Friday, October 30, 2015

Jerry Bledsoe Articles on Tom Miller a Double-Edged Sword

I've recently been enjoying some old newspaper articles about Tom Miller that Carroll Hall (over at the "All Star Championship Wrestling" website) came across awhile back. We both liked "Truckin'" Tom Miller as both a TV wrestling host and ring announcer in the 1970s and 1980s in the mid-Atlantic area.

Tom Miller
Tom was also a well-known and well-loved radio personality in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Danville and all over the southeast hosting shows aimed at late-night truck drivers and country music fans. He and his shows won several radio broadcasting awards.

North Carolina writer/publisher Jerry Bledsoe wrote these articles back in the 1970s and 1980s in the defunct Greensboro Daily News. Bledsoe is a very successful journalist and author of several best selling true-crime novels.

Reading Jerry's articles was a mixed blessing for me. First of all, it was wonderful he enjoyed writing so much about Tom; his writing serves as a record of a talented man and local personality that might otherwise not exist. These articles provide wonderful memories of Tom and his off-beat sense of humor, and gave Tom great exposure in the Greensboro area at the time.  But despite Jerry's obvious fondness for his friend, he never gave Tom's work in professional wrestling much weight.

Tom Miller loved his association with pro wrestling, as he related to his family and those who knew him. His connection with Jim Crockett Promotions out of Charlotte began in 1976 when he co-hosted the "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" program taped at WRAL-5 in Raleigh with the legendary Bob Caudle.  Miller filled in that summer for David Crockett who was attending to the other family business at that time, the Charlotte O's minor league baseball franchise.

Miller also hosted "Wide World Wrestling" for several months in 1977 after Ed Capral departed and before Rich Landrum took over the show on a permanent basis, and replaced North Carolina broadcast Hall-of-Famer Charlie Harville as ring announcer for bi-weekly matches at the Greensboro Coliseum in the late 1970s. In the mid-1980s, Miller was also the occasional ring announcer on television for main event matches, as well as for many of the early Crockett pay-per-view events. In the late 1980s, Miller was the voice for the local promo voice-overs on the syndicated "NWA Pro Wrestling" and "World Wide Wrestling" programs that went to markets all over the country.

But Jerry Bledsoe never seemed to want to mention Tom's work in that area with any sort of genuine enthusiasm. I think he looked down on wrestling a little bit, or at least it seemed that way from the scatter-shot wrestling references he made reading these articles. There is no doubt Tom Miller's first love was radio, and the gigs with Jim Crockett Promotions weren't a full time career. But they were a wonderful part of Tom's life, and it's not a stretch to say he was more well known in later years because of his work in wrestling than he ever was in radio.

Don't get me wrong; I am forever thankful to Mr. Bledsoe for writing about Tom Miller. I have loved reading these articles. Bledsoe did write ten years earlier about a night of TV tapings at WRAL when Tom Miller had just gotten his co-hosting job with Jim Crockett promotions. The positives of these articles far outweigh any negatives. I just wish Tom's wrestling work had been reflected on there more positively within the context of the articles written specifically about him.

I am posting some of these articles on Tom Miller over at the Studio Wrestling website. Even though they are not directly wrestling-related, they color in the lines of one of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's great voices and personalities. You will always be able to find them there, and any other post related to Tom, using this filter link:

The first article is up, from 1987, recollecting a phone call between Bledsoe and Miller where Tom outlined "13 crimes that have yet to be committed or have not yet been reported" and these had me laughing out loud. Tom Miller was a classic!

It's Miller Time over at Studio Wrestling.