Bobby Duncum was really your last big program with
Crockett. Describe your departure from the
Mid-Atlantic area in the spring of 1981.
Well, I tried to do that stupid Knoxville
thing…trying to be a promoter. I never did well in
promotion, and I’ll tell you a big reason why.
Anderson would pull those TBS tapes down on
everybody, and then Vince started to make his
(national) move. So, that killed all the little
places…there weren’t any good little places to
run anymore because they were throwing that big TV
over at them.
How were those last days with
Crocket Promotions in 1981?
It ended kind of badly.
Weaver and I were offered the book…
You mean right after George Scott was let go?
Yes…and it was kind of brutal to me.
Jimmy (Crockett) and George. When it comes to an end,
it’s like football. When you’re cut from a
football team, it’s cold. George got his notice,
and Jimmy wanted to do something else...and at the same
Jimmy’s talking out of both sides of his mouth---he
offers me the job and Johnny Weaver the job.
What was your response to that offer?
Out of respect to George Scott, I didn’t take
it. I could have made a fortune there. I would not
take that job, out of respect to George Scott.
And eventually Crockett brought Ole Anderson in
to take it?
Yes. Weaver was offered the South (portion of
the territory), and I was offered the North.
let Ole come in, and the wild man came in and took
over. And the rest is history…
I get the sense you and Ole weren’t best
Ole and I had some problems. But listen, we were
so much alike in our beliefs…that we couldn’t
coexist. But, he loved the political intrigue of
this business…and I didn’t. Let’s tell it like
it is. That was our big difference.
as far as having a mind of how to run this
business---he had it. He was a tough character.
But as I recall in 1981, about the time Ole came
in was about the time we didn’t see you around
As far as Ole and me…we didn’t jive
together. We had our differences…those things come
down in the reality of life. But that’s
okay…that’s all right. He’s a tough guy, but I
was about two tenths tougher. That’s just the way
no knock toward him, buddy. He knew what he was
doing. He did the TBS thing. He was a great booker
and a hard worker…don’t ever take that away from
him. He had some good breaks, but he also had some
tough breaks in his life.
Well, by that time in your career you knew the
territory inside out…better than Ole. And you were
still drawing money with your own programs. Heck,
only your loyalty to George Scott kept YOU from
being the booker!
, back then you got a percentage of the gate, and I
always made a lot of my own decisions…
Because you sort of ‘did your own thing,’
did that make some bookers leery of you?
They never wanted to relinquish the Title to me,
because they didn’t know if I would take it away
or relinquish it…after some of the things I did in
my career! On any given night, I might relinquish
it…and on any given night I might not! (laughs)
played with them a lot, you know? Overall, the whole
thing worked good for me, but with promoters it was
a hard time with them sometimes…
But you always drew money for them…
NEVER did they ever lose a dime on me. And that
was the whole idea…to make money in this business!
This may be a bit of an unfair
question…because I’m asking you to essentially
put yourself in other people’s heads. But how do
you believe others in the business perceived you?
(pauses) Probably as a bit of a hard character.
I didn’t have anything to prove to anybody. I did
everything that I wanted to do. I was a pro football
player…so I’d already proved myself as to what I
guys that got into this business, I won’t mention
any names, came through the back door and really
couldn’t measure up. There was a group of us, that
really didn’t acknowledge them. And when it came
down to doing things for them…well, we wouldn’t
I guess there are different cliques in every
You had to earn your way…the old school.
Jack Brisco’s, the Dory Funk’s and the Harley
Race’s. Boy, you had to earn that respect. And
that’s the hard school there, that I didn’t
make…those were the real tough guys.
After you finished your major run in the
Mid-Atlantic area in 1981, your career was far from
I had so many opportunities after that…my
career didn’t end after Mid-Atlantic. After I left
Mid-Atlantic, I toured the whole world. I had a
little run in Florida…even in my old age I got to
pop Florida---which really nobody had done in those
You actually came back to Charlotte in late 1981
and early 1982 and teamed with your son Barry, then
referred to as Blackjack Mulligan, Jr. Tell us about
Yeah, Barry on his way…coming into his own…
Why didn’t that little run last longer?
I kind of let him grow, and didn’t want to
hold him back. Barry was the last old school trained
wrestler…after him, there were no more. Barry was
Jack Brisco, Harley Race trained.
How is Barry doing these days?
. He’s down here in Florida with me.
Now, tell us some more about that great run down
in Florida with Dusty in the early 80s. This was in
the time frame before Dusty came to Crockett in
Dusty…when I came down [to Florida] on
vacation…I’m pushing 46-47 at that time, and at
the end of my career. I told him, I said, ‘Hey, I
don’t want to work here, I’m on vacation…give
me a guarantee.’ And they gave it to me! I was the
only guy to get a guarantee in Florida, and I’m in
my old age! (laughs)
So, then I had a three year run in Florida…and
it was phenomenal!
