Chappell: After that stint
for McGuirk, did you come back to
Humperdink: Later in ’76,
we came back into Florida and were
around awhile. Then Buddy and
Jerry got a deal with Nick Gulas
in Tennessee. But Gulas didn’t
want a manager…so we agreed to
split up there. Buddy and Jerry
went to Tennessee, and I stayed in
Chappell: Now, weren’t you
hooked up with Superstar Billy
Graham in Florida as well?
Humperdink: I was. That was
the time period I took over Billy
Graham and Ox Baker.
Chappell: Now, this was
later still while you were in
Florida…but didn’t you attack the
legendary announcer Gordon Solie
at some point?
Humperdink: (laughs) Right,
I did. You know, I have a video
tape of that which somebody sent
Chappell: What possessed
you to attack Gordon? That’s like
attacking the Pope…especially in
Humperdink: (laughs) What
the deal was, is that I was
managing Don Muraco and Mr. Saito,
and maybe a couple of other guys,
because I always had the House of
Humperdink. I’d manage half the
Chappell: That’s right.
Humperdink: I just wish
they would have paid me by the
mile back then!
Humperdink: But anyway, we
had Muraco and Saito…and we
invited the press down one day to
watch a workout. You know, of how
I got these guys in shape, and
their dedication…that kind of
Back then, Florida was a very,
very straight territory…there was
no comedic stuff. It was all very
serious stuff. So, this was a film
feature, they came out and filmed
it, with me in the ring with
Muraco and Saito. It was a drill,
with the guys bridging…one guy
sittin’ on the other guy’s stomach
and the other guy bridging. You
know, a legit workout.
Chappell: Yep, sure sounds
Humperdink: So, the story
went, one of the guys left, then I
called off the public workout. I
said, ‘That’s it, you see what’s
goin’ on here, you guys better
watch out because Muraco and Saito
are comin’ and this workout is
So the story went, that one of the
camera guys had left a light meter
or something in the workout area
and came back to retrieve it. And
he just happened to have his
camera running, and caught Muraco
working on the very dangerous
Chappell: (laughs) Uh oh.
Humperdink: And of course
they filmed that. I discovered the
guy in there with the camera and
went ballistic and said, ‘YOU
BETTER GET OUTTA HERE AND NEVER
COME BACK---HOW DARE YOU!!’
Chappell: (laughs) Well,
you DID say the workout was over!
Humperdink: On the first
part of the ‘Championship
Wrestling from Florida’ show,
Gordon introduces the workout, the
regular part, and they run through
that and come back to the desk.
And you know, the last thing I
said was, ‘you guys better watch
out because Muraco and Saito are
comin’ and this workout is
A little bit later on in the
program Gordon says, ‘Well, you
thought that was all, but there’s
something else that we’ve decided
to show that’s not going to make
these guys very happy. But we’re
going to show it anyway’
Chappell: Ah, the extra
forbidden footage on Muraco’s very
Humperdink: Yeah, they
showed the part with the guy going
back looking for the light
meter…and where he discovers
Muraco doing the piledriver. So
after they do that, I come out
ranting and raving and so livid
that I snatched and grabbed Gordon
up from out of the chair and was
shaking him…but I didn’t hit him
or anything. Still, nobody put
their hands on Gordon!
Chappell: If anybody was
off limits, he was!
What was the backlash from that?
Humperdink: Oh, people were
irate that it happened. Back then,
he was like a God.
Chappell: Without question.
Humperdink: I read on a
message board recently where a guy
was talking about seeing that as a
kid, and he said he remembered
after that happened that was all
they were talking about in school!
Chappell: I can believe it!
Your incident with Gordon occurred
pretty close in time I believe to
a deal in Mid-Atlantic during
1980, when Greg Valentine and Ray
Stevens attacked announcer David
Crockett…again because David was
going to show some film that
Valentine and Stevens didn’t want
shown to the TV audience. Sounds
Humperdink: Back then, they
borrowed a lot of stuff. Promoters
would talk to each other. If it
worked somewhere, there was no
reason that bit wouldn’t work
Chappell: Those two
incidents with the TV announcers
sure sound an awful lot alike.
