The Solie Chronicles – #4
All Photos Are Courtesy of the Gordon Solie Collection
By Bob Allyn
In September of 1980, Mark Jackson conducted an interview with the “Dean” of wrestling after which he wrote: “Mr. Solie’s cultural awareness enhances his telecasts since the man at the helm has a wider world than that which the regular sportscaster holds.”
It was an accurate description of Gordon Solie, a highly intelligent, well-read man with a vast knowledge of not only professional wrestling but well versed also in other genres such as politics, music, art, movie production, and poetry just to name a few.
Outside of the “squared circle,” Gordon enjoyed a wide variety of other entertainment. Along with his wife, Smoky, Gordon attended Guy Lombardo’s Port-o-Call Resort during its inaugural year in Tierra Verde, Florida. Guest performers that year included talent such as Frank Sinatra, Liberace and Mel Torme.
Lombardo was well known as one of the country’s top band leaders and as the man who ushered in each New Year for Americans with his annual rendition of Auld Lang Syne. The star performance during the evening of Gordon’s visit was screen actress Marlene Dietrich who was accompanied by music arranged by Burt Bacharach. Decades later, Dietrich was named as one of the top ten female stars of all time by the American Film Institute.
On another occasion, the Solie’s went to the Showboat Dinner Theater in Pinellas Park, Florida to see a performance by Mr. and Mrs. Pat O’Brien.
Besides performing along side of James Cagney in several motion pictures, Pat O’Brien headed a cast (including Ronald Reagan) when he portrayed Knute Rockne, the famous football coach at the University of Notre Dame.
More information about the background of America’s former premier wrestling broadcaster is available in The Solie Chronicles, The Life and Times of Gordon Solie.