Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Comings and Goings

I should probably update this silly blog. Sometimes, it seems it only gets love when I have something else to report. Considering how long these changes have been in effect, this probably says something about me.

First: "Pictures of Naomi Morinaga" is defunct (again), and I will not be bringing it back this time. It had stopped posting in March 2014 and there seemed little point in continuing to monitor it. This may open the door for one of you enterprising Naomi fans who visit every day to open your OWN fansite. I'll be looking for it!

Second: "Continued Next Week!" is on hiatus, and may be finished. I don't know for certain on this one, so I'll be taking a wait and see approach. However, it will remain up for the foreseeable future.

Third: I'm probably going to be participating less on DeviantArt, for various reasons. It's been awhile since I actually accomplished any art worth posting anyway. I'll have to figure out my course of action when the art resumes.

But zounds! It's not all endings! Please welcome the new Captain Satellite Facebook Page! It will be working in tandem with the Captain Satellite Tumblr (which hasn't update in like a month, oops)t deliver the Owariverse content that maybe somebody out there craves.

There's probably more, but that is all that occurs right now. I've been struggling with poor internet here at OWARI HQ for about a month, and that has tempered my enthusiasm for online mischief of late. Hopefully, that will be corrected soon. Meanwhile, if I don't post again in this space until afterward, Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Our 20th Anniversary

Admittedly, I probably missed the real one. And I haven't been posting as much here over the last couple of years anyway. Still, I did list "October/November 1995" as the date for OWARI #1. So I guess we can say this still counts as the 20th anniversary of OWARI?

It doesn't seem possible that it has been two decades since I finally bit the bullet and started producing my own thing for public consumption. Heck, it's been 10 years since I bid a fond farewell to doing fanzines. Yet here we are. There is plenty of good and bad as I reflect on that body of work. But the thing that makes me happiest is that I can use the phrase "body of work" and not feel like I'm kidding myself.

I've been publishing my own work since 1995. I've been blogging since 2003. I'm kinda proud of what I've accomplished during that time, modest though it may be. It's a lot more than I ever realistically anticipated for myself.

I don't know what else to say here. Thank you to all the people along the way who have encouraged me, befriended me, or just read what I had to say. Having people actually care what I have to say means a lot to me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rene Bond - 65

Rene Bond - born October 11, 1950. She would have been 65 years old today.

I started Rene Bond Tribute in October 2013 because I thought Rene deserved to be remembered and honored on Facebook. That's why I mostly let her do the talking via photos and video clips. That page isn't about me. It's her page.

We learned a bit more about Rene's life this year via her friend Joan, including some of the circumstances of her untimely passing. It's still incredibly sad that we lost her so young, but I am glad to at least know she was happy until the end. That's a small comfort in the tragedy of her death.

Happy birthday, Rene Bond. You are not forgotten. And you are loved.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

When Gods Get It On

Uranus and Gaea making bedroom eyes at each other. From D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. This is a highly-recommended (and highly-influential!) book on the subject.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Yvonne Craig

I have not written many of these in the last couple of years, even though a number of notable and influential people in my fannish development have passed away. I dunno, it just seemed enough to post on Facebook and Twitter. Yvonne Craig is the exception that brought me back to write a remembrance.

Yvonne Craig passed away Monday at the age of 78. I am pretty sure I first saw her on BATMAN, and to me, she will always be "the" Batgirl. From what I've read, she was a wonderful person in real life as well. That's always good to hear about someone who brought you so much joy from afar.

RIP Yvonne Craig. You were one of a kind and I'll always treasure memories watching you fight crime as the titian-haired Batgirl.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

OWARI, Elsewhere: Return of Jetman

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Return of Jetman, we look at the history of the project on the internet. Sadly, all older versions are currently defunct.

Part II: Return of Jetman

0) http://www.geocities.com/celamowari/????

The very first Return of Jetman page was actually done on a lark. I made a gallery page for the initial four pictures of the revival (before it was a "revival") and uploaded it to my GeoCities site. Those four pictures were: Jet Phoenix, Green Wyvern, Toranza, and Red Kestrel. The page itself was about as basic as it could be - a title, red background, and the "thumbnails" were not even thumbnails but the main images displayed at thumbnail dimensions. I am not sure I ever showed this page to anyone beyond co-creator/artist Lewis Smith, and I don't remember if it was ever linked on the index page.

I have no memory of how long this page lasted or even the url. It was surely deleted by November 2002. I may still have a copy of it hiding in a folder somewhere, but if there is a cache of it, I have not found it.

1) http://home.centurylink.net/owari/roj.html (cache)

Launched August 20, 2002, this was the site of the entirety of the first 14 episodes of Return of Jetman. It was a sub-section of my ISP webspace, and the only thing of any value I did there. Somewhat surprisingly, it was not the primary home of ROJ for very long. The last known update was November 29, 2004, but the whole project was moved to its own site earlier than this.

The original ROJ homepage lasted for many years in static form, directing visitors to check out the new site. Alas, sometime late last year or early this year, my old ISP webspace finally disappeared.

