Sunday, November 14, 2021

Jerry Blackwell and the Concession Stand

Greenville SC Memories
by Don Holbrook
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

In the early to mid 1970’s, before he was known as Crusher Blackwell, Jerry Blackwell came in for a couple stretches to work for Jim Crockett Promotions. He was in Greenville one Monday night on the undercard. I think he was in the second match of the night. I walked into the back stage area in the hallway that leads to the stairway going downstairs to the dressing rooms. I was standing there talking with the police officer who worked the door entering the arena floor area. The fans were forbidden from entering that door.

So I’m standing there and I heard someone coming up the stairway. I looked and it was Jerry Blackwell in his street clothes. He sort of nodded at me and I spoke to him. He walked past me to the exit door, opened it and took a look out back of the building. He walked back over and said, “Is there someplace around here I can get a coke?” I said, yes, and as I began pointing out into the arena and giving him the directions to the nearby concession stand.

"Crusher" Jerry Blackwell (History of Wrestling)

Blackwell stepped away from the arena door and I saw him begin reaching in his left front pants pocket. He pulled out a wad of cash and as he was peeling off a five dollar bill he said to me, “Recon you can go get me a coke?” I said sure, do you want a regular or a large? Blackwell said, “Get me one of the big-uns.” I said Okay.

So I came back, handed him his change then his coke. He sort of looked at the cup and he said- “I thought I told you to get me a big-un.” I said, "That is a big-un!" Back then, the auditorium only had two cup sizes a 12 ounce cup and a 16 ounce.

So anyway, Blackwell turned the coke up and in about two quick gulps it was gone. He sat the cup on a small wooden table in the hallway and wiped his mouth with the back of his left hand. Then he said, “What all else they got?” I said, "Well they have popcorn, good popcorn. They have candy bars, like Hershey’s, Snickers, Almond Joy, Baby Ruth." Blackwell said, “They got food?” I said, "Yes, they have hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and stuff like that." 

So Blackwell stood there a minute, and as he handed me a ten dollar bill, said, “Get me two cheeseburgers, an order of fries and two Cokes. And ketchup too.”

So I went and got the food, placed it all in one of those fold out cardboard carrying trays with about ten packs of ketchup. When I got back and handed Blackwell his food he thanked me and wasted no time rushing back downstairs. I often wondered if he found an empty dressing room and gobbled down his food. Or, if he just ate all that in front of the rest of the guys.

* * *

More Memories from Don Holbrook
Don Holbrook is an occasional Gateway contributor as well as a history buff on late 1960s and 1970s wrestling in Greenville, SC. His mother worked for years in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium office and Don spent many afternoons hanging out there as a kid, as well as lurking around the entire place during those legendary Monday night cards every week in Greenville. He became known to all those in charge, which later gave him lots of great access and some great stories to tell.