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Tinker's Tales by Tinker Todd

A native of London, England, Tinker Todd came to the United States in 1952 and wrestled throughout Europe.  He became a fixture in the Carolinas during the heyday of Jim Crockett Sr.  In "Tinker's Tales", he brings his British sense of humor to the pages of 1wrestlinglegends.com.


Paul Jones and the Boss's Son

When I was working in Charlotte, I attended school during the day to become an electrician.  I got my degree and when I quit the wrestling business, I got a job as an electrician.  The boss stuck me with his son ... this little, pimple-faced, pencil-neck kid.  They called him Young Doc.  He wouldn't leave me alone.  For eight hours a day ... who did I wrestle, where have you been, who was this guy, who was Bolo, who was that guy.  He got on my nerves so bad and was driving me crazy!  Being the boss' son, though, I had to be careful.

Eventually, my time came.  He used to go to the Park Center down in Charlotte on Monday nights.  He come into work and said, "Ooohhh!  Paul Jones, my favorite, is on the main event down there.  I'm going down."  I said, "Oh, I know Paul Jones very well.  I'll write you a note.  When you get there, give it to him and he'll invite you into the dressing room where you can meet all the guys and get their autographs."  "Fantastic!"

Away he goes.  Now it was a habit with a lot of guys, especially the babyfaces, to stand outside and watch the matches and the girls.  Paul and a couple of guys were standing outside, so he walks up, hands him the letter, and says, "This is from Tinker Todd."  Paul takes it inside and reads what I wrote down.  He comes out, calls Young Doc forward, and takes him in the dressing room.  A lot of the guys are naked, towels around their waist, and so forth.  Paul had instructed them all in what to do.  They all started puttin' their arms around him, kissin' him on the neck and ears, saying what lovely flesh he has, and all this stuff.  Paul's saying, "Darling, will you meet me after the match," and all that.  He fought his way out of that damn dressing room.

When he comes in the next day, he comes nowhere near me.  Oh, what a wonderful day that was!  He had to come into the canteen during the break to get a snack.  I said, "Hey, what's wrong, Doc?  How come you haven't been around to see me?  What happened last night?"  He said, "All you damn wrestlers are gay!"  I said, "Wait a minute!  Don't you dare say that about me.  Are you calling me gay?"  Well, that was my excuse.  That was my opening.  I told the boss, "Hey, I don't appreciate being called "damn gay" by your son."  The old man was mad.  He called Doc in and cussed him out.  Needless to say, he didn't hang around me no more, thank God!

We did the same thing to Billy Spears when he first came in.  Paul Jones and I played a rib on Billy when he went into the shower after working the first match.  I said, "Paul, isn't he delicious looking!"  Paul says, "I'll say.  I really love him."  So we both walked behind him into the showers.  I said, "Say, Paul.  What about these tiles on the wall?"  Spears turned white as a ghost.  Billy told me afterwards, "I heard that English accent and thought you really were like that."


The Dazzler

In 1956, I was in England, just finishing up.  I was approached by one of the English wrestlers.  I don't remember for sure, but I think it was a fellow by the name of the Dazzler.  He asked me if I'd like to go to Frankfort, Germany for one match.  It paid 300 pounds.  In them days, it was two dollars and eighty cents to a pound.  That was pretty good money.  I said, "Yeah, sure!"  That would give me a chance to get to Frankfort and see one of my brothers, who was a sergeant in the Regimental Police.

I called the promoter in Frankfort and asked what hotel I should book in at.  He said he'd pick me up that night.  I said, "Well, I'd like to bring my brother and some of his friends."  He said, "Sure."  He picked us up in a big, old limousine.  That was unusual in Germany.  He took us to this place and dropped me off at the back.  I was wearing a hood and billed as the American champion.