2) http://www.geocities.com/celamowari/roj-dx.html (cache)

Often forgotten even by me, the original ROJ DX Gallery appears to have launched on March 23, 2003 as a supplement to the main site. You see, my ISP webspace was only 5 MB and wow that is crazy to think about now. I created this extras page on GeoCities since that account had more room. The last cached update is June 2, 2007, though I am sure the page had been largely dismantled prior to that date. With the GeoCities shutdown, it's all academic.

As an aside, GeoCities also seems to be the original home of the ROJ Japanese page. The address was http://www.geocities.com/celamowari/roj-nihongo.html, but there is no cached version of it.

3) http://www.freewebs.com/returnofjetman (cache)

I had purchased the www.returnofjetman.com domain early in 2004, but Freewebs was the actual original home of the site. In fact, the domain usually redirected visitors to the above rather than being locked, for reasons which I am sure were terribly important at the time. The "official launch" announcement was August 24, 2004, but there is a cached version of the index from earlier. I could probably find my Freewebs registration e-mail, but I doubt anyone cares.

Freewebs was the home of ROJ until June 2007 when a culmination of things led me to abandon it. A recent check of the url indicates it is "frozen" and what content I had left there is gone. I wonder if this is due to inactivity or if it got hacked one last time? Regardless, I don't remember my Freewebs password and am not sure where to find it. Again, no one cares - least of all me.

4) http://www.returnofjetman.com (cache)

Circa June 2007, I transferred ROJ to Dreamhost and www.returnofjetman.com finally became a "proper" domain. Dreamhost treated me well and I had no complaints with their service. However, times were gradually changing and my ability to maintain a website was becoming more tentative with all sorts of advances I hadn't studied. Plus, financing the operation was getting to be a drag. In April 2010, the ROJ blog was launched with an eye toward it eventually becoming the main site. "Eventually" turned out to be the next month, and the blog and the site officially "merged" on May 21, 2010.

The biggest change since that time is the www.returnofjetman.com domain was allowed to expire in January 2014. This was simply a cost-cutting measure. It had served its purpose well, but with the site mostly in archive mode now, there was no reason to continue paying for it. It was picked up by someone briefly, but currently appears to be unregistered again.

5) http://returnofjetman.blogspot.com/

The current home of ROJ, where we continue the good fight. It was briefly active in April and May 2010 when the blog was created and still a work in progress. It became the (hopefully) permanent home of ROJ in January 2014.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tim Mee Toy Reviews!

Our friends over at VictoryBuy recently sent along some of their latest offerings from Tim Mee Toys for review. This was both a privilege and a pleasure. Here's what I wrote about them on Amazon!

TimMee Toy Tanks for Plastic Army Men: Tan WW2 3pc - Made in USA

It's great to see the ORIGINAL Tim Mee tanks available again, rather than the inferior knock-offs that have been clogging the shelves. You can tell by the high quality of the sculpt and plastic used that this is a product that will last through countless war games, Plus, it's made in the good old USA - all too rare in this day and age!

This set also comes with stickers to better identify your vehicles. The wheels are molded into place, but you won't mind. It just means they can't break off and leave your men stranded on the battle field.

TimMee COMBAT PATROL Willys & Artillery: Green 4pc Playset - Made in USA

This set comes with two jeeps and two cannons, all of which are very well-made. Rolling action on the wheels are good, and the cannons hitch to the jeeps without a hitch (sorry). Scale is close enough to the standard Army Man that they will look right at home on your backyard battlefield. Plus, stickers are included to dress up armaments and vehicles and make them look "official." This is another high quality addition to the Tim Mee/J. Lloyd plastic army and worth the money if you choose to pick them up.

Tim Mee People Play Figures: Green and Putty Color 24pc Playset - Made in USA

Oh, this lot is not something I ever saw back in the day. But still, they have the quaint charm of being the quintessential 1950s atomic family as shown on the header card. Speaking of that header card, it has some pretty awesome artwork. Definitely worth a portion of your purchase price.

These toys are a great addition to your plastic people dioramas and can be very useful as supplement to other sets. There might not be much play value for most in suburban life, but they can be rescued by soldiers, captured by aliens, or just get caught in assorted time paradoxes. The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination.

These are good quality, durable figures with attention paid to both molding and manufacturing. Unlike a lot of off-brand figures, you can see a lot of fine detail and can rest assured the figures will hold up and not snap easily. Buy with confidence!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

OWARI, Elsewhere: The Blogs

I've been fiddling with the blog sidebar again, and I think I have it the way I want it (for now). As I audited my links, it occurred to me that I have a number of sites in the old repertoire that I don't link anymore. Many of them are defunct but still online. In this series, I'll give you links to other places you could once find me on the internet.

Part I: The Blogs

Still Active

* Continued Next Week! (2012-    )


* Captain Satellite's Fun Fun Central (2003-2010)
* Earth B (2006)
* Not Christopher Elam's OWARI (2012)1
* Pictures of Naomi Morinaga (2012-2014)2


* OWARI Tumblr Annex (christopherelam.tumblr.com) was my original personal Tumblr founded in January 2012, but it fell early victim to my issues with that site. It was finally deleted later that year. I re-registered the url as a placeholder but deleted it for good a couple of months ago.

