Michael goes way back prior your run as
the Freebirds World Tag Team Champions in
WCW, how did you guys first wind up together
as partners? Was it in Texas?
>>Jimmy: Actually, as partners, after, I forgot
what year it was, maybe ’89, I think it was
when Turner bought out Jimmy Crockett, I took
a year off and then Michael called me up and
said, ‘What do you think about teaming
up? We’ll be the Fabulous Freebirds.’ I said,
‘Hell yeah. I’ll do that.’ Because I
was always the unofficial Bird back in Texas.
Because in Texas, the three Birds were always
together, and than it was me, than Precious,
and maybe Sunshine and Chris doing battle.
We always ran together. We were always in
each other’s back pocket, so to speak. So
Michael asked me and said, yeah, that would
be fine.
>>Eric: Now, didn’t you guys team up together
at the WrestleRock show as well?
>>Jimmy: Yeah, we did do that. It was kind
of a temporary thing. It was just that one
time.
>>Eric: Gotcha. Again, we’re talking to “Gorgeous”
Jimmy Garvin. Jimmy, you’ve talked about in
earlier interviews, and in your bio, the short
time that you have spent with Eddie Graham,
as a youngster in the business. What are your
memories of Eddie Graham?
>>Jimmy: Well, that goes way back. I started
when I was nine years old in Tampa. My family
had a little, small apartment complex, and
Joe Scarpa (Chief Jay Strongbow) and the Great
Malenko lived there. To make a long story
short, Joe Scarpa seen me one day, and said,
‘Why don’t you come down to 106 North
Albany, the Sportatorium, because Eddie Graham
has an amateur club.’ I said, ‘sure.’
So I went down there, I fell in love with
it. I started my amateur wrestling career
down there, at the Sportatorium, 106 North
Albany. In fact, Gordon Solie did an interview
with me, when I was nine years old.
>>Eric: Wow.
>>Jimmy: The first time Gordon Solie interviewed
me, I was just a nine-year-old kid. Eddie
Graham used to take me to the tournaments,
along with Mike, we were both around the same
age, and I had a real good relationship with
Eddie Graham. He was a great person, and great
for wrestling.
>>Eric: Tremendous. Now, all that you can
do is read about the legend of Danny Hodge,
but you had the opportunity to work with him
for a brief time. What was that like?
>>Jimmy: That was always pretty interesting
with Danny, because he was such an intense
individual to start with. I believe, if I’m
not mistaken, he was the only one on the cover
of Time Magazine as a Golden Glove boxer and
a champion amateur wrestler at the same time,
holding both titles.
>>Eric: Correct.
>>Jimmy: And he had that double tendons in
his hands, he was born that way, so his strength
was enormous, if he ever got a hold of you.
He was a very aggressive wrestler, anyway,
and I was just a kid, when I got in the ring
with him, so I was hoping he was in a pretty
good mood and wouldn’t hurt me too bad. Speaking
about wrestling Danny Hodge, I was talking
to somebody the other night, I wrestled Buddy
Rodgers, as well.
>>Eric: Wow!
>>Jimmy: I wrestled Lou Thesz, as well. I’m
trying to think, I always ask the guys, ‘if
you ever find anyone who’s wrestled those
three guys and isn’t a hundred years old,
let me know.’ I’m 51 now, and before I was
thirty, I had wrestled, Hodge and Buddy Rodgers.
I remember in West Palm Beach, Buddy Rodgers
used to manage me for a while.
>>Eric: Really?

Jimmy: Yeah. That was pretty interesting stuff.
I’m real proud that I got a chance to get
in the ring with guys like that, because they
are my heroes.
>>Eric: Absolutely. I think you actually have
my next beat, I got Bruno Sammartino coming
up next, and I think he’s only got in the
ring with Thesz and Buddy Rodgers. I don’t
think he ever was in the ring with Danny Hodge.
>>Jimmy: You’ll have to ask him. No doubt
he’s a living legend, himself, and I got a
lot respect for him. To be honest with you,
I never met him, after all the years he’s
been in the business, and myself. Of course,
I always NWA in the South, and he was mostly,
WWF in the North, so our paths didn’t get
a chance to cross. But give him my regards.
I respect him a lot.
>>Eric: When you first broke in, and maybe
for the first five/six years in the wrestling
business and doing the territories, who can
you point to that took you under their wing,
any old-schoolers or old-timers that particularly
did?
