ICONIC PHILADELPHIA “WONDERFUL CHARACTER” FRANK TALENT HAS DIED. READ SOME MEMORIES OF HIM HERE …

Posted September 8th, 2011 by 1Wrestling News Team

 

From Paul “Big Bear” Swanger (former wrestler “Concrete Cowboy”)

Frank Talent
6 October 1935 to 8 September 2011

Friends, what can we have in life as precious as our friends? Our health? Yes. Our family? Yes. Tonight my very dear friend Bill Apter called to inform me that our mutual dear friend Frank Talent had passed, just weeks after his beloved wife Gussie passed away. Frank died at 7:55 PM in his bed with his family by his side. His nephew Eric told me that Frank died with a smile on his face.
My mind immediately went back through the years to 1977-78 when I first met Pennsylvania Assistant State Athletic Commissioner Frank Talent, I had no idea that we would form a lifelong bond of friendship.
“Thank you for calling, now don’t hang up, your call is very important to me. At the tone leave me your name and number and a short message and I’ll get back to you.” How many times I called and heard Frank’s distinct voice on that out going message? And, you know what? Frank’s message meant that everyone was important to him.
Frank was raised in an orphanage, Saint Joseph’s, thus his love of children. Frank umpired youth baseball games and at one someone grabbed a woman’s purse and ran but Frank quickly pursued and caught the thief. Frank was in his umpire gear at the time!
A real hero, Frank also worked in Philadelphia’s City Hall for 38 years where one day he responded to a call for help, delivering a baby in the hallway. Frank was Assistant Athletic Commissioner for 38 years, presiding over boxing, wrestling, and roller derby. This was where I met Frank as I stepped into the wrestling ring. Frank asked me to meet him at his home where I became his chauffer/body guard as he appeared at so many block parties and playgrounds in the guise of Batman. This was something we repeated many times with Frank in many different guises, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Gizmo, and more.
Frank was on radio, wrote columns for newspapers, appeared on TV, was friends with everyone, he introduced me to Frank Rizzo, Joe Frazier, Mayors; Ed Rendell, Wilson Goode, Milton Street, and so many lawyers and judges, plus then District Attorney Lynne Abraham, Chubby Checker, and Fats Domino, and our dear friend Irv Homer. No celebrity came to Philadelphia that didn’t first coordinate with Frank Talent.
Frank was a very important man yet a very humble man who never lost sight of his own honest, humble beginnings.

Life is the flash of a firefly in the night.

It is the breath of the buffalo in the winter.
It is the little shadow
which runs across the grass
And loses itself in the sunset.
Mark Twain once said “Let us so live, so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.” He must have known Frank.
Walk well your eternal walk with our Savior my friend, I shall grieve my loss but not as long as I shall honor and hold dear the joy and honor of having a friend named Frank Talent. Alani Cha, So Tah.

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Cary Silkin:
”I was saddened when I returned home this evening to find that Frank Talent had passed away.Frank was always fair and quite the character as most will agree. He loved the sport of pro-wrestling and the Philadelphia pro-wrestling and boxing scene won’t be the same without him to say the least, he was always a pleasure never a chore to deal with. He told me a bunch of great stories over the many years I’ve known him and will never be replaced.”

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Rob Feinstien:
“VERY SAD NIGHT TONIGHT: Frank Talent has passed away today. He played a HUGE part in the Philadelphia wrestling scene. He was even at my first WWF event in 1983 that I attended and I worked close with Frank when I ran ROH in Philly.

He was a commissioner for the state and often got in the ring and went into business for himself just to entertain the fans. I used to see him as a kid when I was 10 at all the WWF events. Then when the NWA would run Philly he was always backstage. He was such a nice guy. Like he went out of his way for the kids. So friendly and NEVER in a bad mood. He did all of the early TWA shows for Joel Goodhart and early ECW. He did CZW and was just a true gem. He also LOVED and I mean LOVED giving locker room speeches to the guys. I even had him put into a few ROH spoofs that Doug Gentry filmed and I still have them on tape. They were classic…I remember we had Spanky rib him too. EVERYTIME Frank would see me he was always so nice to me. I often would imitate his voice just to pop everyone around me. I will NEVER forget the sound of his voice. This is a really sad day for wrestling fans in Philly. The shows will never be the same without watching Frank come out to ringside and talk to the fans. This one really hit me hard. RIP Frank Talent you will be missed by everyone in the wrestling business.