* At various points, I have had blogs on the following services before deleting them: Journalfen, Myspace, GreatestJournal (site closed), Yahoo 360 (site closed), and possibly others. Additionally, I had an RP account on GreatestJournal, an alternate parody account on LiveJournal and a couple of "secret" blogs on LJ. All of that is scattered to the four winds now. Except for El Beardo.

* There was at one time a "returnofjetman" community on LiveJournal, too. I am fuzzy on both when it was founded (2004?) and when it was deleted (no idea anymore).


* Begun in 2009 and then largely forgotten, there is a syndicated LiveJournal feed for this blog. It is still dutifully picking up posts even though I don't think anyone follows it except my old account.


1(Placeholder blog to prevent spammers from claiming the celamowari.blogspot.com url again.)

2An earlier version of this blog existed at the same url from 2011-2012 but was deleted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blogs Will Live! Blogs Will Die!

...And nothing will ever be the same!

One of my favorite phrases when I'm working on a project of some kind is "going down rabbit holes." That's when you get distracted from the task at hand by something or other and it consumes you enough that it starts to take on its own importance. Occasionally, going down rabbit holes has led to unexpected rewards. More often than not, it's just a waste of time.

I first signed up for Tumblr in 2011. I have had as many as seven different individual Tumblr blogs at a time. There's a lot to like about Tumblr. So it may be a surprise that I have come to the conclusion that maintaining a "personal" Tumblr blog presence has been one of the single biggest rabbit holes of my life.

I have written in the past (probably too much) about my problems with Tumblr. I thought it might be an ample, low-maintenance replacement for this blog when I went into semi-retirement here in September. I tried, I really tried to make it work this time. But I have decided that I am just not happy with what I have been doing there and that my energies can be directed in more constructive pursuits.

Basically, I have burned OWARI 2.0 down to the ground. There are still some posts there, to prove that it existed. However, I am officially closing that place. There is a slight chance I might post there every so often, but it's really not in my plans. I'm done with the notion of keeping a personal Tumblr. It just doesn't suit my ideas of blogging at all.

This does not mean I am leaving Tumblr. I will still be following other people on there (though not nearly as many as I once was), and people are still welcome to follow me. I'll still be liking posts. Frankly, there is too much I would miss to give Tumblr the old heave-ho.

There's also the little matter of Captain Satellite. Ironically, given my many misgivings about Tumblr, it has been the perfect home for the Owariverse. I have no better options for hosting that material, and I am queasy about starting all over right now. So I stay with Tumblr and nothing really changes for Cap and company.

As far as my other Tumblrs? Some of those have already been deleted or cleaned out. Others will continue in some form, whether they are active or not. I haven't decided on everything just yet, but the beauty of it is, I don't really need to make a big splashy announcement with the way Tumblr works. I can just quietly stop posting if that's what I'm feeling.

What does this mean for this blog? Well, nothing much. Ironically, I had just been contemplating how OWARI has sort of become its own island in my works and is now disconnected from everything else. I see this as a GOOD thing. Sometimes, I need a forum that only this blog can provide. Besides, there is way too much good stuff here to just delete it all. For all my mixed feelings about this blog, it has been pretty successful in getting the word out as far as non-fiction goes.

And now, back to work!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Larry Yakata

Hoo boy, this has been a looooong time in coming. Forget recent blogging delays - this subject came up on Twitter back in FEBRUARY. I promised myself I would write about it in more depth one day. Well, it's now June, so maybe I ought to get around to it.

It all began with a discussion with Igadevil about those Ultraman comic books that came out from Nemesis Comics (Harvey) in the 1990s. They were pretty crazy - especially the "regular" series (it, uh, included a -1 issue) which I didn't follow. I seem to recall that I asked Iga if Dwayne McDuffie wrote that series as he had the earlier mini-series (Ernie Colón being the artist on all of it). No, it turns out the regular series was instead written by Larry Yakata.

Who in the world is Larry Yakata? It's a question no one has cared to ask, apparently. But I did, especially since he got a gig writing for a long-established company on a licensed property. There had to be more to this "Larry Yakata" than just a handful of Ultraman comic books.

Well, the GCD doesn't have his Ultraman stories logged, but it does have an overview of credits for the mysterious Mr. Yakata. Most of it is Conan for mid-80s Marvel. That was...unexpected. There's also a story (fill-in? miscredit?) for a YOUNG MASTER comic primarily written by Larry Hama. That indicates my original line of thinking. I suspected Larry YAKATA was really Larry HAMA working under a thinly-veiled pseudonym.

That didn't really explain the Ultraman thing. Though Hama is identified heavily with G.I. Joe, Ultraman doesn't seem up his alley. Besides, the stories just felt so out there for Hama. I let my mind wander a bit about it, especially the idea that Yakata might have gotten the assignment because of a connection to the prior writer. That was when it clicked for me.

There is a known writer out there with a connection to both Dwayne McDuffie and Larry Hama. He has written about the influence Hama had on him at Marvel, and I could believe he adopted the "Larry Yakata" nom de plume in tribute to him. He was friends with McDuffie and was even an early part of Milestone Media. I could absolutely see McDuffie recommending him as his replacement.