Humperdink: Another angle I
did down there was the cigar in
the eye angle…
Chappell: Oh really?
Humperdink: Which Malenko
Chappell: That was a huge
one up here for Crockett.
Humperdink: I think they
did it first, but I did it with
Paul Jones and Scott Irwin.
Chappell: The one here was
in 1977 with (Masked Superstar)
Bill Eadie and The Mighty Igor…it
was a huge program. They went
round and round for the better
part of a year with that. They did
some tremendous business with that
Humperdink: With mine, Paul
Jones was Mr. Florida and Scott
Irwin was the Super Destroyer. And
we did a very similar thing with
them on television.
Chappell: When did that
happen, Sir Oliver?
Humperdink: I’m not very
good with dates, but I think
1980ish. We had the blow off match
for that in the ‘Last Tango In
Chappell: I bet you’re
exactly right with that being in
1980, because Paul Jones left
Crockett for four or five months
during 1980. I remember when he
first came back to the
Mid-Atlantic area, Paul said he
flew up from Florida and that he
was so ashamed of the way he had
acted here before he left, that he
put a mask on his head in Florida.
How did the cigar in the eye angle
in Florida play out?
Humperdink: I was managing
Scott Irwin at the time. This
thing went on for weeks and weeks
and weeks. Nothing like you see
Chappell: Isn’t that the
Humperdink: I’d go out with
Scott, he’d win the match and I’d
light up a victory cigar. They’d
show me down in the corner of the
TV screen lighting up the victory
cigar. Every time he won, I’d
light up the victory cigar!
Oliver Humperdink lights his
Chappell: (laughs) That
sounds REALLY familiar, Sir
Oliver! I know where you got that
Humperdink: There you go!
Yeah, we set that up week after
week after week. And finally we
did the thing…it looked like Super
D. had Jones beat, and I was up on
the apron lighting the cigar,
turned around and something
happened where Jones got out of
the predicament somehow and came
over and nailed me. When he nailed
me, I took a bump and threw the
cigar in the ring. Scott picked it
up, and Jones had turned around
and was charging at Scott. Scott
just sort of held the cigar in his
Chappell: Paul sort of ran
right into it?
didn’t want it to be so overt, so
as to actually stick it in his
eye. We wanted to make it look as
accidental as possible.
The people, of course, were going
to believe it was an intentional
act! We didn’t want to make it
look that way. Because you
couldn’t do violent stuff like
Chappell: That’s exactly
the way the angle with Igor and
Superstar played out in the
Carolinas. Superstar and Malenko
vehemently argued that it was all
an accident. I’m assuming that was
your and the Super D’s defense as
Humperdink: Oh yeah,
absolutely, it was an accident! We
went all around with that.
Chappell: Very interesting
that you all played off the
Superstar-Igor thing! Of course, I
doubt very seriously that Malenko,
or somebody, hadn’t used the same
type angle sometime even earlier!
Humperdink: There was quite
a lot of crossover stuff.
Promoters talked to each other,
and people moved around.
Chappell: Didn’t hurt that
back then there was no satellite
TV or Internet, so that when these
things were duplicated it all
seemed fresh to the new audience.
Humperdink: Very true.
Funny thing, though, you know the
Florida TV show ran up your way
Chappell: That’s absolutely
right. I don’t think it ever got
up into Virginia, but it ran some
places in North Carolina…and
apparently went way back in time.
I find that really amazing.
But even without access to the
Florida TV show, I had read about
you in the Apter magazines…and it
was a big deal when you entered
the Mid-Atlantic area.
Humperdink: You knew I was
going to be up to no good!