We went through a massive beer hall and upstairs into an office.  I was unaware of what was going down below.  When they come and got me, I walked down and there was about five hundred people there.  They was all gays ... all dressed up as drag queens.  They looked like the French Angel with wigs on ... big, bulky guys.  My brother and his friends are sitting at ringside in their best uniforms.  They were just sittin' there with their hands in the laps, and these drag queens are all over ‘em.

The ring was the smallest ring I ever wrestled in.  I'd say it was about ten by ten on the ground with widely spaced ropes.  I get into the ring and I'm embarrassed as the dickens.  In comes this referee ... he prances in.  Then in comes this big, blond giant ... with a tiara on his head, a gown with a fur collar ... and diamond studded wrestling boots.  I don't mind tellin' ya.  I was scared to death.  In fact, I was more embarrassed for my brother.

To make a long story short, we were introduced.  He smelt terrible ... all perfume and everything.  All these gays are reachin' through the ropes and strokin' me.  I go to my corner and he comes flying at me.  What was it my brother said?  Let's see if I can get it right.  "I thought he was gonna do a flyin', double liplock on you."  He come at me and he slapped me.  I was embarrassed, so I panicked and hit him right in the mouth.  He went back ... and honestly.  I never heard a scream like that when he touched that blood on his lip.  He sat down.  I didn't know what to do.  All of a sudden, I got drowned with about fifty gallons of beer thrown from ringside.  Then they start coming in the ring.  They have these long, big fingernails and they was clawin' at me.  The referee ... he panicked.

I got out and got with my brother and his friends.  In truth, I don't remember how in the heck we got to the back and into a taxi cab.  We all went pilin' in on top of one another.  When we got to their barracks, they wouldn't let me go in with ‘em. So I got back to my hotel room ... minus my clothes.

The next morning, I didn't know what to do.  Luckily for me, I left my passport and my wallet in the hotel.  I didn't take ‘em to the dressing room.  I had to get back for my clothes.  I went back and, end of the story, no clothes, no money.  I got the heck out as quick as I could.  That may not be all that funny, but it was a very dangerous situation.  My brothers' friends were in their best uniforms and had buttons and such ripped off.  Years later, my brother told me he had never been so embarrassed, because it had went around the barracks that I was wrestlin' queers and fairys.  Oohh!

There was an idea that crossed my mind several years ago.  I enjoy humor and I think most of your readers do.  In future issues, I'm going to reveal my innermost revelations to the world ... to the boys ... to the fans.  These revelations will be answers to the questions that most of us would ask concerning the wrestling business.

Many years ago, I was given divine revelations by my guardian angel, Bruce.  He set out some laws ... the old orders that wrestlers are to follow ... the "Secrets of the Brotherhood of Old Wrestlers."  After I was given the revelations, I made my way into the world, where I became known far and wide as Daniel the Beloved, the carpenter from the Far East.  I'll tell you about the Brothers of Pain and Suffering, and how they suffered in the ring against the Unbelievers ... but that is another story, dear reader, for another time.  Until the next time, goodbye.


The Gospel According to St. Tink, part 1

Dear Readers:  This column is not meant to be sacrilegious.  It is simply a way for me to present my memories of the wrestling business in a humorous fashion.  I hope you enjoy it.  —  Tinker Todd

Greetings, dear Reader.  I am writing to let you in on the many secrets of the wrestling world.  I have many stories that have never been told, and I will share them with you, dear Reader ... things that are unknown to the fans and the wrestlers themselves.  Like the Mafia and the Masons, the wrestling business has many dark secrets.  I will tell you of secret rites, secret signs, secret words, and many other mysteries.

Since stating my plans to do this, I have received many threats by phone and letter, but I will go ahead and reveal these things to you.  When I was approached by Scott Teal to write these missives, I told him, "Scotty, you know that I cannot lie.  It is impossible.  Many years ago, I took the wrestler's oath."  Scott took this upon himself and said, "St. Tinker, go ahead.  Please reveal all about professional wrestling."