>>Jimmy: Frankie Caine always took an interest
in me, who later went on to wrestle as the
Great Mephisto. Frankie Caine got so much
history in professional wrestling, for going
way back. He always kind of took care of me.
Terry Garvin also helped me out a lot. Pat
Patterson helped me out a lot. Those stick
out in my mind. Jack Brisco, as I was coming
up, not so much when I was managing, but when
I started wrestling, he helped me out a lot.
He’s a really good friend, both Jack and Jerry.
>>Eric: Excellent. I should also point out,
on Wrestlingclassics.com, they have a message-board,
where both you and Jack converse with fans,
which I think is very cool.
>>Jimmy: I really enjoy doing that. I just
started doing that a couple of months ago,
and I get some interesting questions. It just
amazes me how they remember so well; sometimes
they ask me questions, and to be honest with
you, I just can’t remember the facts, but
they sure remember the facts. It’s always
a pleasure talking to them.
>>Eric: Absolutely. I know you wrestled both
with and against and also wrestled for Bill
Watts, what was it like working for Bill Watts?
I heard a mixed bag of reactions from different
guys.
>>Jimmy: (Snickers) When I first worked for
Bill Watts, it was in 1971. Holy smokes, ’71
and ’72, he worked us to death. We did an
awful a lot of traveling, and I mean hard
driving from Oklahoma City to New Orleans,
and early TVs. It was like drive, drive, drive,
drive. He didn’t have a lot of patience. I
always got along with him okay. I don’t really
have anything bad to say about him. I try
not to say anything bad about anyone if I
can help it, unless I just like feel like
saying it, that’s why I was always like a
rebel; I didn’t always play by the rules they
wanted me to play, but I just call a spade
a spade. Bill Watts was okay. He was a hard
driving promoter that worked his boys pretty
darn hard.
>>Eric: You were WCW when he came back, right?
>>Jimmy: Yes.
>>Eric: What was that like? Bill Watts 1971
is a way different story than Bill Watts running
the business like ’71 in ’92.
>>Jimmy: I think he was fighting, and this
is my opinion, I think he’s an old-school
type guy, too, and when he got in there with
likes of the Turner group, and guys that were
slithering around in the upper offices there,
I’m not sure he could play their game. So
he had a little bit of a hard time. Again,
I could be totally wrong, but just know that
Bill’s from the old school and it’s hard to
teach an old dog new trick, so to speak. He
tried, but I don’t think he was happy there.
He was fighting a lot of inside stuff.
>>Eric: Without naming names, tell me you
didn’t get a little bit of a chuckle on some
of the guys and when you heard Bill was coming
and you said, ‘If you think it’s bad
now, wait’ll they get a hold of Bill.’
>>Jimmy: (Laughs) Well, I think a lot of guys
learned that when he arrived. I can’t think
of any particular individual that learned
any worse than any of the other guys. It’s
just that, I don’t think they were used to
the way he commanded the ship.
>>Eric: And going from Jim Herd and Kip Frey
to Bill Watts is quite a drastic comparison
there.
>>Jimmy: Yeah, well, but at least Herd, he
knew nothing, at least Bill knew kind of what
was going on. Kip Frey was a good guy; I got
along with him. He was like another guy who
got thrown into the middle of something that
he really didn’t have any idea [about]. He
tried and he was a really good guy, don’t
miss understand me, but he was out of his
field.
>>Eric: Absolutely. When we come back from
the break, I’ve had the opportunity to talk
to different guys over the years I’ve been
doing this, that were there when Ric Flair
had left with the WCW title. Were you there
when Ric Flair left with the title?
>>Jimmy: I don’t think I was. I think that
was after. I quit in ’92.
>>Eric: Okay, because he left right at the
end of ’91.
>>Jimmy: He did? Well, you see, I don’t remember,
because I mentally left, probably shortly
before that.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: I said when I was 26, I’d retire
when I was 40, and that’s what I did. I was
pretty much done, so I don’t have a lot of
memory on him leaving, but I’ll give you what
I can.
>>Eric: I’ll tell you what some of the other
guys said and maybe you can throw in some
of your comments on that.
>>Jimmy: Sure.
>>Eric: Excellent. Again, we’re talking to
“Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin. His website is Jimmygarvin.com.
