Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sweet Child of Mine

by Dick Bourne, Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It was the summer of 1988 - - - Bull Durham and Rambo were packing them in at the box office, Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child of Mine was rocking the Billboard charts, and Charlotte's Memorial Stadium was the hot stop on Jim Crockett's "Great American Bash" tour.

My friend Kyra Quinn recently sent me a link to a YouTube video she found of a vintage Charlotte television report about that Bash. There were several shots of various wrestlers arriving and congregating out behind the old Charlotte Park Center which sits adjacent to Memorial Stadium. Among the mix of wrestlers featured were Dusty Rhodes, Magnum, T.A., Jim Cornette, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, and many others.

And then this quick shot appeared. At right is George South with his wife Missy and their first son George Jr.  They are talking to Gary Royal who is under the mask as Gladiator #1.

In the video you can see George softly stroking the back of his young son's head. "Little George" was surely having a ball that day, getting to hang out with some of the greatest wrestlers in the business. What kid wouldn't be having a ball? I sent this screen shot to George and it made him a little emotional. His son is now married with kids of his own.

Of course, I had to give George a hard time about that huge head of hair and those Paul Jones tube socks.

But I also thought to myself how sad it was that Jim Crockett Promotions has been gone for almost 28 years.  The summer of 1988 was the 53-year old company's last summer and its last Great American Bash in Charlotte. I'm sad that Little George doesn't have a Great American Bash to take his own son to this summer.

Fireworks. David Allen Coe. Skydivers. The "Nature Boy" arriving for the main event in a channel-9 helicopter. Guns N' Roses blasting on the radio. Wrestler's families hanging out before the show.

"Reminds me of childhood memories where everything
was as fresh as the bright blue sky...Sweet child of mine."

Those were special days.