I'm talking about Christopher Priest, though I believe he was still going by "Jim Owsley" professionally at the time. Now, Priest is definitely the sort of guy I could see writing those wacky Ultraman comic books and Conan stories, too. Does that mean he is, in fact, Larry Yakata? I don't know, but he seems the likeliest candidate at this point.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Captain Satellite Fights On!

I owe you guys a proper post for the month, but tonight doesn't look like it's going to be the night. So in the meantime and in-between time, here's a reminder - Captain Satellite is still going strong on Tumblr. In fact, it has gotten busier of late as I've gotten around to reblogging some posts and adding "classic" artwork of mine. So check it out and take a trip to the Owariverse!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Captain Satellite and the Island of Broken Links

I wrote about Bob March, the ORIGINAL "Captain Satellite" as a TV host, back in 2012. This great picture of March was recently shared by KTVU Channel 2's Facebook page. I thought it might be of interest to those of you out there searching for more info on him. I know you're out there, because I see your searches.

You might notice that two of the three external links in that entry no longer work properly. Such is the way of the internet. I discovered this while updating the Captain Satellite FAQ not long ago. I have replaced those links with the following:

'Captain Satellite' was a TV space pioneer / Bob March's show gave children insider's view of NASA missions

Mike Humbert's Idiosyncratic Guide to San Francisco: Captain Satellite

This reminds me that I have been whittling away entries on my primary Tumblr again, and once more, there are probably more dead links on this blog. I don't expect it's a huge deal to anyone, but I thought I should acknowledge it. Nothing has been permanently discarded, but as the Captain Satellite blog gets going a bit more, there is less need for a lot of older, redundant posts. If you absolutely can't find something, let me know and I'll try to point you in the right direction.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wrestling in Lake Charles - Part 4

(Special thanks to Michael Norris for his valuable input in putting together this series, and to Chad McAlpin for his encouragement and support. This section includes images of Lake Charles wrestling programs that were sold on eBay and links used to assemble the narrative. To see the entire series, follow the tag "lake charles wrestling.")


May 11, 1960. Pepper Gomez vs. Joe Christy.

August 8, 1962. John Paul Henning vs. Tarzan Tyler and Lorenzo Parente vs. Ivan the Terrible (Pampero Firpo), with the winner of each bout to square off for a shot at NWA World Heavyweight Champion "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers! Plus, Dory Dixon vs. Tiger Conway.

(And yes, Rogers *did* defend the belt in Lake Charles the next week! His opponent turned out to be Tarzan Tyler.)

August 8, 1962. Wrestling presented every Wednesday night. Phone GR 7-4073. Also please note the opening bout pits Alex Perez against Joe Pizza. You know poor Joe got ribbed all the time (I think the guy's real name was "Pizzatola").

The following sites were used extensively in piecing together this series.

*Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling History
*Kayfabe Memories
*Kayfabe Memories Message Board
*Legacy of Wrestling
*Mat Memories
*Mat Memories Blog
*Wrestling Classics Message Board

Individual pages used in piecing together this series.








*https://us-cinemas-map.googlecode.com/files/Yearbook%20of%20Motion%20Pictures%20-%201955.pdf (PDF)

Wrestling in Lake Charles - Part 3

(The following series is adapted from a Facebook discussion that took place last week. The information presented here is definitely incomplete, and I am certain there are mistakes. However, I wanted to put this out there for the public to inspire further research by people who are more interested in the mat game than yours truly and more resourceful in digging up its history. To see the entire series, follow the tag "lake charles wrestling.")

I went into tracing the history of wrestling in Lake Charles with the notion that it was linked to wrestling in Lafayette. Maybe it was prior to 1960 and no records reflecting that have turned up yet. But by the middle of 1965, the two towns were clearly part of the same circuit. It should be pretty linear from there.

Or so you'd think. Because then comes January 1966, and Lake Charles is booking out of the Houston office again. Some ads make this even more explicit by trumpeting "Texas Wrestling" rather than just "Professional Wrestling" - perhaps a slight and subtle burial of the Gulf Coast office (also bolstering my theory about KPLC having aired the program of the same name.) Lineups from available cards for 1966 and 1967 are all clearly from the Texas circuit.

What happened? Well, some of the Gulf Coast workers were driving from as far as Tallahassee for shows, and considering Lake Charles is pretty close to the Texas state line, that just became too much of a burden. But was there more to it than that? Did the Gulf Coast cards not draw because they ran on Saturdays rather than Wednesdays or Thursdays? Did the workers and angles not get over in Lake Charles? Was there a falling out between the Lafayette office and/or Lee Fields and Cecil McDonald? Did Fields buy out McDonald and then sell it back or to some unknown third party? Was there some other reason?

I don't know. All I know for certain is that Gulf Coast dropped Lake Charles from their circuit, apparently at the end of September 1965. At least, there do not appear to be any wrestling ads at all in the papers for the next two weeks. Further research is needed to determine exactly when Gulf Coast departed and Houston returned to town, but October-December 1965 is the key moment in the switch back.

