Dartmouth’s Lincoln Park Ballroom and WWWF Wrestling
And then there was my professional wrestling phase.
Before Hulk Hogan, Rick Flair, and The Undertaker, professional wrestling packed them in at the Lincoln Park Ballroom in Dartmouth. The World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) – the precursor to today's World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – was a big thing in the 1960s and '70s. Bouts were televised on Saturday afternoons featuring all of the same wrestlers who would appear at Lincoln Park.
As kids, we ate it up.
By the early 1970s, professional wrestling lost my attention and my devotion. I moved on to other things. While it had me, though, it had me good.
My buddies and I would wrestle on an old mattress in the basement. We had all the moves down. Of course, we thought it was real back then – sort of, anyway. My friend's dad took us to the Boston Garden to see a steel cage match. That was the big time.
During my short stint as a wrestling devotee, it seems our hero Pedro Morales was always the champion. There was no shortage of villains looking to strip Pedro of his belt.
Chief Jay Strongbow, Haystacks Calhoun, Gorilla Monsoon, and Bruno Sammartino were among the babyfaces (wrestling terminology for good guys) that I can remember. Fred Blassie, "Crazy" Luke Graham, Mr. Fuji and Tanaka, and mischievous managers "Captain" Lou Albano (who sometimes wrestled) and the Grand Wizard of Wrestling were among the heels (the bad guys).
I was sad to read that Chief Jay Strongbow, my favorite, passed away in 2012 and Pedro Morales in 2019. Lou Albano died in 2009.
Lincoln Park also featured female wrestlers, including the Fabulous Moolah, who died in 2007, and what they then called "midget" wrestlers, such as Sky Low Low, Little Tokyo, and Little Beaver. Vince McMahon was always lurking nearby, too.
My friends and I collected autographs outside the dressing room door and the black-and-white glossies of the wrestlers. It was odd seeing good and bad guy wrestlers sharing the same dressing room and the Grand Wizard hawking tickets at the door, but what the heck?
The WWWF has evolved over the years, and so have I. Lincoln Park is gone, and so is the ballroom. Did you see wrestling matches at Lincoln Park back in the day? Who were some of your favorite wrestlers back then?