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March 4, 2011

The Wrestling Books of Dale Pierce by Justin Ryan

Picture sent in by Dale Pierce

Quick Highlights

---Debut: 1979

---Movies: Museo Taurino, The Monster within, Zelot

JR: You have been a wrestler and wrestling manager for many years, but many people who see you in this function do not realize your writing skills.

DP: I do not mix the two in interviews. If you wish to speak about my wrestling role we will talk only about that and if you wish to focus on me as Dale Pierce the writer we do that, but the two never criss-cross. Sorry. So which is it?

JR: : We will go with writing?

DP: Fine then.

JR: You were a staff writer for the magazines for the late Lew Eskin for many years and also a contributor to Wrestling World and Wrestling Eye.

DP: Yes, but I did much more writing before that. In 1977, right out of high school, is old my first book, a western novel not connected with wrestling called The Wind Blows Death.

JR: Your first book was a small thing called Riot At The Garden.

DP: Yes. I printed it in a limited run in 1980 to sell at Indy matches in Phoenix once the old Garden (Phoenix Madison Square Garden) closed. I let other people make second and third printings of it, but now it is very hard to find. The booklet dealt with a feud at the old arena between The Comancheros and Ben Justice and Pancho Pico. I just wish some of this survived on TV tape, but it does not. This was circa 1971 that the matches took place.

JR: Is it true someone got killed in the ring in that arena?

DP: Yes. A man named Jim Wright.

JR: Many great names once wrestled there?

DP: Yes, including many not associated commonly with the west.

JR: Could you name some of them?

DP: How much time do you have? Woody Farmer, Cowboy Bob Ellis, Bobby Mayne (Jaggers), Afa and Sika, Kurt Von Steiger, The Comancheros, Tito Montez, Luis Martinez, Don Kent, Ray Gordon, Dick Hutton, Tokyo Joe, Carnera, Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Argentina Rocca, Gorgeous George, Len Rossi, Dick Dunn, Brother Frank Jares and Brother Jonathan, Londos, Mr. Wrestling, Bobby Pico, Jack Ringer, John Ringer, Jose Lothario, Gory Guerrero, Flama Roja, Ann Casey, Mildred Burke, Eddie Sullivan, Don Arnold, Jody Arnold, Phil Melby, Mike Gordon, Karl Von Brock, Charlie Kalani (Toru Tanaka), Duke Keomuka, Ricky Romero, Jerry Graham, John Tolos, Logger Larson, Chuck Karbo, Fred Blassie, Don Fargo, Armon Hussein, Bill Sledge, Mongol Lu Kimm, Shirley Stemple, Ron Pritchard, Bob Lueck, The Spoiler, El Mustang, Wild Red Berry, Gorilla Ramos, Gray Mask, Frank Hickey, Mike Mazurki, Bull Montana, Omar Atlas, Don Curtis, Dory Funk Sr., The Medics, Two Ton Harris, The Assassins, Hercules Stevenson, The Lumberjacks, Pedro El Grande, Bob Yuma, Rose Evans, Killer Kane, Johnny Mann, Eddie Lopez, Jane Sherrill, Ed Blair, Lord Carlton, Kangaroo Bob Karson, Pat Patterson, Man Mountain Mike, Haystacks Calhoun, Bearcat Wright. I could go on and on. Plus the arena held boxing, evangelical crusades, concerts and more. Johnny Cash played there, as did many others. There was also a really weird evangelist named William Branham who claimed he could talk to angels and packed in the people, as did an evangelist named AA Allen, who spoke of the evils of alcohol and such, but reported died via alcoholic poisoning in a crummy Arizona hotel.

JR: Play Me The Song Of Death also had wrestlers in it.

DP: Yes. It is available in Spanish as Tocame La Cancion de la Muerte and was released in French as Le Sang Du matador and you may still find copies out there and in libraries. I have a few remaining English versions I sell at book signings. People interested in it may contact me direct at d_pierce17@yahoo.com

JR: It is not truly a wrestling book

DP: No. It is a horror story set in Spain where a group of Americans end up renting a haunted house and then end up dying. Two characters are a wrestler and his manager and both die violently. One is beaten to oblivion with a candle stick by a killer in a bullfighting costume and another gets a picador’s pike in the next, which is a tool used in bullfighting. The plot is not something you see every day.

JR: In 1991 you did Wild West Characters which aimed at Wild West legends, yet included old time wrestlers like Londos, Beel and the like.

DP: The book has a twenty year run, then the sons fo the publishers took over and decided to make Golden West Publishers strictly a cookbook publishing company and screwed the authors who made them famous like you wouldn’t believe. I may reissue this myself later on. You can still find copies in libraries and on line shops or in some used book stores.

JR: Then before the discovery of books on demand through LULU, you contributed to many magazines and some books.

DP: There are some quotes by me on the Chris Colt chapter in The Heels and a bio of me in Theater In A Squared Circle by other authors, to name a few.

JR: Now the many things you have done on LULU.

DP: This place is a Godsend for both fiction and nonfiction and I have had several things out through them. Ordering is safe and easy. It has changed the face of publishing.

JR: The Garden Will Not Die

DP: The story of the Phoenix Madison Square Garden in a gigantic book and much more detailed than Riot was. Mentions bios of all those names I listed before who appeared there, plus several regional names who were content just to stick to the area. Bios of all the names I listed in that one question before, but many more also. Ordering info at http://www.lulu.com/content/4928869!