First, dear Reader, permit me to introduce myself.  For twenty-seven years, I was known as Tinker Todd, Ray St. Clair, Oliver Winrush, and many other names.  I used these names to keep ahead of the income tax man.  Despite all my precautions, I was finally caught.  I was sent before the tribunal in Charlotte, where I presented my case with tears in my eyes.  All of the tax collectors who were present took up a collection for me and sent me on my way.  I'd like to thank the many tax collectors who hounded me and the many promoters I personally knew who gave me such a glorious life.

I was known by my opponents for my gentleness, who held their arms above their head as I proudly pressed my shoulders to the canvas.  If I threw a punch to their face, they would return it fifteen-fold, which I gladly accepted.  I was known for not ever bringing a sweat to my opponent's body.  I was generous.  I would never ask promoters for gold or silver, but copper.  I didn't work in the big cities, but brought joy to the multitudes in small towns, and villages in the hills, that were ignored by other wrestlers.

You, dear Reader, may wonder why I was so good and pious.  The secret is out.  I belonged to a secret church within the wrestling world known as the Brothers of Pain and Suffering.  Little of us is known amongst other wrestlers.  We have taken a vow of pain, suffering and poverty.  I still continue at this late age.  Daily, I go into the streets of Mooresville and sell blessings to the people.  Five dollars a blessing, or four for fifteen dollars.  I will not accept checks.

Today, in the late years of my life, I live in Mooresville, North Carolina.  Each morning, with the help of my two grandsons, my wife will lift me out of the bed and take me to the toilet, where I sit each morning with head bowed, meditating and giving thanks to the many promoters who have led me to this glorious life.  I am then picked up and taken to my wheelchair, where I am fed from a can.  After I swallow my pain pills, I am wheeled forward to the town of Mooresville, where I spend many happy hours with old, retired wrestlers in the soup kitchen.  We delight in the many hours spent talking about our past glories.  I especially like Monday, when they serve chicken soup.  I am loved by these men, who know me as Daniel the Beloved.  The stories I tell them bring tears to their eyes.  Many of them come to the kitchen with their scrapbooks under their arms, filled with memories of their past glories.  We study them daily.

One Sunday morning, about two o'clock, a voice came to me out of the darkness.  It was my guardian angel, Bruce.  I hadn't seen him in many years.  I thought he'd come to take me home, but it wasn't to be.  I said, "Oh, Bruce.  Such a long time."  And he replied, "Daniel, beloved.  You have done well to have suffered much pain, sorrow and poverty.  But now, my son.  There's one more thing before I take you.  You have been approached by Scott Teal.  He wants you to write a few chapters.  This thou shall do.  As no lie has passed thy lips in the forty years since you have taken the vow, you must tell him the truth about the organization of professional wrestling.  You must tell the truth about the organizations and the secret signs.  Do not hold anything back.  If you do these things, in a short time, I will take you to your reward.  But for now, I will leave you on this planet, to tell your story as a television preacher would."  Tears filled my eyes and I said, "Thank you, Bruce."  And he vanished.

So dear Readers.  Let us go back about forty years, to an afternoon when I was walking on top of a beautiful mountain in North Carolina.  That was the first time I met Bruce, my guardian angel.  He stood before me, dressed in purple, adorned with gold rings, long hair decked with flowers, and ballet slippers on his feet.  He looked at me and said, "Daniel, beloved!"  I threw myself down and asked, "Who are you?"  He said, "I am thy guardian angel ... Bruce.  Daniel, if you follow my advice for the next twenty years, your reward will be great."  I said, "I will do anything."  He said, "You will become a professional wrestler and go forth to the East, to the Kingdom of Tennessee.  There you will dwell among the tribe called Rednecks, and you will suffer much amongst those good people and starve for forty years.  But, it will prepare you for things to come.  From this day on, you will go forth and be known throughout the land as Daniel the Beloved."  He spoke a few words more, then he was gone.