Chappell: (laughing) Yeah,
pretty much so! But at the same
time, it was great because
Crockett hadn’t been emphasizing
managers for a number of years…and
you would definitely change that!
I’m interested, when you came in
during the middle of 1982, had you
ever considered coming to the
Mid-Atlantic area earlier?
Humperdink: No…I don’t
Chappell: When you first
arrived in the Mid-Atlantic area,
what were your initial
Humperdink: I was struck by
the size of the
territory…Virginia, North and
South Carolina and part of
Tennessee. I think that was my
first impression…how big it was!
Chappell: (laughs) How did
you come into the area? Can you
give the folks a feel for that?
Humperdink: You know,
David, I can’t remember that
exactly. I’m trying my best to
remember. I think I came in cold,
and I think I opened with (Greg)
Valentine pretty quickly.
Chappell: I was thinking
along the lines of your initial
back and forth with Jimmy
Crockett, that kind of thing…
Humperdink: Oh, oh, I see.
I think (Dory Funk) Jr. was
booking then…and I think I might
have called him. No, it actually
was Ole Anderson booking…I think
he was on his way out. I might
have called Valentine as well
before I came in.
Chappell: Did you have much
contact with Jim Crockett, Jr.
right off the bat?
Humperdink: Oh, I saw him
all the time.
Chappell: What were your
impressions of Jimmy?
Humperdink: I thought Jimmy
was a class act.
Chappell: I guess I’ve
gotten a mixed response to that
question in some of other my
Humperdink: For me, Jimmy
was a class act. I don’t have
anything bad to say about Jim
Jackie was my favorite…
Chappell: Of the
Humperdink: Yes…Jackie was
more like the boys. Jim was the
Chappell: Good point. I
think a relationship with the boss
is always a little bit
Was the territory good from a
Humperdink: Yes it was…I
enjoyed it, it was kinda hot. We
were doing well. But it was a
tough place, we worked two times
on Sunday’s and all that…
Chappell: Tell us a little
about the travel involved, Sir
Humperdink: It changed
during the times I worked for
Crockett. The first time I was in,
of course Crockett wasn’t tied
into TBS and didn’t have the
Chappell: Right, you had a
second stint with Jim Crockett
Promotions just before the
promotion was bought by Turner…I’m
sure things had changed a lot by
But taking you back, what did you
think when you saw that tiny
little TV studio you had to work
out of in Charlotte?
Channel 36…that was tight, you
know? But we produced some pretty
good television from there!
Humperdink: The station was
way out there, too…like in a cow
Humperdink: The first time
I went to that television station
was with Valentine, and as we were
riding, it got to the point where
we weren’t seeing any houses
anymore. I asked Greg, ‘Where the
heck are you taking me??’
Humperdink: Very rural, and
there was nothing else around. And
then all of a sudden, off in the
distance, you’d see the tower. I’m
thinking, ‘My gosh, this thing is
in the middle of a cow pasture!’
And it was…literally.
Chappell: And on the
inside, it wasn’t much better. The
studio was so small, they couldn’t
even get the ring in there
straight. It looked horrible.
Humperdink: It’s remarkable
what we were able to do in there.
Why did they move out of (WRAL TV
Chappell: You know, Sir
Oliver, I’ve talked to a number of
people that were around at the
time of the move from Raleigh to
Charlotte, and nobody seems to
know definitely the reason for the
move. The only thing that was
certain, was that the
considerably from Raleigh to
Chappell: Now a couple of
weeks before you left the
territory in July of ‘83, didn’t
they start taping the shows from a
Humperdink: Yep…I was right
on the cusp of that changeover.
Chappell: And they never
went back to the studio after
that…at least when the promotion
was strictly Mid-Atlantic
But the last TV show or two you
were on in 1983 was from a remote
Humperdink: It was. Yes, I
think they did them from Anderson,
South Carolina or some place like
Chappell: Taking you back
to your first TV appearance in the
Mid-Atlantic area, I found an
audio tape of mine where you show
up for the first time on the set
of the Mid-Atlantic television
Chappell: Yes…by chance, do
you have any recollection of that
show in June of 1982?