JR: This Saturday Night At the Akron Armory.

DP: Another book of bios and history pertaining to another arena that has fallen. Orders at http://www.lulu.com/content/5132784! for orders.

JR: What wrestlers are featured?

DP: The bulk of those who appeared at this arena from the 1950s through 1970s. Lou Albano, George Steele, Sheik, Abdullah the Butcher, Greg Valentine, Johnny Valentine, Victor , Don Kent, Von Hess and Shotz, Bulldog Brower, Chris Colt, Eric The Red, Sue Green, Tony Marino, Tony Parisi, Dom Denucci, Mike Loren, Bill Miller, Danny Miller, Heather Feather, Ellie Ellis, Bob Ellis, Love Brothers, Lanny Poffo, Al Costello, George Cannon, Buddy Rogers, Hans Schmidt, Primo Carnera, White Owl, Igor, Ben Justice, The Mongols, Bill Bethune, Crusher Verdu, Kay Casey, Paula Kaye, The Stomper, Bob Brazil, Hank James, Don Red Cloud and many more.

JR: From A Dark & Murky Place.

DP: Back to horror fiction. http://www.lulu.com/content/4904503! for orders. Includes a short story called The House With The Black carpet, about a killer who picks up ring rats (groupies) pretending to be a wrestler and kills them.

JR: Also Tales From The Cemetery On The Hill

DP: Yes at http://www.lulu.com/content/5099181! which ahs a very dark tale called They’re Tearing Down Joe Finn’s Arena, about a former wrestler with a load of baggage on his mind, including killing a man in the ring.

JR: Dale’s Tales

DP: Loads of reflections and stories from my life and a good number of wrestling material at http://www.lulu.com/content/8243544!

JR: The Last Bell Call

DP: A burial guide with brief bios containing grave locations or cremation info on deceased wrestlers,. Many names but also several lesser known not given their due before this book. http://www.lulu.com/content/8183756!

JR: Who are some of them?

DP: Sheik, Chief Bootnaka, Bob Yuma, Bob Sallee, the Von Erichs, Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Bobby Pico, Toro Bravo 1&2, The Comancheros, Dory Funk Sr, Mt Kleen, Thesz, Johnny Valentine, Mike Awesome, Luna, Andre, Tolos, Johnny Kostas, Chris Adams, Stephen De Leon, Louie Spicolli, Bobby Dee, Gorilla Monsoon, Fred Blassie, Tony Altimore, Don Kent, Jimmy Banks, Primo Carnera, Frank Gotch, Wahoo McDaniel, Londos, Wild Red Berry, Dino Bravo, Buddy Rogers, Firpo Zybysco, Shirley Stemple, Tonah Tomah, Paavo Katonan, Monty Ladue, Kowalski, Santo, Flama Azul, Jose Luis De La Torre, Mario De La Fuente, Pedro Gonzalez, Ricky Romero, Eddie Graham, Miss Elizabeth, Gino Hernandez, Jerry Graham, Rudy Navarro and many more. Several of these people were cremated and ashes kept by family or scattered in varied places which is also noted.

JR: What are the advantages and disadvantages of LULU? DP: The advantages are you can publish anything you want without having to kiss some publisher’s ass and have it out on market,. The disadvantages? This becomes a one man show with you doing all the editing and marketing. Think I have the books all error free and edited right, but doing this all by oneself as well as writing came to be a relax pain in the ass Likewise distribution is limited on LULU but I plan to gear for foreign reprint sales. I also frequent a writer’s group that meets the first Tuesday evening of the month at the Dover library in Dover (Ohio)

JR: Are these books on sale at the matches where you appear?

DP: Sometimes. I also do a number of book signings in varied places as well,. Sometimes these books are available from LULU and sometime snot, but people have ordered and brought them in and I will sign them. I have other books still out, from standard or traditional publishers, but these have no wrestling content and I assume would not interest you. For example you can find on the stands more in the west than the east, Matadores Latinos, which has a Spanish title but is in English ( http://www.floricantopress.com ) that is out by a standard publisher rather than LULU. This is the history of the old bullring in Juarez.

JR: How do you decide what to write about?

DP: I do whatever seems like a good idea at the time.

JR: Do you have a favorite of any of these books?

DP: No.

JR: How do you feel about other authors writing on wrestling?

DP: I have not had time to raid many other authors. It seems like every wrestler or former wrestler has to write an auto biography. Some things I have read have been good and some have not.

JR: Do you ever plan to do an autobiography?

DP: No. Dale’s Tales is the closest thing that will come to it,. As I said I prefer to keep my wrestling and my real name and real activities as separate as I can.

JR: You tend to still defiantly practice kayefabe as much as you can in your wrestling books, while others do not…at least in the nonfiction?

DP: Don’t understand that word you just said. (Note, this was sarcasm on his part and a hint not to press the matter).

JR: You have also done and still do a lot of net writing?

DP: Lots of interviews with other people to get them some press and some historical articles. This carries from when I would write for newsletters and sheets, usually covering Arizona wrestling when I lived there as the area often did not get a proper shake in the mainstream press.

JR: When did you move from Arizona to Ohio?

DP: 1998. Sometimes I think it was a great decision and sometimes I curse the day I moved.

JR: Future plans?

DP: Oh I have some plans, but I do not like to say things in advance because if you do and they do not transpire you end up looking stupid.

JR: Closing comments?

DP: No.

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