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Gino Moore:
o ”We lost a good friend.”

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o Bay Ragni (Chubby Dudley)
o Here are my memories of Frank Talent……….
o
o Frank was a person, who loved the sport of professional wrestling as well as boxing. He was part of the PA Athletic Commission for many years, which was technically a job, but I think he did it more out of love of the business, and getting to be around the shows, the workers, the crew & the crowd. Many times while I promoting L.A.W. shows through the Philly area, Frank would go to the vendor tables and buy a bunch of wrestling figures, and give them out to kids in the crowd just to see those kids faces light up.
o
o Frank always loved to put himself over as well, he needed to make sure he gave a locker room speech before each show, where he put the promotion & the workers over, then he would leave the locker room and go to the timekeepers table, and wait n hope for his spot where he could be part of the show…………or at times, he would just take the mic and put himself into the show.
o
o My three favorite memories of Frank are, one show we could not find a doctor to work our show, so lied to him and told him April Hunter’s mom was a doctor. We had her sitting ringside with Frank, and they had a blast together. The whole show, we were all paranoid that he would find out the truth and possibly shut down the show, but he never found out and years later after I stopped promoting, I told him the truth and he still didn’t believe me.
o
o “The Wrestler” was filming at the arena, so I called Frank and said…..Frank, my wife’s biggest celebrity crush since she was a teenager is Mickey Rourke, can she come down and meet him. Frank met her and my father in law at the arena, brought her right in to meet him, where he posed for pictures with her, gave her a crew t shirt & a towel he used & signed for her. All thanks to Frank.
o
o Last great memory, My wife wanted to re-new our wedding vows, and mentioned it to Frank. He had us come down to city hall, where he had a judge close off a courtroom and had us renew our vows, where Frank was my best man. He didn’t have to do something like that, and honestly when he said it, I figured he was blowin smoke, but he was legit.
o
o A legit real friend, good person, and always a character
o
o RIP Frank……..I’m honored to have known you.
o——————————————————————————————————————————————-
• Sal Corrente:
• “When I worked for the Crockett’s in that area of course he was always around and I remember him coming to some of the Joel Goodhart autograph sessions back in the day. The one moment that really stands out for me was when he told Ric Flair that Connie Selecca was doing a personal appearance very close by and Flair told him to try and get Connie who Frank had been speaking to to walk him to the ring for $10,000.00. I remember Frank running over there as quick as he could but Connie had already left.”

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o From Missy Sampson:
o
o “Frank Talent is as much a part of Philadelphia wrestling as any promoter, wrestler, referee or manager. You always knew he’d come in the back door about five minutes before belltime and insist that you couldn’t start the show until he gave his 4 minute locker room speech. The one most wrestlers could recite verbatim since you heard it every show. I used to try and act busy and get out of it by telling Frank, “Yeah Frank I know, watch my language, no spitting and I’m not bleeding.” He’d inevitably make me go listen to it again anyway. He was someone who wanted all of us to prosper and succeed and would always do whatever he could to help out wrestling and the wrestlers. He loved wrestling and those of us involved in it. So much so that he’d give you his cell phone number and tell you if something happened or you needed something to just call him. He was a caring and giving man who will be missed. RIP Frank. Thanks for always having our backs!”

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Bill Apter–

As a New Yorker living in Philly for the past 18 years I had the pleasure of knowing Frank Talent.  I always enjoyed being around him as he was a real “character,” and I love characters.  The memory I have that stands out about Frank is how he would come into a dressing room, yell out, “I need to have a meeting,” and all the wrestlers in the room would stop what they were doing and go to where Frank was about to hold court.

He tried to be a “hard ass” with them, telling them what they could and could not do and how they could be tossed out of Philly if they were out of line during a show. Everyone listened in silence as Frank bellowed the orders, only he would end it always with a smile, handshakes, and a laugh.  His “hard ass” routine never worked as we all knew it wasn’t the real Frank Talent.

Earlier in this column, my dear friend Paul Big Bear gave his memories of Frank. When Frank found out that Paul and I sang together in an act we did at Senior Homes and Night Clubs, he would always come to me at the wrestling shows in Philly and say, “when are you gonna put me in that act?”  I’m sorry we never did!

A great guy — Frank Talent will be sorely missed by all of us and I’m sure that stretches way far beyond Philly!

Category: Wrestling.