He has a DVD for sale on his website, that
takes a behind the scenes look at the Great
American Bash, the last touring Great American
Bash, as well as future DVDs that’ll be available
on the site, as well as road stories. Check
it out,Jimmygarvin.com.
>>Eric: Jim, we started to talk a little bit
about Ric Flair, before the break. It never
even dawn on me until I started bringing a
couple of the guys from that era on the radio
show here, a couple of the guys were still
very bitter and very upset with Ric leaving
with the title at the time and going over
there and they’re saying, that it’s great
Ric is making a buck over there, but he’s
trying to put us out of business and hurt
our families. What’s your take on it?
>>Jimmy: It’s a little foggy. I remember him
going to the WWF out of here. To be honest
with you, I was so mentally separated from
the business at the time, to a degree, I didn’t
care too much. I could care less, so to speak.
I don’t know if that makes sense to you. I
didn’t normally care what Flair did anyway.
>>Eric: You have an interesting story that
you’ve told at the Wrestlingclassic’s message-board
about Ric Flair.
>>Jimmy: (Laughs) When he tried to fire me
three times?
>>Eric: (Laughs) Yeah. Why don’t you talk
about that for a second?
>>Jimmy: Yeah, it was amazing. He was more
or less the booker at the time, if not the
booker, he was right up there. Hurricane Hugo,
when that came, it hit my house; it put a
90-foot oak tree through two stories of it
and microburst came out of it, it turned it
twenty degrees off its foundation. Thank goodness,
I was off at the time, and being so close
in aviation, and watching everything on the
radar, I kind of had an idea, along with everyone
else, that it was going to get really bad.
It destroyed my house. I had a day off and
then I was supposed to go back to work, but
I couldn’t make the shot. I called them and
said, ‘Look, my house is gone. My stuff
is strolled everywhere. I got to get my family
a place to stay. I’m not going to be making
the shot.’ He sent word back through Michael
that if I missed another shot I was going
to be fired.
>>Eric: Wow.
>>Jimmy: So I sent message back through Michael
and called the people I needed to call and
I said, ‘Look, I need to have a couple
of days to get my family secured.’ In the
meantime, he sent two other messages that
threatened to fire me if I didn’t make the
shots. So I never really thought much of that.
I really don’t think that was a nice thing
to do. I think it would have been more in
line to say, ‘Take care of your family
and get back to us when you got them taken
care of.’
>>Eric: Absolutely. How did the political
struggle between Dusty and Flair affect the
boys?
>>Jimmy: To me, it was one of those things
that whoever won out the interview with Jimmy
Crockett, because both of them were going
in different directions, and neither one of
them were having dinner at each other’s houses
too often, if you know what I mean. So there
was always a conflict. Flair had his guys
and Dusty had his. To a degree, it separated
the group. Flair did his angles and Dusty
would do his. It was just an unnecessary discomfort
in the air.
>>Eric: What was it like when Crockett purchased
the UWF? What was that initial blending of
the talent like? For you, who had been around
the business for a while, you probably knew
about 90% of the locker-room anyway. How did
that whole dynamic work out?
>>Jimmy: Again, I hate to say it, I probably
didn’t care at the time. I didn’t pay much
attention, because, honestly, there was stuff
going on in the business that I could just
care less. I had a job to do, and I knew what
my job was, and I kind of knew where everybody
was going, but I never really got into the
personal [aspect]. I never got involved in
that way.
>>Eric: Sure, one of my favorite promos from
“Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin was when you first
came into the NWA Crockett territory at the
time, you came out with the want ads, and
you were talking about Wahoo looking for a
job. (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: (Laughs)
>>Eric: What are your memories of your feud
with Wahoo?
>>Jimmy: Just great memories. Wahoo was a
legend and always will be, well respected
throughout the industry, and will always be
remembered as a strong individual. He was
just a great guy. When I first came to Crockett
in ’77, really just started to apply what
I watched as a manager all those years in
the ring, Wahoo helped me out a lot then.
Of course, coming in and working the angle
with him right off the bat in ’86, it was
great. He was just a great guy. He had a big
heart. He was a tough individual. You knew
you were in a match when you were in the ring
with Wahoo. His stuff was solid. He had a
good attitude, too. He did what he wanted
to do. He said what he wanted to say. He wasn’t
an office type guy. Interviews were so easy
to do with him. It could have gone so much
further, but there were certain restraints
put on.