Rhodes and I and JJ Dillon cut and coined some of
the greatest takes…very similar to the ones that I
cut in Charlotte. Dusty let us have free reign as
far as cutting takes. We cut some of the greatest
promos then, that were EVER made in the U.S.
You’d have to go a ways to top the promo work
you did in the Mid-Atlantic area!
They were very equal,
. I mean, we ran JJ Dillon off in the woods with a
Flair was the Champion, he had become the World
Champion then…‘Mr. Hotshot.’ We ran him off in
the woods and tore his clothes off of him!
(laughing) Sounds like you had a great time
during that early 80s run in Florida…
And during that time, I was given an
opportunity. Dusty came to me and said, ‘We’re
going to Charlotte. You’re leaving with me, of
course. Blackjack gets another run.’
This would have been later in 1983 or in 1984…
I’m the one that told Dusty to get the
(Mid-Atlantic booking) job up in Charlotte…sent
him there. He took the job, and wanted me to come
back with him.
pause) Destiny stepped in…I wish I had [gone back
to Charlotte]. Looking back, in retrospect, I should
have come back to Charlotte. Because, even as old
and fat as I was…I was too heavy…I could have
rode with those guys. With Dusty Rhodes’
routine…me and him…we could have popped anything
for 15-20 minutes. And then give us oxygen at the
at that time, I had also become a real estate tycoon
in Florida. As destiny would have it, that would
eventually become the low point in my life.
Blackjack, we’ll talk in detail about the
legal issues that arose from your business ventures
shortly. But even though you didn’t return to
Charlotte full time with Dusty in 1984, you did make
one final appearance in the Mid-Atlantic area during
the late summer of 1984.
mention some of the great takes you did in Florida
around that time. One that ran up here, and people
still talk about, is when Flair came down to the
swamp in Florida to try to convince you to come back
to the Mid-Atlantic area to be his partner. You and
Dusty and some other guys are sitting around the
campfire, and Flair comes in there with a suit after
walking through three miles of mud to get to you!
That’s right. (pauses) Oh…yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah! That’s one of (those Florida vignettes)!
happened was, I wound up in New York doing TV after
that stint. I tell you what happened
…boy, you’ve really, really got my memory going
worked a show with Wahoo McDaniel in Wilmington at
the ball field there…
And in a reversal then, Wahoo was the heel and you
were the babyface.
Right! Wahoo hits me with a chop, and I grabbed
my stomach. I thought something had ruptured. So, we
ended the match real quickly. This is at the end of
the summer in ’84, and I go back to this little
dressing room…actually it was a football field,
that’s where it was.
and Barry (Windham) were in there, and Barry said,
‘Why don’t you come and ride back to
Charlotte.’ I said, ‘No guys, I have a plane
ticket to go back to Tampa.’ I was supposed to do
some more stuff…come on back in.
What was the nature of the injury that occurred
Well, what had happened, was that I had a gall
bladder attack. (laughs) When the Chief hit me, he
knocked some of those gallstones around! I ended up
having to be rushed to the emergency room.
knows these stories,
, you’re the first!
It’s great! (pauses) I don’t mean your gall
bladder attack was great! (laughs)
(laughs) I know! Anyway, they rushed me to the
hospital in Charlotte…and gave me some pain
medicine, but they said at the ER, ‘Let’s get
him back to Tampa.’ They flew me to Tampa, and
rushed me to the hospital there. They had to take my
gall bladder out.
Yeah…I was definitely down for a while. And
that killed anything that Dusty and I had going in
We never saw you back in
Crockett Promotions after that.
Now…listen to this. Boy, I haven’t talked
about this in years...how destiny steps in! This is
…how it’s almost in reverse.
have a gall bladder attack, and go back to Tampa to
have surgery. And that kind of kills my deal with
Dusty. (pauses) Then…George Scott becomes the
booker in New York!
That’s right! (everybody laughs)
Man, this is getting my memory going again!
So…then George calls me! He says, ‘You need to
get your tail up here!’ I said, ‘George, I’ve
got a scar about 15 inches long right down the
middle of me.’ He said, ‘I don’t care. I’ll
bring you in.’
was giddy…I was back in my prime now!
What did George want to do with you?
George said, ‘We’ll bring you in and do
Mulligan’s Barbeque. Roddy Piper is in and you can
do TV…we’ll find a good slot for you and make
you big bucks.’
said, ‘Come on, you don’t mean that.’ He said,
‘Bring it on!’
I go up there…with another George Scott guarantee!
What a difference nine years makes! In 1984,
George Scott lures you away from Crockett to New
York. In 1975, Scott lured you from New York to
(laughing) And again, I’m rolling up there in
…the fire was gone. The fire was gone.
gave my notice real quick, and Vince, Jr. and I had
a couple of words. Vince and I are out in Tucson,
and we’re doing MTV, and the business is starting
to make its great change…
That’s right…at that time Vince was pushing
‘Rock and Wrestling.’