Though the building is referred to as "McDonald Sportatorium" again, Cecil McDoanld's name is still missing from available ads in 1966 and 1967. So I cannot even say if he's the promoter anymore or not by then. Gulf Coast was still running cities like Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria until Lee Fields abandoned the state in February 1968 due to political shenanigans and transferred the Lafayette booking office to Hattiesburg, MS. I don't have enough information on hand to sort out the resultant fallout, but how it relates to Lake Charles is debatable since they were long gone from the Gulf Coast circuit by then.

What happens next in Lake Charles wrestling? Well, here things get murky. I have seen very little from 1967-1974. I did run across results for Leroy McGuirk's Championship Wrestling running the Lake Charles Civic Center in 1974. McGuirk was all over the state (New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, even Loranger) by that year, and I've seen lineups for Lafayette dating to 1978 so they were running it, too.

Only when did this start? The Civic Center opened in 1972, but when did the McDonald Sportatorium close? When did Lake Charles start getting McGuirk TV? Was it only on KLFY, or did KPLC run it too at that stage? Those are blanks I can't fill in just yet.

One anomaly cropped up as I was looking around - a pair of September 1974 cards that seem to be an outlaw group. They are especially strange because women's wrestling is pushed as the top attraction, while the men's bouts are treated as undercard fodder. In the first, for September 7 at 8 PM at McNeese Arena, Mildred Burke (billed as World Women's Champion) takes on Millie Stafford. Meanwhile, the same group ran on September 28 at Legion Field at 8 PM with Nell Stewart taking on Barbara Baker (Ripper Collins' wife).

Burke's presence raised an eyebrow for me, considering her estrangement from the NWA over the whole Billy Wolfe debacle. Even more bizarre is Stewart, who was *another* ex-wife of Wolfe. I don't know what to make of these cards (if they took place as scheduled), especially as the contemporary write-ups present them as part of an ongoing thing. Was Mildred Burke really running opposition in Louisiana against the NWA office in 1974? If so, why is this the first time I'm hearing about it?

Nevertheless, Lake Charles was a McGuirk town until Bill Watts took it and the rest of the Louisiana/Mississippi end of the circuit when he formed Mid-South Wrestling in 1979. And finally, I come to the point of the story where I was actually around to see what was going on.

I have read many...COLORFUL stories about the city of Lake Charles from the men who worked the Mid-South territory. Jim Ross tells of being in a riot there and a policeman who carried a hollowed-out pool cue filled with lead to discourage rowdies. I wonder if those kind of antics dated back to the days of Cecil McDonald and his Sportatorium? Wouldn't surprise me one bit.

As I've said, I grew up with Mid-South Wrestling, which changed its name to the UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation) in 1986. It aired on KPLC, KLFY, and KALB (Alexandria) during those years. Lake Charles was a regular stop in those days. But change was coming to the wrestling business, and that arrived when the WWF made its debut at the Civic Center.

I want to say it was 1986 and "Macho Man" Randy Savage was in the main event, but the card isn't online as far as I've seen and I think I lost the clipping I had from back then. I do know WWF was airing on KVHP Channel 29, then a relatively new independent station in Lake Charles that became the Fox affiliate when that network was formed. Perhaps an even more dire portent of things to come is my memory that KLFY replaced UWF with WWF around the same time. Considering the long tradition of wrestling on that station, losing it would have been a bad sign for Watts - even if KATC scooped up the UWF for themselves like I recall.

It became moot when Jim Crockett Promotions bought the UWF from Bill Watts in early 1987, and gradually phased it out as a brand separate from the NWA. By the beginning of 1988, the UWF was gone. But it didn't matter as much because it was also gone from KPLC. Somewhere along the way (and I don't remember when), they just dropped it. Since KVHP was still carrying WWF, you could say Vince McMahon had already won the war for Lake Charles.

(KPLC aired the upstart Five Star Wrestling's TV when it launched in the early 90s, but this did not last long and I don't think Five Star made it into the city. Years later, KVHP was airing WCW Worldwide at the height of the Monday Night Wars. Funny how that works out.)

WWF and the current WWE have run shows in Lake Charles since then, but it's not a regular stop. I'm not sure if Crockett tried to run the Civic Center under the NWA banner after folding the tent on the UWF, but WCW showed up now and then until they went away in 2001. Like a lot of places, Lake Charles isn't the scene that it used to be when it ran every week. Probably, that was inevitable.

I do want to close with a very obscure recollection of mine. It seems someone made a stab at running indy shows in the area in the mid-80s. I distinctly recall a newspaper ad that touted a group calling itself "Super Pro Wrestling." It pictured someone who called himself the Human Ox, but none of the names jumped out as familiar to me - though one of them was Dusty Wolfe and I *would* see him in the future. This group was running a show at the Moss Bluff skating rink. I later saw a flier in a Kinder gas station for another show with a different name but many of the same workers, plus Sonny King just a couple of years removed from a Mid-South run. I wonder if he was behind this promoting endeavor, or at least a partner in it.

I didn't get to either of those shows. I actually never went to see pro wrestling in Lake Charles. Based on what I know now, I'm not sure how I would have reacted as a young kid in that environment. But I miss those days and wish I could buy a ticket to any one of these cards I've been seeing in the archives. Even Super Pro Wrestling and the Human Ox in a skating rink.