The Gospel According to St. Tink, part 2

Dear Readers:  This column is not meant to be sacrilegious.  It is simply a way for me to present my memories of the wrestling business in a humorous fashion.  I hope you enjoy it.  —  Tinker Todd

I made my way to the Kingdom of Tennessee.  The life of the Rednecks was hard, but their hearts were good.  I lived amongst them, drinking of their powerful drink, and eating of their food called grits.  After a year of this suffering, a voice told me to go to the West, to the town of Nashville, into the province of the Sam Davis Hotel.

As I walked into the lobby of the Sam Davis, there sat about a hundred men, young and old, all in rags.  They had a pious look on their face.  I walked amongst them, asking many questions, and was told that they were the Brothers of Pain and Suffering.  They had dedicated their lives to this.  At the stroke of nine, the doors to a magnificent office opened.  We filed in with our heads bowed and our hands clasped together.  There before us, behind a magnificent desk, sat a majestic figure.

I was told that he was King Nick Gulashi, the great High Priest Bitch.  He was dressed in a five-hundred dollar suit — with alligator shoes on his feet and diamond rings on his fingers.  He rose and held out his arms.  As he came to the front, we prostrated ourselves before him.  He shouted out the words, "Welcome, Brothers.  My blessings on you."  We rose and walked forward, crowding in front of him, offering the gifts that we had brought.  My gift was danish and coffee, with two sugars.

King Gulashi then said these powerful words, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"  There was silence as no answer came to our mind.  Then he said, "To get to the other side of the road."  A look of wonder came upon everyone's face and we all burst into great laughter.  The echo from the slapping of knees resounded from the great walls of the great room.  Tears of laughter ran down the cheeks of many.  This was truly a modern Solomon who stood before us.

He turned his back to us and bent over as he dropped his trousers.  We silently crept forward in twos, each of us placing a light, gentle kiss on both sides of his buttocks.  Some were so devoted, especially among the older disciples, that they kissed in the middle.  When I kissed his buttocks, I felt this tingling in my lips.  I knew then that my lips were purified and, from that day forth, I could not lie.

There was much sobbing amongst the disciples as he walked amongst us, placing his hands on bowed heads, saying, "Nashville ... Knoxville ... Memphis ..." and all the great cities in Tennessee.  This brought much joy to those whom he offered those blessings.

To others, he said, "Dog Patch ... Rabbit Run ... Union City ... Johnson City."  Their heads dropped in grief, but they were young in body and spirit, and accepted it gracefully.  The disciples rose, and in twos, silently left the room.

The High Priest then returned to his desk, picking up some of the gifts of cake, pie and coffee.  As he turned, it seemed like he noticed me for the first time.  The cake dropped out of his hand.  The coffee splashed to the floor.  These words left his lips.  "It is he.  As has been prophesied, he has come to us."  He ran towards me.

Two young men, who stood to his left and right, followed quickly in his footsteps.  The one on the left was large of nose and thin of hair.  He looked like a friend that I met later in life ... Len Rossi.  But it was not he.  To his right, with a most joyous smile on his face, and even thinner of hair, was a man from the Far East, who I also came to know later in life, by the name of Tojo Yamamoto.  But it was not he.

The High Priest placed his hands on my shoulders and said, "My son.  Art thou willing to accept this life of pain and suffering?"  I dropped my head, with tears in my eyes, and said, "Yes, your eminence."  He said, "From this moment, you shall be known as my son.  You shall be known as Son of Bitch."

"These are the things you shall do whilst in the Kingdom of Tennessee."

"You shall prostrate yourself on the mat, with your shoulders firmly pressed to the canvas.  Extend your arms out from your side, palms up, your feet together.  With this action, you will be known throughout the nation, and you will be loved by many promoters in many lands.  But remember, my son.  When you are in the ring with the Unbelievers, they will kick thy body, and punch thy face, and kick thy face with their boot.  And they will attempt to pull thee up by the hair."

"But resist them.  Firmly press your shoulders to the canvas, and move them not until the count of three.  Then in disgust, my son, they will leave the ring, and you will have triumphed.  You will be known for this and welcomed into many kingdoms."