Humperdink: No, truthfully,
I really don’t!
Chappell: I can certainly
see why…it was only about 23 years
Chappell: And I have the
benefit of having an audio tape!
It was kind of funny…apparently
you came out unannounced, and they
had a match going on with Bob
Caudle doing the announcing. It
was tag team match with Ivan
Koloff and the Ninja teaming up.
You were there in their corner,
but they hadn’t announced who you
were and why you were there.
Eventually, you came over to Bob
Caudle during the match…and Bob
said he wanted to find out who
this ‘gentleman’ was, Bob called
you a gentleman, and why you were
over there in the corner with
Humperdink: This is great!
Chappell: (laughs) Now Bob
told me they didn’t tell him much
ahead of time as to what was going
to happen, so he was probably
legitimately surprised to see you
At any rate, I copied down your
first words uttered in the
Mid-Atlantic area…when you
responded to Bob Caudle. Would you
like to hear them?
Chappell: Here goes:
‘Who this gentleman is, is Sir
Oliver Humperdink, and I’m the
greatest wrestling manager in the
world today. And what I’m doing
here, my friend, is looking out
for the interests of a couple of
the finest athletes that I’ve had
the privilege of being associated
with in many years. I’m talking
about the Russian Bear Ivan
Koloff, but in particular, the
great mystifying Ninja.
‘If you think there’s been trouble
before…wherever I’ve appeared in
the past Mr. TV Announcer, one
thing has followed. And that’s
pandemonium and total wreckage,
and I’m here to do exactly that.’
David…what a way to start in the
Chappell: I think it’s fair
to say that you lived up to all of
Humperdink: You know, Ninja
was Mr. Pogo.
Ninja with Sir Oliver Humperdink
Chappell: That’s right.
Humperdink: I think Gene
Anderson was with him before that?
Chappell: I remember Ninja
and Gene being together around
that same time period, sure do.
Humperdink: I seem to
remember doing some stuff with
Greg Valentine, when I first came
Chappell: Yes, the next
audio tape I have in sequence has
you coming on and doing commentary
with Bob, and Greg is wrestling at
the time. I think Greg had just
come back to the territory after
having been in New York.
You said you were scouting the
talent in this new territory. You
came off very well…you obviously
knew what you were talking about.
And you were saying things about
Greg being previously in the
Mid-Atlantic area, so you were
obviously a student of the game so
to speak. Because you wouldn’t
have known those things by having
been here previously yourself, as
obviously you had just arrived on
the scene for the first time.
Humperdink: It’s very cool
hearing all this, David.
Chappell: What I remember
most about your first TV
appearances, was that you didn’t
come off as the yelling
over-crazed maniacal manager.
While you were a heel without
question, you came off as super
intelligent, you knew all the
talent and had a ton of knowledge
about their past and backgrounds.
So, that’s the way they pushed you
here at the outset. And certainly
that was just you being you…but I
think it clicked for you here
Humperdink: Again, back
then, we took the time to try and
tell the story. If you have the
brains, and are given the time,
you can get about anything or
Chappell: Sir Oliver, I
also remember on one of those
early shows right after you came
in, they had Paul Jones come on TV
and put you over. Paul was a
babyface at the time, and it was
pretty significant for the fans
for him to come out and put a heel
manager over! He mentioned
Florida, and how dominating you
were down there.
The promotion also had Jake
Roberts do the same thing early in
your stint. Jake was a babyface
then as well.
So, that’s the way they got you
over during your first month or
so. And then you really took off!
Humperdink: Cool! That’s a
great way to get somebody over…to
have the babyfaces talk good about
Chappell: Ninja and Koloff
were really the first two guys you
started managing when you first
Humperdink: That’s right.