THE SOLIE CHRONICLES: GORDON SOLIE & THE HALL OF HEROES

Posted September 1st, 2011 by 1Wrestling News Team

Photo above by Pam Allyn

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Bob Allyn

The Dean and the Hall of Heroes

On August 5, 2011, the “Dean” of wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie, was inducted into yet another
professional wrestling hall of fame. This time, it was during the NWA Legends Fanfest “Hall of Heroes”
ceremony in Atlanta, Ga.

In years gone by, Gordon was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame, the Professional Wrestling Hall of
Fame, the NWA Hall of Fame and the WWE Hall of Fame. Just prior to the August Fanfest, Gordon was
also inducted into the Gerweck Hall of Fame.

It was the first visit for my wife, Pam, and I to one of Greg Price’s Fanfests. We heard through the
grapevine that Greg normally conducted a professionally run event with plenty of talent on hand.

As we walked into the hotel ballroom on Friday just after 10 AM, the first person we encountered was
none other than Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. I shook hands and said “hi” and Jimmy responded with his
usual “peace brother.” For a man who was so crazy in the ring, Jimmy is extremely laid back outside the
ring and fun to hang out with.

While speaking to Jimmy, I turned and noticed a very long line of fans waiting for autographs from the
Iron Sheik. After our conversation finished, Pam and I went over and said hello to our publisher, Scott
Teal, and his wife, Angela. Stan Hansen was there and we listened intently as he talked about the fun
interviews that he had with Gordon Solie on “Georgia Championship Wrestling.”

Shortly afterwards, we heard an announcer speaking from the stage in the room. It was none other
than Joe Pedicino. He was accompanied by his wife, Bonnie Blackstone, and they were conducting an
interview with “Thunderbolt” Patterson. As soon as the interview was over, we said hi to Thunderbolt,
Joe and Bonnie. While we were speaking, Bill Apter came up and warmly greeted us and followed by
entertaining us with the usual Apter humor.

By then, the room had a buzz with plenty of fans looking to buy merchandise from the vendors or
waiting for photos/autograph sessions with the legends. Pam and I went over and spoke briefly with
Ivan and Renee Koloff. Although Ivan was busy signing his name, he stopped for a bit to shake hands and
say hello. I had spoken to him on the phone just few weeks before the Fanfest and it was great to see
him again.

Harley Race was signing autographs at another table and like the Iron Sheik; he had a long line of fans
waiting to meet him. On the other side of Harley was a table with a couple of Divas; Maria of WWE fame
and So Cal Val from Impact Wrestling.

Pam and I left for a short time in order to visit her grandfather’s grave which is located about 25 minutes
away from the host hotel. Upon our return, we saw Mike Mooneyham and decided to go have lunch
with him. Mike’s wife, Ruth, joined us shortly after we were seated and we had a great time visiting with
the Mooneyhams.

As we reentered the ball room, I ran into Scooter Leslie, a former wrestling ring announcer/
photographer. Although Scooter and I had spoken several times via the phone over the years, it was the
first time that we actually met face-to-face. Scooter owns the Gene Gordon Collection which spans a
large volume of photos from the Georgia Championship Wrestling TV days. Some of the photos in the
book and on the cover of “The Solie Chronicles” are copyright property of Scooter Leslie.

The time was drawing near to change clothes and get ready for the Hall of Heroes banquet so we left
the ballroom. As we headed down the hallway, we said hi to Tony Atlas and stopped briefly to chat with
JJ Dillon who was scheduled to MC the Hall of Heroes induction ceremony.

A short time later, we were waiting in line to get our table assignment and it was like old home week.
We caught up with Howard Brody and Ed Plant who used to do production work for Dory Funk in Ocala.
Once we entered the banquet room, we couldn’t help but noticed that the place was packed with
legends like DDP, Ronnie Garvin, Mr. Wrestling II, Joe Hamilton aka the Assassin, Dory and Terry Funk,
Matt Morgan; the list goes on and on.

All of the fans who attend the banquet get to sit at a dinner table with at least one of the legends. Pam
and I were at a table with Steve “O” and Nick Bock winkle. It was the first time that we met Steve but
we had met Nick before and has always been one of our favorite legends to visit with. David Wills was
seated on the other side of Pam. You might remember him as the crying wrestling fan who appeared
on “TOSH.O.”

After dinner, JJ Dillon took the stage and introduced a variety of presenters and each was followed by
an inductee or a representative. Finally, the moment arrived and JJ introduced Roddy Piper. Roddy
was hilarious as usual during his induction of Gordon Solie but paused for some sentimental moments
as well. He recounted his first appearance on “Georgia Championship Wrestling” and mentioned that
promoter Jim Barnett was less than enthusiast about Roddy’s first shot on the set. Barnett mentioned
getting rid of Roddy before Gordon and Freddy Miller came to his defense. They explained that Roddy
just spent $2,500 on a new wardrobe and deserved a second chance. The rest is history but Roddy is still
grateful that Gordon went to bat for him.

During his talk, Roddy mentioned that he had been fired on several occasions throughout his career. I
am mentioning that because it happened again that evening. When it came time to introduce Pam and
me, things went awry. We both planned to say a few words but just like a “shoot,” things took a course
of their own.

Roddy mentioned that Gordon’s daughter was in the house and would be accepting the induction on
Gordon’s behalf; then he said that her name was Lane Bedford. The people that know us were looking in
disbelief and wondering who the hell that person was.

Regardless, Pam and I went up to the stage. She shook hands with Roddy and explained that she was
Pam Allyn, not Lane Bedford. With his hand covering the microphone and in a quiet voice, Roddy
said “I’m sorry.” Pam jokingly said “You’re fired!” While still covering the mike, Roddy turned and looked
at me and said “Who the hell are you!” In an effort to be humorous I responded with “I’m the guy who is
going to go home and tear up our Roddy Piper poster!” He looked at me like I was crazy and then turned
back to Pam.

At that time, Roddy sat down next to JJ and Pam began to address the crowd. She did an admirable job
and along the way got everyone laughing a bit. When she was finished speaking, she turned and looked
at me and motioned for me to come to the mike. I told her that she did a great job and there was no
need for me to say anything.

We headed back to our table while JJ told the attendees that the Hall of Heroes ceremony was officially
over for the Class of 2011. Pam was quickly converged upon by fans and legends alike that were very
gracious in regard to their sentiments for the late Gordon Solie.

Afterwards, we visited with one of Gordon’s dearest friends, Dotty Curtis. Since Gordon’s death, Dotty
has always been there for Pam and continues to show why Gordon held her in such high esteem.

Overall, we had a blast at Greg Price’s Fanfest and appreciate the courtesy that we were shown.

More information about Gordon Solie and the legends he worked with is available in “The Solie
Chronicles; the Life and Times of Gordon Sole.”

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