Monday, March 17, 2008

"Playboy" Gary Hart (1941-2008)

"Playboy" Gary Hart, manager of some of the most feared pro-wrestlers to ever step into the ring, died yesterday at the age of sixty-six. He was found dead in his Euless, Texas home by his son...no other information has been released yet. You can keep "Captain Lou" Albano, Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart, and even Bobby "The Brain" Heenan...for my money, the "Playboy" was the best wrestling manager ever. Having been "blessed" with a naturally menacing appearance and a tongue of pure silver, Gary Hart's niche in the business was serving as a mouthpiece for mute monsters such as The Great Kabuki, The Spoiler, The Missing Link, and Pak Song (pictured). However, my most indelible Gary Hart memories are of his longtime association with Abdullah The Butcher.

Gary Hart and Abdullah (pictured) were made for each other. Abdullah, now an Atlanta restauranteur, was the one wrestler that always scared the living crap out of me as a kid. On nights that Georgia Championship Wrestling came to town, my buddies and I used to stake out the parking lot of the local gym in Buford to watch the wrestlers arrive. It was always such a trip to watch Abdullah drive up in an ordinary compact car, gather up his gear, and then immediately get into character as soon as he spotted us. He would usually perform a judo thrust in our direction, accompanied with a menacing grunt...and we would run like hell.

As terrifying as he was, though, it was Gary Hart's microphone skills that took Abdullah to the next level. "Ladies and gentlemen...it's 'bout to get scary in heah...so hold tight to yah children's hands...'cause I'm 'bout to bring out...dah beast...dah remorseless creeee-chah....dah 'Mad Man from dah Soooo-dan!' Aaaaahb-doooooh-laaaah...dah....Booooooootchaaaah!"

So long, "Playboy." And thanks for the nightmares.

2 comments:

Herb Urban said...

The first time I saw The Playboy was during Chris Adams' legendary heel turn in WCCW. Classic stuff.

Gary Hart exuded an aura of realism that put so many of the heel managers in his day to shame. It is too bad heel managers no longer exist. Someone needs to help half the stiffs in the WWE cut a promo.

RIP Playboy. Thanks for the memories.

Mike-El said...

Gary Hart cut the single best manager promo I've ever seen: When The Spoiler was feuding with Mr. Wrestling #2 in GCW, he cut a PHENOMENAL promo about why The Spoiler chose to wear a mask. "He needs NOT the adulation of the masses or the media. He needs NOT the autograph-seekers...the back-slappers. The Spoiler's art is a dark art, practiced in glorious anonymity." All the while, The Spoiler just stood there with his arms crossed, occasionally nodding his approval. Just great, totally believable stuff.