Gary Hart, the Playboy has transitioned:

The Ring Bell has tolled again...

"Well dear friends... it is happening too often and too close... that out of such a 'select and unique group of people'... so many of my peers are being called home...My dear friend, Playboy Gary Hart died this past weekend... on Sunday." By Bill Watts

I just got an email from a friend of Gary's...via Scandar Akbar... and I immediately called Akbar to hear it from his lips... and Akbar... who is a man of iron... a true 'stud' of our business... you could tell was really hit by Gary's death... as he had just been with him on a 'fan memory trip' ... and spent time with him... and Akbar related how he and Gary had spent a lot of that time speaking of me... and of Mid-South... and our years together in the business... and Killer Karl Kox... and Killer Brooks too were so close to Gary... and how they too were so touched by Gary's loss...
 
And I told him how Gary would call me faithfully every couple of weeks or so... and how we would visit briefly about so many things... in fact that I had 'Googled myself on YouTube'... and the matches I found there... in two of the three... Gary had been the 'reason' I had lost two different title matches... one against World Champion, Jack Brisco... and the other against Dusty Rhodes... in Florida... and we were laughing at that... as we were both 'villains there'... but also had this 'thing between us' too... so... he would be instrumental in costing me matches...
 
I first met Gary in about 1970 when I had bought into Leroy McGuirk's Championship Wrestling Promotion... and began my climb up the ranks of wrestling promoters...
 
Gary was managing The Spoiler... Don Jardine... another great in the biz who passed away this past year... and Fritz had sent them here to 'contribute to the dearly needed talent pool' we needed to 'spark the McGuirk promotion'... and to also begin the 'change to it'... from it just being a Jr. Hvywt. territory...
 
even though Danny Hodge... the NWA Jr. Hvwt Champion... and mainstay of the promotion... could draw money with any 'good opponent'... no matter size or weight... so we wanted to maintain that... but start bringing in the 'Super Heavyweights too... that fit my category... and that were featured in most of the dominant promotions... and the mix worked really well... but Gary Hart and The Spoiler followed the first really "HOT" angle I had worked here with Dutch Savage... that really established me...
 
And Gary Hart and The Spoiler... and I sold out the Shreveport Auditorium on a weekly basis more consecutive times than it ever had been then...plus really impacted the entire promotion... and put Jackson, MS... on the map as a wrestling town.... with our match in the old Municipal Building there... and me being late and having chartered a single engine plane through a tornado watch... when the commercials had cancelled their flights... and George Culkins had the police waiting at the airport with sirens ready as I changed into my ring gear in that car enroute to the matches...
 
but that success caused George to take a chance and book the Jacksonville Coliseum... in which we were so successful.... 
 
really the only 'previous' consecutive box office business territory-wide other than someone against Hodge... had been The Assassins (Joe Hamilton and Tom Renesto) vs the Kentuckians... (Grizzly Smith and Luke Brown)...
 
And of course too... Hodge had so many great feuds that drew great box office... including his famous ones with Akbar...
 

Gry Hartaftr plane crah

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On his Career

Gary Hart
RIP GARY HART
(January 24, 1942 - March 16, 2008)

Sunday March 16, 2008

What memories! In fact, I saw my dear friend Danny Hodge Saturday night at a mixed martial arts event... as Danny is the chairman of the Oklahoma Boxing and Wrestling Com....
 
Gary though was the consummate 'pro'... I remember that first meeting with him... and he changed into a 'real tailor made suit'... and had alligator shoes... the most expensive men's shoes of that era... when most managers would wear 'cheap stuff' because it was going to get beer or coke thrown on them... or other things... so they would not wear really 'fine clothes ringside'... but Gary said... if I am going to 'be a Playboy from Chicago'... then I have to dress the part... and he did....
 
His interviews were fantastic... he could touch a person's buttons like no other...I mean he could get down and dirty...
 
And besides that... he was very 'flexible' business-wise... while still protecting his wrestler's gimmick... He truly was the consummate manager in more ways than just ringside...
 
So often a promoter or booker was trying to take things a certain direction... and limited by their own imaginations as to how to accomplish it... so would design things for short term success.... not seeing the bigger picture...
 
Gary... quickly would gain a rapport with the booker or promoter... because he always had lots of 'fresh ideas'... all he need to know is the direction... and he would have several ways to get there...win, lose, or draw... he knew how to 'get it done' in a business promoting way that worked best for the situation...
 
Still...if a promoter did NOT get it... Gary could then be adamant... even totally a "NO" if it compromised his wrestler's gimmick or box office appeal...
 
He was 'all business'... and again... we 'clicked immediately'... and I learned so damn much from him... and was so blessed to work with him in so many areas I booked or owned... In Florida he managed Pak Song Nam... the Korean Assassin... and had 'Hart's Army'... and we had it so 'hot' we even had billboards all over Tampa with Gary and his army... with a bounty on Dusty Rhodes or Jack Brisco... but more than that... he was one of my 'right hand men' in Florida... and we worked extremely close together on the total picture we developed there in the biggest bottom line year the Florida promotion ever had...and that is right from Eddie Graham's own mouth... and certainly he would know... and everyone knows...I consider Eddie my most important mentor in the business... who really took me to 'the next level'...
 

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News

The Ring Bell has tolled again...

 

 
Gary managed one of the great teams in Bob Orton Jr and Dick Slater in Georgia...
 
He managed the Great Kabuki... with the green phlegm as Boyd Pearce would say...I think Gary was also instrumental in The Missing Link's gimmick development.... and certainly he positioned the Freebirds to be the feud with the Von Erich boys in Texas hot heydays...
 
I even flew Buddy Colt's airplane from Atlanta to Tampa for him... as I had an instrument rating then... and Buddy was just learning to fly... and this was the same plane Buddy crashed into Tampa Bay -- returning from matches in Miami... and in which Gary Hart and Dennis (who became Austin Idol) and Buddy Colt were injured and had to swim to shore... and Bobby Shane drowned as his foot was trapped in the wreckage...
 
Gary could also be a 'stand up guy'... in a crisis... I remember having some problems with a star in Georgia... one I thought was over-rated... and he was not wanting to do what I wanted in his bout... and Gary Hart was listening... and he came over and got right in this person's face... and cussed him out... and told him to either do what is right or get his ass out...
 
I was impressed... because you did not often get that support so direct and personal in such a situation...
 
And it allowed me to get by a touchy issue... and just phase that person out... because I would not work consistently with untrustworthy people...
 
So...again... my heart is broken today... hearing Gary is gone...
 
But the good news is... and Gary and I spoke of this often in these recent years... Gary is a believer in Jesus Christ... he is saved... so I believe he is already in Heaven with those others who have preceded us... who are followers of Christ... and that gives me great comfort...
 
Without faith... what does one really have... at this time of our lives... really that is all we truly have... because the sands are running out on this life...
 
Gary's son too has a strong faith... and that has to be a comfort... as yes... we mourn the loss... but celebrate the victory... that Gary is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ...
 
Cowboy Bill Watts

 


Playboy Gary Hart

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