>>Eric: It seemed the feud ended pretty abruptly.
>>Jimmy: Yeah, I think it was getting over.
(Laughs)
>>Eric: (Laughs) Like I said, as a kid, out
of everything I’ve seen in the wrestling business,
that’s one of the things that sticks out in
my mind, that I remember was the interview.
I remember the interview clear as day, with
the interview and I remember the feud, so
that should tell you something right there.
>>Jimmy: With all the thousands and thousands
of interviews that I’ve done, I, like yourself,
remember the ones with Wahoo, when I had the
Chief fund. I had the pickle jar…
>>Eric: (Laughs) Yes!
>>Jimmy: Should I raise money for the chief?
I wanted to go up to the hills here in Charlotte,
and look for his mama. Do a little film clip,
about going up and finding his mama up there
on the reservation and looking in her tent
for Wahoo, but that never happened.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: Which would have been totally hilarious.
>>Eric: Absolutely. This radio show is based
out of the Philadelphia market, and Philadelphia,
I would think, was a very good town to you.
I know most people remember your match with
the Dynamic Dudes; I’ve even seen some interviews
where they ask you about it. But I don’t think
a lot of people remember, because it wasn’t
on pay per view and it was just a regular
house show, I remember being at a house show
where you had just turned babyface, and you
did the angle with the Midnight Express, and
you came out as a surprise mystery partner,
and I just remember the Civic Center going
absolutely bonkers.
>>Jimmy: Well, Philadelphia, and I’m not kidding
when I say this, was one, if not my favorite
city. Philadelphia had the same attitude as
I had and the same attitude as Michael had,
and that was- we didn’t care. We did what
we wanted to do and said what we wanted to
say and we acted the way we wanted to when
we wanted and nobody was going to tell us
different. And if they tried to tell us different
and we didn’t want to do it, we wouldn’t go
for it. That was a good example with the fans.
The promotion tried to do a babyface thing
out of the dudes, and Philadelphia people
told them that’s not what we wanted to do.
Philadelphia, that auditorium there was electrifying.
The fans were the greatest. They absolutely
let you know what was on their mind. I know
a couple shows there, I wasn’t feeling so
good, I was just run down and I wasn’t at
my 100%. Man, they let me know that I wasn’t
doing too good. (Laughs)
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: I remember that. I understand, I
wasn’t doing too good. They seen it and they
said it. Good for them. I don’t think they
realized how we worked and what we had to
do to keep going sometimes.
>>
Eric: Sure. When you did have that big babyface
turn in Crockett’s company, was that something
you got excited about? Was it something you
got nervous about? Or was that something,
again, you didn’t really care, it was part
of the job?
>>Jimmy: I was always nervous in the Crockett
organization. I also told the story on the
boards, in ’86, when I came here. They told
me to come there out of Texas, but instead
I went to Verne [Gagne]. They never forgot
that. I was going up the stairs one time,
in Fayetteville and Tully and Flair were standing
at the top and they said, ‘Oh here’s
the guy that wouldn’t come when we needed
him to come, now he’s here.’ So that kind
of always stuck in my mind that they didn’t
forget. I really felt a little uncomfortable.
I knew, coming out of Florida, doing business
with David Von Erich, coming out of Texas
and doing business there, and coming out of
the AWA and doing business there, I knew the
character of “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin and Precious
could do business if given a chance. The Wahoo
thing was going, then they turned me babyface.
I said. ‘I could still make this work.
I can control my gimmick to the point I’m
creative enough that I could make this work.
I just need a little help.’ It takes two to
tango. I always knew in the back of my mind,
that the rope was going to run out pretty
soon. [First] turning me babyface then teaming
me up with Bill Dundee. What in the world
was that about? Teaming me up with Ronnie.
That didn’t make any sense either. I was a
single, basically, under the “Gorgeous” Jimmy
Garvin and Precious characters.
>>Eric: Talking a little bit about Verne,
what were some of your memories of that run?
I remember, and I thought it was tremendous,
that [feud] you had with Rick Martel over
the AWA title.
>>Jimmy: Fantastic gentleman. Rick Martel
was a great piece of talent, a great individual
and person, and just a really nice guy and
businessman. His work and my work were kind
of like Chris Adams and I when we worked.
