There is something about professional wrestling that you just can’t look away from on television. The costumes, the oversize personalities, the inflated drama and comedy—it all plays even bigger on the tube. I remember watching Haystacks Calhoun and friends on crummy UHF channels growing up in New Jersey. It was like watching live television broadcasts from another dimension, sci-fi sports, if you will. And when I got to the University of Florida, my then-girlfriend wanted nothing more for a birthday gift than to drive into Tampa and see her favorite rassler, Jerry Briscoe, taking on challengers live and in person at the Fort Homer Hesterly Arena. That was a crazy day.
Pamela S. Allyn knows a few things about what goes on behind the scenes of pro wrestling that you don’t. She’s the daughter of the late Gordon Solie, the whiskey-voiced ring announcer who put wrestling on the map way back in 1949 and stayed with it for the next half-century. Pam, her husband Robert Allyn and Scott Teal have written a fascinating new book about her dad, The Solie Chronicles: The Life and Times of Gordon Solie. It is a refreshing, honest look at a legend who was more than a little bit human.