Wrestling in Lake Charles - Part 2

(The following series is adapted from a Facebook discussion that took place last week. The information presented here is definitely incomplete, and I am certain there are mistakes. However, I wanted to put this out there for the public to inspire further research by people who are more interested in the mat game than yours truly and more resourceful in digging up its history. To see the entire series, follow the tag "lake charles wrestling.")

Cecil McDonald was the wrestling promoter in Lake Charles in the 1960s. He was born in 1915/1916 on a watermelon farm in Sugartown, LA. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marines at some point. A contemporary account refers to him as a "real estate dealer" in Lake Charles, but it has also been written that he owned lumber companies in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The latter can definitely be established.

The first instance online of McDonald's name turning up in a sporting context (at least that I've seen) is an unlikely one - JET magazine. The May 21, 1959 issue includes the following report:

Is this the impetus for pro wrestling in Lake Charles? It's not hard to make the connection that McDonald began to promote both wrestling and boxing due to the dissolution of his basketball team. Both sports by their very nature could neatly avoid the segregation issue. And no matter how McDonald felt about race relations, it is indisputable that he booked black wrestlers for his shows. In fact, Tiger Conway defeated Dory Dixon in a 1962 match at the McDonald Sportatorium to claim "The World’s Colored Championship." Conway is said to be the last claimant to that particular title.

(As an aside about the basketball/wrestling connection - it's not as unusual as you might think. P.L. "Pinkie" George was one of the founders of the National Wrestling Alliance, and even the guy who came up with the name. He was also the owner of the National Basketball League's Waterloo Hawks. George was one of the men who merged the NBL with the Basketball Association of America to form the current NBA.)

The McDonald Sportatorium filed as a business corporation on June 22, 1960. McDonald was listed as the registered agent and the address was 709 McNeese St Lake Charles, LA 70601. This is at odds with the 715 McNeese address seen in many ads, but it's the same location regardless. Given McDonald's stated connections in both real estate and lumber, it's not hard to imagine work began on the project shortly after the end of the McDonald Scots. And if there had been pro wrestling promoted in town prior to 1960, by McDonald or other parties, no evidence surfaced when I went looking for it.

My gut feeling is that dubbing his arena "the Sportatorium" was very deliberate on McDonald's part. I *suspect* the wrestling program airing on KPLC (either at McDonald's behest or as something he saw and decided to promote off) was the TEXAS WRESTLING syndicated show. Many if not all of those films (profits from which were split between Ed McLemore's Dallas office and Morris Siegel's Houston office by this time) were shot in Dallas - at the Sportatorium. So why not give Lake Charles its own Sportatorium?

Wrestling was presented at the McDonald Sportatorium until at least May 4, 1967. I have not seen anything after this date for the city until the mid 1970s. I don't know how long McDonald stuck around Lake Charles, but he had definitely relocated to Texas by September 1971. Possibly, this was to attend to a lumber yard he had started there in 1967. So his days of promoting wrestling in Lake Charles were probably over by the time the 1970s began.

In addition to all of this, Cecil McDonald is credited as the developer/founder of Rio Bravo, Texas, and El Cenizo, Texas. He passed away Thursday, May 15, 2008, in a hospital in Laredo, Texas. He was 92.

The Lake Charles cards I've found booked out of Houston are actually not bad. They aren't stacked, but there's no reason to expect they would be for essentially a tank town. Early shows featured Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon prominently. Established stars like Bull Curry and Danny McShain showed up often. Both Pat O'Connor and "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers defended the NWA World Heavyweight title there. Heck, even Paul Boesch (THE name synonymous with Houston wrestling) made the trek pretty regularly. So the Houston office did all right by Cecil from 1960-1965.

Lake Charles ran Wednesday nights. There were occasionally shows that ran on Thursday. During 1964, they switched to Saturday night. For whatever reason, it went back to Wednesdays in January 1965. This will be important to remember.

The last Houston-booked show on record for 1965 is April 21. The next show I have seen a clipping for is May 1 (a Saturday). It features wrestlers from the Gulf Coast office in Lafayette. Most of the rest of Lake Charles 1965 I've seen (May-Sept.) is run on Saturday night at 8:15, with the boys having to drive directly from Lafayette after doing live TV starting at 4:30.

To backtrack, Lee Fields bought out Harry Romero's Rome Promotions in April 1964, and got a good portion of Louisiana by doing so. But he was an active wrestler too, so he needed local promoters. Cecil McDonald's obituary is suitably vague in that it states "...he was also the promoter of boxing and wrestling in the early ’60s in Lake Charles..." So, did Cecil sell to Lee Fields in 1965? Or to someone else who booked though Lafayette instead of Houston? I don't have an answer, but it took over a year after Fields bought out Harry Romero for Gulf Coast to makes its way into Lake Charles. McDonald's name as promoter is noticeably absent from the 1965 Gulf Coast show clippings, and even the building is referred to simply as "Sportatorium." However, some of those same clippings remind people to "See live wrestling - Channel 10 KLFY every Saturday - 4:30 P.M." The connection had been made.