We just knew each other’s style. We could
adapt to the changes, if we needed to on an
instant. We both had the same psychology as
far as how the match should start and how
the match should continue through the middle
and how the match should end. We were really
mentally connected. That’s what important
in having those old-school, classic matches,
is the guys have to be able to read each other
really good. Rick Martel and I did a heck
of a job. Verne had a great territory there.
Verne is an old-school guy and he sold wrestling.
>>Eric: I think it says a lot about you, because
Verne got you, and at the time you were a
top guy and you were in the top program with
Martel. And that was the time that Verne was
looking to expand in the Northeast, and he
was running the Meadowlands. So I think that
says a lot about you and how he saw you.
>>Jimmy: I appreciate that and I’m glad he
recognized it. I had worked almost a quarter
of a century on my skills and I wasn’t going
to my first dance. I use that phrase often.
I could have gone to Verne’s territory and
with a little help from the company, let me
have a little creative flow going, and we’ll
not only give the people their money’s worth,
but we’ll also have a good time and everybody
will make money.
>>Eric: What about when you wound up getting
that tag team title run with Steven Regal,
what was the story with the phantom title
change between you and the Road Warriors?
>>Jimmy: I’m not sure if Verne was trying
to give the Road Warriors a secret message
or not. I wasn’t in on that and didn’t really
know, but the Road Warriors were the Road
Warriors and I respect them tremendously.
Why would they drop it to Steve and I? We
didn’t know it wasn’t going to happen, too
much, until that night it happened. The only
thing I could figure out was, there must have
been something going on, some power struggle
going on, this is just my thoughts, I’m sure
Animal would know because he was privy to
the information, but it was pretty bizarre
to have Steve and I, of all people. But thank
goodness, like I say, too, sometimes, on the
boards, the Road Warriors liked us a lot.
We got along well with them, so they didn’t
care.
>>Eric: You seemed to have very good chemistry.
You worked with them, I’d imagine, hundreds
of time.
>>Jimmy: I was very good friends with both
of them.
>>Eric: We were talking briefly before, you
were talking about having really good chemistry
with Martel and knowing where you were. Do
you remember any guy or guys that you have
wrestled, and it’s not saying anything negative
on them, that you just said to yourself, wow,
we are just on two different pages and we
can’t get anything go here?
>>Jimmy: I’m sure along my way, there were
guys like that. I can’t really bring to my
mind right now. I’d really have to stop think
about the guys that I worked with. Sometimes
you would just have bad chemistry. Maybe the
guy would just be thinking too one sided.
That’s a question we’d have to think over
a little bit and let me think of the guys.
There was a black guy, bald headed guy, named
Sonny…
>>Eric: Sonny Fargo?
>>Jimmy: No, he was down in Florida. I couldn’t
remember his name. He was always hard to work
with, but he was going to do everything he
could do to get over and that’s not always
the best thing to do. It takes two guys working
together to make everything happen. I’ll probably
remember that guy’s name when we hang up.
>>Eric: (Laughs) I’ll look for it on the boards.
What are your memories of Texas? I’ve been
lucky, I had Kevin Von Erich on the show a
few times and one of the few guys that I actually
stay in touch with between his appearances.
What a super guy, from my experiences with
him.
>>Jimmy: Great guy. Good friend of ours. Good
family friend, as were all the Von Erich boys.
Good friends with Patty and I. Texas was just
a magical place. I’ve said this before, too,
on the boards or from my e-mail club. In ’83,
when we went there, all the stars were lined
up in the right place. The boys were on top
of their game. The Freebirds were there, feeling
no pain, and on top of their game. The angle
with myself and Chris Adams was hot. Iceman
King Parsons, everything was just so perfect.
We could do no wrong. It was just magical
in Texas. Everybody was paired up with the
right person. All the angles that were being
constructed were with the right people. It
was perfect.
>>Eric: How did you wind up with Sunshine?
Where did she come from?
>>Jimmy: Sunshine’s my cousin.
>>Eric: Oh okay.
>>Jimmy: She’s my cousin. She’s from Tampa
and she’s doing fine now. Originally, to make
a long story short, when I was just Jimmy
Garvin, an old timer down in Florida, a friend
of Eddie Graham’s, Lester Welch saw me working.