"These men, known as the Unbelievers, are giant men.  Their only desire is to get into the ring to beat and kick the young disciples.  Their intent is to win their match at all costs.  They will revert to much evil.  However, these men will be soft of body, for they dwell in the places called Hotels.  They sleep on soft beds, sometimes between silk sheets, and dine on the finest of food.  They will eat steak, lobster, pie, wines, beer, and smoke many cigars."

"However, those luxuries will be a curse to them.  As they sleep on the soft beds, they will suffer with indigestion and heartburn.  But you, my son, will never suffer these things, because you will live on bread and fish, and small tins of sardines.  You shall not dwell in the hotels.  Is it not written that you should go into a small place to meditate and pray?  This small place will be the back seat of your car.  There you will pray, meditate, and sleep ... each night.  And your lips will cry out with thanks to these great promoters who brought you such joy."

We proceeded back into the great hall, where he picked up a suitcase.  He said, "My son.  I will now make a penance on myself by going to the land known as Florida.  For forty days, I shall lay on the hot sands during the daylight hours.  The sun will beat down on my back, but this I will endure as I pray and give thanks for thee and the other young disciples."  With that, he left the building.

As he walked through the lobby, both the young and old disciples threw themselves at his feet.  Then a young man with the beautiful smile walked up, a young man who looked like Dick Steinborn, but it was not he.  He said, "Son of Bitch.  At dawn on the day after the next, you shall return to this Great Palace of the Tennessee High Priest, upon which time I will read to you from our sacred papers."

If I may suggest some alternate readings until we meet again, dear Reader, you might consider "The Scriptures According to St. Thesz."


The Gospel According to St. Tink, part 3

Dear Readers:  This column is not meant to be sacrilegious.  It is simply a way for me to present my memories of the wrestling business in a humorous fashion.  I hope you enjoy it.  —  Tinker Todd

Greetings again, dear Reader. I begin where I left off in the last manuscript.

On the morning of the next day, before the sun had risen above the horizon, I was waiting outside the massive doors of the Great Palace of Nick Gulashi, the Tennessee High Priest. When the door swung open, I entered and pushed my way through the multitude of young disciples. I was received by the young, blond man with the beautiful smile on his face, who looked like Dick Steinborn, but I know it wasn't he. He took me to the side and said these words.

"The High Priest left these instructions for you. Thou shalt leave this morning and make thy way to Union City. Thou shalt enter a barn, where thou wilt be greeted by a multitude of people, about thirty in number.

First, thou shall give them the sign of the finger and say these words, ‘To thee, my blessings, tribe of Rednecks.' Thou wilt see much evil leave their face, but they in return will give thee the blessing back. You will then enter the barn and before you will be the altar, also called the ring. Fear not to tread on this, because it is made out of steel and cement. On it will be a canvas drawn tightly about it. It will be sprinkled with much blood of those who have gone before you.

Go to the room of undress, where you shall undress thyself and dress thyself as a young warrior. When thou are called upon to enter the ring, the multitude will scream at you with joy and love. Stand in the middle of the ring and you will give to the four sides the middle finger. Go to the corner.

At the sound of the bell, thou will about turn and walk to the center of the ring, where you will meet one of the Unbelievers. He will kick thee. He will punch thee. He will pull you by the hair. He will throw you from the ring. But each time, get back in. When he is exhausted, throw thyself to the canvas and press tightly thy shoulders. Wait there for the sound of "one, two, three." Leave the ring and go back to the room of undress, where thou shalt strip thyself nakedly and go into the room of wash. On many occasions, the unbeliever will follow you in. He will admire and respect you so that he will slap your back and hug thy neck. But remember ... thou art naked.

On entering the room of undress, you will be approached by a man called a promoter. He will have much grief in his eyes and he will offer thee fifteen small coppers. Take not the fifteen, but just five. This will bring much joy to the promoter. He will spread thy name throughout all the Kingdoms, and thy name will be well received."