And don't forget - even if Cecil McDonald wasn't still the promoter, he did own the building they were running.

Wrestling in Lake Charles - Part 1

(The following series is adapted from a Facebook discussion that took place last week. The information presented here is definitely incomplete, and I am certain there are mistakes. However, I wanted to put this out there for the public to inspire further research by people who are more interested in the mat game than yours truly and more resourceful in digging up its history. To see the entire series, follow the tag "lake charles wrestling.")

One of my passing interests is the history of pro wrestling in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I actually thought this would be pretty straightforward - from Gulf Coast Wrestling to Leroy McGuirk's Championship Wrestling outfit to Mid-South Wrestling/Universal Wrestling Federation when Bill Watts split away the LA/MS end of McGuirk's territory. There have been the occasional WWF/WCW/WWE cards since then, but I was mostly thinking about the so-called "kayfabe era."

It's anything but straightforward. I realize now there were multiple separate offices running towns in this state at one time in the 1960s, and not one of them was an outlaw group. There is also the madness of two towns less than 100 miles apart - and each able to see the other's TV from the outset - running two completely different promotions. The history of Lake Charles wrestling is stranger than I could have imagined.

Growing up with Mid-South Wrestling, I am accustomed to thinking of Louisiana as one territory. TV was taped in Shreveport, first at the KTBS studios and later at the Irish McNeil Boys Club. However, the wrestlers and the angles were the same in Monroe, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Alexandria (in addition to the rest of the territory). That was the way it was when I got into wrestling in 1981, and the way it was in the years prior - even when it was Leroy McGuirk's Championship Wrestling.

But it wasn't always this way. I am not qualified to speak about the overall history of pro wrestling in this state, but it's pretty clear now it did not fall under one office (McGuirk's) until at least the late 60s/early 70s. I'm not even going to try to sort out the big picture prior to that era, as it is still too confusing for me. Suffice to say, it includes such things as Jim Barnett getting Indianapolis' BIG TIME WRESTLING on New Orleans' WDSU and Jack Pfefer booking New Orleans for awhile.

What of Lake Charles during the 1960s? I had always assumed Lake Charles was part of the same circuit as Lafayette, Baton Rogue and Alexandria, and for a time at least, it appears that it was. But both before and after its affiliation with the Gulf Coast Wrestling office, Lake Charles booked wrestlers out of the HOUSTON office. This went on until April 1965, and resumed no later than January 1966. In fact, no less an authority than "Cowboy" Bill Watts once wrote "I wrestled one time in Lake Charles for the Houston office... "

(Of course, the Cowboy had less than flattering things to say about the promoter and the venue, but that's not relevant to the issue at hand.)

So it seems Lake Charles was doing its own thing, separate from the rest of the state, for quite some time. It would be interesting to see when it finally became part of the statewide circuit. But information has proven scarce post-1967 and pre-1974.

The first wrestling card for Lake Charles I have found is from March 16, 1960 (Wednesday). It was staged (incredibly) at the Rebex Theater - a movie house on Sixth Avenue that would catch fire and shut down the next year (I suspect a Family Dollar store is in this location now). But after that, the matches took place in a building called the McDonald Sportatorium at 715 East McNeese Street/709 East McNeese Street (address varies according to the source, but it was the same general location). Well, there is a period in 1963 when they set up shop in a venue called the Downtown Arena that I cannot even locate an address for, but this appears to be a temporary measure. The McDonald Sportatorium was the home for pro wrestling in Lake Charles for the majority of the 1960s. It is long gone today, and I have no memory of it existing in my lifetime. Its approximate location is currently occupied by a dentist's office.

I always assumed Lake Charles wrestling ran parallel with wrestling in Lafayette, and a big reason for that was television. Each city has always received TV from the other, and KPLC (Lake Charles) is considered the Lafayette NBC affiliate while both Lafayette's KLFY (CBS) and KATC (ABC) fill those affiliate roles for Lake Charles. Since Lake Charles viewers could see the live wrestling show on KLFY Saturday afternoons during the 1950s and 60s, it only made sense that the same office would be booking both towns.

This was wrong. What I failed to consider was the availability of wrestling on the other channels. To wit, KPLC was showing *a* wrestling show in 1962 opposite the one on KLFY - but it started at 5:15 instead of 5:00. Alexandria's Channel 5 KALB and Port Arthur (TX)'s Channel 4 KPAC were also showing wrestling at 5:00 pm Satuday. Channel 5 may have also been airing the Lafayette show live, and Channel 4 was likely showing something out of Houston or at least somewhere in Texas.

In listings for both 1965 and 1967, only Channel 10 and Channel 4 (now KJAC) are still showing wrestling on Saturdays. Whether the other stations dropped it or carried it on different days, I do not know. What I can say for certain is this - wrestling from both Texas and Louisiana was available on TV to the Lake Charles market as late as 1967.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

King Kong vs. Frankenstein - Concept Art 2

Back with more "King Kong vs. Frankenstein" concept art. Here we have Willis O'Brien's idea of a scene from the battle of the two monsters.