I came back in the dressing room and he said,
‘Jim, I’ve known you forever. You’ve
got a good background, you’ve got a good basic
style, but you need to have a gimmick.’ So
that really burnt on my mind that he’s probably
right. The “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin character
came up and Eddie Graham had a friend, who
he hooked me up with to be the valet, and
I just created the character from there. Of
course, the fact of this girl, the limo picking
me up at home, being away for days, that was
kind of wearing on the family. Patti is such
a wonderful person and a wonderful wife, and
I realized the pressure there, so I said,
‘Look, we’ll get rid of her and I’ll
try to figure something about, but I got to
keep the gimmick going.’ Because I knew it
was just a matter of time before the gimmick
totally caught on fire, as it did. So I said,
I got an idea; I’ll get my cousin Valerie.
I called her up and she had never even been
to a wrestling match. I’ll teach you on the
way to Texas, this what we’re going to do.
She was just a perfect natural; she did just
a great job. That’s how Sunshine was brought
to Texas.
>>Eric: Your wife was such a natural, especially
when you were a heel, just that voice and
you guys had charisma together. She was such
a natural in that role.
>>Jimmy: That’s amazing, too. She didn’t want
anything to do with that. I had to beg her
and beg her and beg her. In fact, I still
owe her for doing that.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: When Sunshine was in Texas with me
for almost a year, we were partying really,
really hard, to hard for our own good, actually.
It got to the point where her and Buddy Roberts
were having a good time, a couple days at
a time, and her dependability started to wear.
No disrespect to her, that was just normal
to take a young girl out of a small town,
and Tampa being a small town compared to the
rest of the United States, where we traveled,
she needed a break. I said, ‘You got
to do it, Patti. There’s nobody else to do
it.’ Patti said, ‘No, no, no.’ It’s
totally against her normal nature. Finally,
she said okay, I’ll do it for you. She did
it for me for five years; she traveled around
the world. 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
we’ve been together 35 years. I’m so grateful.
I’m so blessed. God has really watched over
me and I appreciate it.
>>Eric: Well, God bless you. That’s tremendous.
What an example. You could write a book right
there.
>>Jimmy: 35 years, we met when were kids,
she just turned 14, I was 16, something like
that, and tomorrow I’ll be more in love with
her then I am today. We have two beautiful
daughters, one’s going to be 27 in August,
she lives in Manhattan, she’s a photographer,
and her name is Brianne, and the other one’s
Lacie, she’s going to go University of Louisiana
as a junior this fall.
>>Eric: That’s tremendous. I’m going to take
a break and we’ll wrap it up and try and scoot
around the country in the different territories
that you worked and maybe some different anecdotes.
>>Jimmy: Alright, brother.
>>AFTER THE BREAK
>>Eric: Jimmy, one of my favorite questions,
that I like to ask guys, especially like yourself,
that were in the business that were constantly
on the road, a favorite story or stories,
ribs, what were your favorite ribs, that you
either saw or applied yourself or maybe were
the recipient?
>>Jimmy: There was an enormous amount of ribbing
back then. I think one of that sticks in my
mind, didn’t involve me, but it was one with
the Steiners. They were going down, I think
Interstate 20, they were getting ready to
pass Brian Pillman, God bless him as well,
and he was sleeping, like laying up against
the window in the backseat, with his head
catching some zzzz’s. And the Steiners pulled
up along side, without anyone seeing too much,
it happened so fast, and one of them climbed
out the window and opened the door on the
side that Pillman was sleeping on. He almost
fell into the Interstate.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: (Laughs) Which I guess wouldn’t have
been too darn funny.
>>Eric: No, no.
>>Jimmy: That kind of ribbing, that sticks
in my mind. The Freebirds did an awful lot
of ribbing. I remember one, in West Palm Beach,
the Briscos and I, we were going along the
road, and there used to be a lot of armadillos
hanging around by the side of the expressway.
So we stopped, got a towel, and ran one of
these armadillos down, and it was big armadillo.
We caught up him and put him in the trunk.