It was like, ‘My God…déjà vu.’ I used to
hear from Butcher Vachon and Maurice (Vachon), how
me and Dusty were killing the business with all our
‘BS’ and all that. But the business was
changing…it was evolving.
I assume Vince was trying to sell you on this
new type of wrestling?
I told Vince I was going to leave. I said,
‘Look…I’m gonna move along and do my thing.’
Little did I know that shortly after…disaster
You mean your legal problems several years
Yes. But after I give my notice to Vince, he
calls me on the phone.
…if you would have heard this conversation…it
almost sounded like two homosexual guys talking on
the phone. It probably would have sounded something
like that to someone from the outside, who didn’t
know that the call was actually about professional
wrestling! I mean, we really did care for each
other…it was really a strange conversation. (laughs)
said, ‘You can’t leave me…what are you doing
leaving me? You can’t walk out on me?’
(everybody laughs) I said, ‘I never walked out on
you.’ Then he said, ‘You walked out on my
It sounds like he wouldn’t take your notice,
just like his Dad wouldn’t in 1975!
I said, ‘I’m finished Vince. I don’t want
to do this anymore.
’t you get me? I don’t want to do it anymore.’
He said, ‘You’ll regret this for the rest of
your life. I’ll give you $500 a day just to be
here, I’ll put you up in a hotel room…you
don’t have to do anything.’
Vince wanted somebody there to keep him in
touch…keep his feet on the ground. He was losing
touch with reality in a wrestling sense…he was
losing touch with the old school. He was fixing to
make this big leap into the ‘Rock and Wrestling’
Well, Blackjack, he probably DID need you then!
He wanted to keep me around to do that. But I
said, ‘I’m gone…I can’t take this anymore.
This MTV stuff you’re into…I’m not into
(laughing) No…I don’t see MTV and Blackjack
Mulligan as a match made in heaven!
Vince got mad one time because I wouldn’t do a
Wolfe interview for MTV. They had all that stuff set
up…it was a big production and all. I said,
‘Blackjack Mulligan’s not gonna do that.’ He
said I was hardheaded.
‘Hardheaded,’ because you wouldn’t do the
interview…or because you weren’t into this
‘Rock and Wrestling’ stuff?
Vince said, ‘You know, this business is going
to change…come with me on it. Come with me, come
with me, come with me. The bigger fool I’ll let
you make of yourself, the more money you’ll
make…and you’ll make more money than you can
ever, ever imagine.’
said, ‘No Vinny…I’m leaving you. I’m
gone.’ I never attained the prominence there that
I had before…but they really loved me in New York.
that was basically it for me in New York, though I
did have a little final run up there a year or so
When you left ‘Rock and Wrestling,’ you went
back to Florida? This would have been 1985, I guess?
Went back to Florida, and that’s when I really
got into the real estate thing.
I believe you wrestled some with your son,
Kendall Windham, during that last run in Florida in
I was in there with Kevin Sullivan then, and I
, we went too far with some of that stuff…
You mean that ‘devil’ stuff with Sullivan?
Yeah. Florida had pretty much been burned out by
then, and we were grasping at straws to make things
work. Kevin hit me in the head with a Coke bottle on
TV…split me open all the way across my forehead.
Actually split it. And I ended the program
then…you can’t do that.
, we had demonic things going on at the matches.
Burning cars in the parking lot…it was just
totally out of hand. But the territory had totally
burned after Dusty left…I guess, how do you follow
Sullivan was the booker?
Kevin was one of my bookers…one of my guys. We
just went too far. Hey…I was equally to blame for
that stuff---we went too far with that.
here we had an old-timer, over the hill…and a kid,
wild booker, trying to draw money. And we did with
it some, you know.
And when you left there…you were back in the
WWF in 1986-87. I remember you were the masked
“Big Machine” for a little bit…with fellow
“Machines” Bill Eadie and Andre the Giant. I
guess that WWF stint from 1986 into early 1987 was
your last major in-ring run in wrestling?
Yes, I went back to New York that last time. Now
, this may be sad to you but it wasn’t to
me…after 20 some years in the business I get in
the ring one day and I said, ‘What am I doing
here…I’m making so much money in the real estate
business. It’s really time to exit. Let’s exit
stage left on top…semi on top.’
Earlier, you mentioned how the real estate
ventures you got involved in became the low point of
many may know, after your last run in New York, you
ran into trouble with the law, which led to a
federal counterfeiting conviction and subsequent
prison sentence in the early 90s. Tell us about your
life in the late 80s and early 90s.
, you’re an attorney, right?
Okay…you’ll probably understand something
like this better than most. I get knocked a lot
about this…but Jack’s fine. Jack’s fine.
was in business with four or five attorneys. We were
doing all kinds of real estate…shopping centers,
all kinds of stuff.
You made a lot of money?
I became very, very wealthy. But I outstretched
myself, and got in a bind. And then I did something
real, real rash. I did something really stupid and
crazy…me and four attorneys did.