Friday, March 20, 2015

King Kong vs. Frankenstein - Concept Art

I get a fair amount of views to this day for people searching for KING KONG VS. FRANKENSTEIN. Since I recently posted these on Facebook, I thought I'd share them here as well. These are concept pieces by Willis O'Brien for King Kong and the Frankenstein monster (aka "the Ginko") created for that ill-fated project.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Since I've Been Gone

Funny things happened since we last met here at OWARI. Water line broke (again). Car went in the shop (again). Then, my laptop's hard disk failed on February 27 (not long after I learned of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, in fact). I was without my own internet access as a result. I was able to borrow my sister's connection, but I had to stop by her house and obviously couldn't stick around for extended periods of time. That meant that until I got my fixed computer back on March 12, my presence on the web was significantly reduced.

It's been a rolling series of disasters I've been dreading, and I somehow made it out OK. But of course, I'm still kind of at a standstill as far as the changes I've been trying to affect in my life. Not for lack of trying, but...well, hopefully something will work out soon.

One thing that was interesting about the enforced lack of Internet was how much I didn't mind the limited access. It made me re-examine some of my priorities and how I was spending my time. Of course, since getting the computer back, I've been in much the same pickle as before. However, I like to think I'm getting better at managing my time. Certainly, I am more aware of it.

One day, hopefully in the next few weeks, I will be back to discuss the mystery of Larry Yakata. I'd also like to review some of the movies I watched during my absence, including the amazing DEATH MACHINES. Stay tuned and keep watching the skies!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Local Radio Past

Quite by accident, I found this last night. As some background, Rob Robin came to the local area as a DJ on KLOU 1580 AM in the 1960s. He later transitioned into being the weather man at KPLC TV for 15 years and grew into a nigh-legendary figure. He moved back into radio, only strictly doing weather until his retirement a couple of years ago. This air check is from a stunt on April 1, 1976 where KLOU invited former DJs back for a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

The nostalgia for me in this video is off the charts, even though I was only 3 years old when it was recorded. Additionally, that channel has a number of air checks from such stations as KLOU, KGRA, KSNS, and even a few call letters still in use around here. Even those stations have been shuffled around and changed over the years.

My takeaway from all of this is local radio was a lot more fun back in the day. My memories of the 1980s seemed to indicate as much, but here's the proof. I still cannot believe we had a free-form AOR station (Nova 104) for five years, because so much of what has been on the air waves since the 1990s has been so corporate-driven. I don't blame the on-air talent; rather, I blame a system that (at one point) left our market with TWO Adult Contemporary stations and ZERO stations aimed at the Top 40 crowd. Way to kill off your audience entirely, guys.

In listening to commercials for such long ago landmarks as The Black Angus and Bookworm's Apple in clips from radio stations consigned to the dustbin of history by incessant format changes, I can't help but feel something has been lost along the way. KLOU gave up its call letters despite being almost iconic, and couldn't even reclaim them now if they wanted because a St. Louis station assumed them a few years later. The channel occupying 1580 on my dial only has that number in common with a historic part of the area.

Times have changed. Music has changed. It could never have stayed the same, because that's not how these things work. But it didn't have to go the way it did. Along the way, a connection to the audience and to our own history was sacrificed in chasing ratings and a few extra bucks. My nostalgia is tinged with sorrow, because the community we felt via popular radio has dissipated. And there's no reason to believe it's going to be rebuilt.

I love radio. I think it's a powerful medium. I actually don't think it will die out in my lifetime. But the days when it could bring us together are gone. And that is a shame.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


A lot can happen in a year. So just imagine how much can happen in six years. That's how long ago I started this particular blog. I had no clue at the time I was about to close the door on a couple of aspects of my life and open the door on a couple of others. Just luck of the draw, really.

I've spent the last few months trying to figure out what I wanted to do with this blog going forward. There was a strong sentiment to just close it down entirely in September. Views were down, and there was the growing realization that "blogging" has shifted to a degree from when I started. Plus, it was hard to ignore the fact that two friends of mine who coincidentally also started blogs in 2009 had abandoned posting on their blogs. The handwriting seemed to be on the wall.

But? In the intervening months, I've come to realize the possible usefulness of keeping this place open. It's not going to be the same as it was in, say, 2010-11 though. When you push the reset button, you can't just undo that decision. Plus, I simply don't have the same level of interest I had when this enterprise was at its peak.

I suppose in a real sense I fell victim to that very interest in building this blog. "OWARI" is not this blog, just as it wasn't the fanzine that carried the name off and on for ten years. OWARI is me. The blog is just a vehicle, and I think I lost sight of that along the way.

Anyway, the OWARI blog will stay open and I will keep posting here when the mood strikes. I would *like* make at least one post a month for consistency's sake, but I'm not even going to promise that. Similarly, I don't know what you'll be seeing here in the future. This is not me being coy, because I really just don't know. We're going to find out together. And if there's not much to say? There won't be much here.

I'd like to say how much I appreciate everyone who reads this blog, from the regulars I've inexplicably built up over the years to the one-offs who arrive via search engines. You've buoyed my spirits as I try to make some difficult transitions. Onward and upward with the arts!