Graphics design and interview presentation by Dick Bourne.




Chappell: Before I go too much further, I wanted to ask you how your professional name ‘Sir Oliver Humperdink’ came about. I’ve never heard the story on that.


Humperdink: You’re gonna know this guy…Don Jardine!


Chappell: Oh yeah, without a doubt…one of my all-time favorites! The Super Destroyer!


Humperdink: And the Hollywood Blondes…Buddy and Jerry!


Chappell: This would be Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown, right?


Humperdink: That’s them.


Chappell: Mid-Atlantic fans will remember them from a stint in the area during the first half of 1977. They were the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions for a period of time.


Humperdink: Jardine and the Blondes came up with that name. Brainstorming one night down in Oklahoma.


Chappell: Wow!


Humperdink: This was between the time that Buddy and Jerry finished up in ’72 in Montreal, before getting back together in ’73. And they wanted to come back in ’73 with something a little bit different…and they thought a manager would be good.


Of course, I had known Buddy…when Buddy was there working for Verne. Buddy came up with me, and we were trying to figure out a name for me.


Back then, they had a big separatist movement going on in Quebec…


Chappell: I hear about that bubbling up occasionally up there.


Humperdink: Well, back then, it was really boiling!


So they were brainstorming trying to figure out a good name for me. And since the people up there hated everything British, everything English, they came up with the name Sir Oliver Humperdink.


Chappell: (laughing) That’s great! I had never heard how that name came about. And of course, it stood the test of time and stuck with you ever since!


Humperdink: That’s how it happened!


Chappell: So, the Hollywood Blondes were the team you really started managing with?


Humperdink: Yes, that’s the team I started with. We started together in 1973 in Montreal. We did the season there to November, and then they ran a couple of special shows around the holidays. Christmastime…when they ran in the Forum in Montreal. Couple of other big shows…they brought us back up for those.


Chappell: I really liked the Blondes as a team. I wish they had gotten even a bigger push with Crockett in 1977. Would have been great if you would have been managing them when they were in the Mid-Atlantic area!


Humperdink: They were a great team. They had the gimmick and everything, but back then, you still had to be able to work!


Chappell: That’s right.


Humperdink: And they were a couple of the best. You mentioned them not getting a bigger push in the Mid-Atlantic in 1977…George (Scott) was trying to get away from it being a tag team territory by then.


Chappell: That’s very true.


Tell us about your times with the Blondes, being that they were the first team that you managed.



Humperdink: A lot of people talk about the first night actually working and how excited they were and how nervous they were…I actually slept on the way to the town!


Chappell: Really?


Humperdink: By that time, I had been around the business a long time…even though I hadn’t acquired the ring time.


Chappell: Well, that’s right. You had surely been around the block a few times by then.


Humperdink: So it wasn’t like they took me out of a foreign environment, and gave me three months training.


But I actually did fall asleep! The first night I ever worked was in Quebec City, and I fell asleep on the trip there from Montreal!


Chappell: Do you have any recollections of that very first show you worked?


Humperdink: I do, indeed. I got suspended!


Chappell: (laughing) Your very first match? For real…or was that part of an angle or something?


Humperdink: Yeah…it was for real, brother.


Chappell: (laughs) Okay, please tell us, what did you do?


Humperdink: We had the Athletic Commission there. And we came in on the night of the Finals of the tag team Tournament…naming new tag team Champions. And in the Finals were Maurice and Paul Vachon versus the Hollywood Blondes and me as their manager.


And the finish was, out of a big four way spot…Jerry Brown and Butcher Vachon would be on the outside of the ring fighting and the referee would kinda be looking at them, and in the meantime [Mad Dog Vachon] gets the stretch on Buddy Roberts and I roll in the ring, and at the time I carried a cane.


Chappell: Managers and canes just seem to go so well together!


Humperdink: With the cane, I go and nail Maurice Vachon with it. He goes down, and I roll out, Buddy tops him…one, two, three and we’re the new Champions.


Well, you know, the only part I was nervous about was hitting Vachon with the cane. Because, you know, you gotta know how to do that correctly!


Chappell: Absolutely.


Humperdink: And Maurice told me in the dressing room before the match, ‘When you hit me with that cane, you better REALLY hit me. If you don’t, I’m gonna take the cane away from you and beat the living crap out of you with it!’


Chappell: (laughing)


Humperdink: And if you know Mad Dog, he was serious!


Chappell: He meant it!


Humperdink: Absolutely…oh yeah!


But it came off, and the Athletic Commission from that point on allowed me to go to the ring, but I had to leave the cane behind.


Chappell: Yeah, some of those Athletic Commissions then could be very strict.


Humperdink: Up into Quebec, Eddy Creachman had been working up there, and Eddy would do everything…


Chappell: (laughs) They were used to trouble with him!


Humperdink: Eddy started riots every night!


Chappell: (laughing)


Humperdink: So, I guess the Commission went, ‘Well, let’s see how this new guy does. If he screws up, he gets suspended.’


So, that was my first night!


Chappell: I can see now how you remember that first match so vividly!


Humperdink: Oh yes!


Chappell: Before that infamous first match you speak of, you had already been around the business for eight years or so. Who did you learn the most from as you were becoming a manager?


Humperdink: The only manager I had seen prior to the time I entered the business, was Bobby Heenan…


Chappell: An all-time great for sure.


Humperdink: Going back to the Minneapolis Auditorium, when I was working security in the corner. So I was right behind Bobby Heenan…watching his back!


Chappell: Up close and personal!


Humperdink: So it would be the crowd, me and then Heenan.