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Comments

  1. By Stefan Herberth, posted

    If ever their was a Good Man, it was Frank Talent. He never forgot anyone in need and was a true friend always. Giving, Helping and sharing his Love was endless, Frank never wanted nothing in return, except that you so your very best. As the movie Pass It ON Well that was Frank- Pass It On and Always help others to become better people. He will be missed and never forgotten. AA True Friend for 40 years. Thanks to Franks Family for the Honor given me. I was at Franks Passing. His eye’s open for a movment and smiled at his last breath to say Thanks I”ll be OK my wife Augusta is waiting along with the LORD. LOVE YOU PAL

  2. By Charles Fuller, posted

    I wrote this FRANK September 24, 2003

    To: Editors of the Public Record

    I have read the snoop column for some time. The snoop has covered a number of topics and subjects. Most are amusing. Some serious others funny, at times very good and others not so good. It’s refreshing to see the true good, the bad and the ugly about our great city. I have noticed the snoop has done articles on every one from the Mayer (I don’t know why, perhaps to suck up. The brothers are running the city you know) to Judges, from the D.A. to the street cop down to the sanitation engineer (trash person) and topics on sports from softball to pro. sports including wrestling.

    If she or he with a name like (the snoop) I am guessing she was any good (she) or this person would have looked closer at one people she had written about in the past.

    MR. Frank Talent. This man has been with our great city for a number of years. Served every Mayer From MR. Frank Rizzo till present Mayer street. MR. Talent has done everything from deliver babies in the hallways of city hall to stop crime in the street, which your paper written about.

    MR. Talent has been involved in sports as far back as the roller derby (The warriors) to wrestling at the arena on market street, Neighborhood softball to pro sports and everything between including community and charitable services at many hospitals not only in the area but as far as Redding

    This I know. I was assistant scout master some 36 years ago when MR. Talent donated his time and services to our troop. MR. Talent peeked my interest with his commitment and drive to kids so I kept tabs on him over the years.

    It’s amazing what one man can do for a city and sports. I’ve often wondered why he was not Athletic Commissioner, Honored and recognized for his accomplishments and contributions by our fine city. MR. Talent has touched many lives and willing to help anyone whom needs it.

    This city has no idea what an asset it has and ignored. Philadelphia is a great city because of people like him

    I challenge anyone whom is in office or not MR. Talent has helped over the years to write and support him. Come on all of you sports and wrestling fans, judges, lawyers and yes even our governor MR. Rendell He was and is there for you. Be there for him….

    Charles Fuller

    PS
    Dear Snoop
    If you are any good! Can you find out who the Batman of city Hall is?

    TIP (you need one)

    Check the front page covers of the Daily News in the 70′s.
    EVERYTHING IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD!!!!!

    This city has lost more then it will ever know R. I. P Mr TALENT

  3. By sean fullet, posted

    I would like to thank all of u for saying all them great things about my uncle his sister Elizabeth fuller would also like to thank u

  4. By Cherie Savoy, posted

    I’d like to thank everyone for sharing your memories. I am Frank’s niece, and was one of many family members that stood by his bedside as he passed on to a better place. It was a bitter sweet moment. He wanted nothing more than to be with his “honey”, Aunt Gussie, since the day she passed. I use to visit Aunt Gussie in the hospital and I would read the note pad that was sitting by her bed side. Uncle Frank always started his morning by visiting his honey, and left her many love notes on that notepad and always signed “Love your Frankie”. It was a real life love story. Please continue to share your thoughts with us. It is very comforting to know how he has effected everyone’s life. Also, we would like to invite all his friends to his viewing/funeral.

    The viewing will take place at Givnish Funeral home on Sunday at 7pm-9pm, Monday 8am-9am and funeral services will begin at 10am.

    Thanks again for all of your kind words.

  5. By Cherie Savoy, posted

    Givnish Funeral home located at 10975 Academy Road, Philadelphia PA

  6. By Cherie Savoy, posted

    A youtube video of Uncle Frank:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sSWtm71ulE

    (copy and paste into the address bar)

  7. By Danny Maff, posted

    I’ll miss you my friend. I always smiled when i saw Frank, it was always a good time and he loved everyone. He always loved when I would gather up the boys in the locker room and give him a personal introduction before he would deliver his pre show speech. Frank was always good for a laugh or two and he was never in a bad mood. You will be missed my friend!

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