At this, the young, blond man with the beautiful smile on his face, who looked like Dick Steinborn, although I knew it wasn't, stopped and placed the paper on my lips, which I kissed. He then said, "What transportation carries you away?" To which I remarked, "A 1939, 6-cylinder Ford." To this he said, "On the morn, thou shalt be here at ten of the hour, and thou shalt take with thee to Union City, a town to the East, six of thy brother Disciples. Four of them shall be from Mexico, and the other two from Tennessee. Care for them well."


The Gospel According to St. Tink, part 4

Dear Readers:  This column is not meant to be sacrilegious.  It is simply a way for me to present my memories of the wrestling business in a humorous fashion.  I hope you enjoy it.  —  Tinker Todd

Blessed are those who want to be wrestlers, strong of body, but weak of mind.

Blessed art those who shalt have their shoulders pinned to the mat, for they shalt be called Carpenters.

Blessed art those who get into the business and can't wrestle.  They shalt be known as the Brothers of Pain and shalt get the hell kicked out of them for many generations.

Blessed are those who dwell in Tennessee, for they truly will starve.

Blessed are those who receive not silver or gold, but accept copper only.

Blessed are those who work within the ring, also known as the altar.

Blessed are those who throw a punch to their opponent, and take fifteen back with a smile on their face.

Blessed art those who sweat in the ring, for their perspiration shall bring discomfort to their opponent.

Blessed are those who do not break wind on the altar known as the ring, for this will bring much discomfort to the referee.

Blessed are those who are gay, for their eyes will be delighted in many dressing rooms.

The brethren shall go to the Temple of the High Priest, and like the sheep, they shalt be fleeced.

Should the High Priest beseech you to go twenty minutes, thou shalt go the full twenty plus forty, much to the delight of the brethren that you will be wrestling.

Thou shalt enter the ring with reverence, but fear not to tread upon that altar with confidence, for it is secure, made of cement and iron.

At the sound of the bell, you shall go to the center of the ring, calmly and lightly laying your palms upon thy brother's breast.  Carry out your actions with ease and with gentleness, and your brethren will gently to the canvas go.

As you drop to the canvas, thou shalt circle your brethren's head with thy legs.  Apply no pressure, no pain to your brethren.  Stay loose and make thyself comfortable.

When the bell resounds, you shall come forth to be placed in the hands of the Unbelievers and be sacrificed like a lamb.  Be wary of them, for the Unbelievers are of the tribe of Shooters, and will undertake to get into the ring and beat your ass.  The Brothers of Pain will vainly attempt to fight these enemies, but will not prevail.

If thy opponent should strike thy right cheek, turn to them the other.

The Unbelievers shalt live on steak, kosher pork shops, beer and wine, while the Brothers of Pain shall live on bread, bologna and sardines in expectation of the reward that is to come.

A curse upon those who throw a hard punch and bring false blood.

Thou shalt take thy brother home and not charge transportation, but supply him with Kentucky Fried Chicken, beer and cigars.

Never a lie should cross your lips, as your lips have been purified when they touched the bottom of Jim Crockett and others of the order of High Priest.

A secret sign of blessing shall be made to the High Priest by all wrestlers.  The sign is to be a clenching of the fist, with the third finger erected.  From a level below the waist, they shalt bring it up twice and point it in their direction.  Upon this sign, there shall be screams of joy and delight from the multitude.  The sacred sign will bring the demons of anger out of the High Priests.

Should the High Priest feel that you are worthy of your hire, he shall pay you not in silver and gold, but instead in copper.  He will give thee in thy hands fifteen packets of one hundred copper, which thou wilt decline, with love in thy heart towards your master, and accept but five packets.

Thy name will go across the lands to other High Priests, and they will think a lot of you.

After forty years of wandering, the Brothers of Pain shall go to the south and lay down in the kingdom of Cowboy Luttrall.

 
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