So, David, I got an education from the Professor…the Master!


Chappell: Oh boy, I’m sure you did…and learned your lessons well!


Humperdink: The guys back then, you know, they trusted me. It was very hard back then to get the guys to open up too much, to let you know what was going on.


Chappell: I’m sure.


Humperdink: But they all knew me, and they trusted me. So they let me on to what the finishes were going to be. That was important to me when I was working security, because I would know ahead of time the spots where the fans were probably going to come towards the ring.


Chappell: Very important to you at that juncture!


Humperdink: But Hennan was the Master…he really was.


Chappell: No doubt about it.


Well, did you stay in Canada long, before you went down to Florida where you spent the bulk of your career?


Humperdink: Well like I said, we were up there in ’73 and then we started in Florida, I would say probably November-December of ’73. That was the first time I went to Florida.


Chappell: Other than the weather, what prompted you to go down to Florida?


Humperdink: (laughs) The weather played a part. Eddie Graham…he was a genius---can’t say enough about him. Short territory…not a lot of long trips. You know, we were just coming out of Canada…which was a mega-mile territory.


But I’ll tell you David, the business was so good in Montreal. You hear people talk all the time about a building being so full that they were hanging from the rafters?


Chappell: Yes, a pretty overused cliché.


Humperdink: Well, in Montreal, they did hang from the rafters…literally! There were two promotions there at the time…us and Johnny Rougeau.


Chappell: I remember Ivan Koloff told me that they would literally hang from the rafters up there!


Humperdink: They would! We would hit some towns in Quebec where they would get no other entertainment. You know, they’d come out in droves. I think Ivan worked for Johnny Rougeau.


Chappell: I believe he did as well.


Humperdink: We had the Giant too…Andre. It was one of Andre’s first territories.


Chappell: That’s right.


Humperdink: So business up there was just unbelievable.


Chappell: Florida must have been different on a number of fronts?


Humperdink: Not on a number of fronts, but it was certainly easier than where I’d been


Chappell: The size of the territory?


Humperdink: Right. But then we were in Florida in ’74, when Dusty turned babyface…and that lit that place on fire. And we were part of that too.


Chappell: During that time period, Florida was certainly considered as one of the top, if not the top, territories.


Humperdink: It was doing good business before, but when Dusty turned…it just caught on fire.


Chappell: Why did you stay in Florida for so long?


Humperdink: I always enjoyed Florida…I just loved Florida. It was an easy place, and I was established there…it was like a second home.


Chappell: Where did you live when you were working in Florida?


Humperdink: I lived in Tampa when I was working for the office there. I also lived in Clearwater…but mainly Tampa.


Chappell: You worked the heel side for most of your career, but wasn’t there a period in Florida when you worked as a babyface?


Humperdink: There was, yeah.


Chappell: What happened with that?


Humperdink: It involved Ivan Koloff. And Ivan had a match with Dusty Rhodes. It was Dusty’s hair, versus my valet services for a month. Now, this was way before Babydoll.


Chappell: (laughs) Yeah, I was just gonna say, ‘This sounds familiar!’


Humperdink: Ivan got beat, and I had to be Dusty’s valet!


Chappell: Ouch!


Humperdink: We filmed all these little vignettes, with me polishing Dusty’s car, and things like that. And it got over terrific.


And then it came time for my 30 days to be over, and in the meantime Lord Al Hayes had come in. And he started taking over the House, you know?


Chappell: The House of Humperdink!


Humperdink: After the 30 days were over, I told Al that I was back.


During the 30 days, Al had been associating with Bobby Jaggers and Nikolai Volkoff, and a couple of others. And Al said no way. And then Al Hayes slapped me!




Chappell: I remember that from one of the Apter magazines…the incident on TV where Hayes slapped you and Jaggers and Volkoff backed Hayes.


Humperdink: That’s exactly right.


Chappell: How long were you on the good guy side of the ledger?


Humperdink: I was on the babyface side for at least six months.


Chappell: I’m sure that was quite different for you?


Humperdink: It was REAL different! People that were trying to stab me the week before, were cheering me!


Chappell: Sir Oliver, I never saw the babyface manager as having the kind of impact that a heel manager had.


Humperdink: Well, you had (Arnold) Skoaland up there in New York…


Chappell: True, he does come to mind.


Humperdink: He’s probably the one exception.


But with Rhodes, I got paired with him…and he’d make Adolph Hitler a babyface!


Chappell: (laughing) That’s about right!


Humperdink: And I was beating up the heels. I was doing the same stuff, but I was doing it to the heels.


Chappell: The fans loved it I’m sure…and you were backed by Dusty.


Humperdink: I even did a little program with Al Hayes, and we took that around the horn.


Chappell: I bet that was good! I enjoyed Hayes when he came into the Mid-Atlantic area in 1981.


Humperdink: Sure…they hated Al and they loved me!


Chappell: (laughs)


Weren’t you in Los Angeles for a time as well?


Humperdink: Yes, in 1975 I went to L.A. Me and the Hollywood Blondes, Greg Valentine and a guy named Troy Choisun. This guy Choisun was really unbelievable. He was a martial artist, and he was the kind of guy that could stick long needles through his arm and all that.


We had all gone to L.A. from Florida. Louie Tillet was the new booker out there. When Louie went from Florida to book in L.A., several of us went out there for a while.


Chappell: Where did you head after you left L.A.?


Humperdink: In 1976, we worked for Tri-States…this was Leroy McGuirk’s area---before (Bill) Watts. Parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma…


Chappell: What would later become Mid-South Wrestling.


Humperdink: That’s right