Then we brought him in the dressing room and
I think it was Bearcat Right, I’m almost positive
it was Bearcat Right, a black wrestler, had
stepped out of the room for a minute and so
we took the armadillo and put it in Bearcat’s
bag and zipped it up.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: The armadillo by now, he’d been the
towel for several hours, now he’s in Bearcat’s
bag, you could see when Bearcat came back
in the dressing room, you can see the top
of the zipper, it was one of those big hockey
bags, and it was kind of [moving] where the
armadillo was trying to get out and, of course,
Bearcat’s not paying attention, he’s telling
a story or something. So he reaches down and
unzips his bag all in one stroke, well, when
that armadillo seen light, it sprung straight
up. When Bearcat seen the armadillo jump out
of his bag, at the time, I don’t think he
knew exactly what it was, it hit the floor,
he hit the floor, the armadillo went one way,
he went the other way screaming like a little
girl.
>>Eric: (Laughs)
>>Jimmy: That was pretty funny.
>>Eric: That is a great story. It would seem,
as hot as you were throughout your career,
you would have at least been a natural fit
as some point for the WWF. Were there any
talks or negotiations in your career, past,
present, or whenever?
>>Jimmy: Well, in ’92, when I retired, as
I had planned to do when I was 26 years old,
I did get a call. Pat Patterson called me
and said, ‘Vince wants you to come up’
and get a load of this, he said, ‘Vince
wants you to come up and try out.’
>>Eric: What?
>>Jimmy: Yeah, that was the phrase. He wanted
me to try out.
>>Eric: That’s crazy.
>>Jimmy: So he flew me up to New York. Of
course, I thought, ‘Try out? I got something
you could try out.’ But I wanted to fly up
there and see the boys anyway and I had nothing
else to do, so I went on up there. I did an
interview with Gene Okerlund and it didn’t
feel comfortable at all. It felt so out of
place and it felt like I didn’t need to be
here. I didn’t speak more than ten words to
Vince, nothing against Vince, whatever he
does is his business, but I believe there
are people in this world that just don’t get
along, and I believe Vince and I are those
two. He never really cared much for me, and
I didn’t care much for him. They wanted to
change my name, I said no, that ain’t happening.
I just didn’t care, as usual.
>>Eric: If you had the entire library of film
to put on tape and DVD from your career, if
you could pick three matches to put on there,
for any reason at all, off the top of your
head, what three matches would they be?
>>Jimmy: The Hour Broadway with Harley Race
from Tampa, Florida, at Al Lopez Field. It
would be any match that I had with David Von
Erich. And it would be any match that I had,
it would be a toss up between Chris Adams
and Rick Martel.
>>Eric: Interesting. You’ve already talked
about why you retired, you had it in your
mind, what have you been doing since that
time?
>>Jimmy: I’m a commercial pilot. I started
flying when I was 19 years old. Sam Menacker
took me to a town in his airplane and I fell
in love with aviation. I flew throughout my
career. There were certain periods of time
when I was just too busy on the road, and
too wound up, and wasn’t in the right frame
of mind, to say the least, to be in airplane,
so I took a break from it. But it was always
in my mind that when I turned 40 to retire
and fly airplanes and play a little golf.
In ’86, when I came to Crockett’s territory,
I bought a 401, flew that around the country,
again building time, I had already accumulated
every rating that you could get from Federal
Aviation. On my birthday, when I quit, I had
a flight instruction job lined up; I went
into flight instruction. I did that for about
a year, then I flew freight for a couple years,
then I got on with the US Air express carrier
out of Charlotte. I flew jet stream for five
years, and then wanted to fly jets before
I really quit. I went to Midway, and flew
almost two years there, flying their regional
jet, the CL-65, which is a real nice piece
of equipment, state of the art stuff. Then
of course, after 9/11, they went under and
now I’m working with the sixth largest airline
in
the world, I’m a captain for them and I have
really wonderful job.
>>Eric: That’s tremendous. Jimmy, the hour
went by so fast. When you put out the next
DVD, I’d love to have you back.
>>Jimmy: I’d love to be back. I’d like to
thank everybody for all the years of support,
and, again, being so blessed, to be able to
live my dream in professional wrestling, I’m
just like an artist, I just needed a place
to paint, and that provided me that. And now
I’m living my dream in aviation. I’m so blessed
to have such a wonderful family, a wonderful
wife, and I’m thankful to God for everything.
>>Eric: Jimmy, all the best to you and your
family and we’ll be looking forward to having
you back sometime…Jimmy, thank you
very much.
>>Jimmy: Take care, Eric.

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