Excerpt from "The Solie Chronicles"
Copyright Robert Allyn
One evening, he sat in the comfort of his family room vodka in one hand and a cigarette in the other, and spoke to his son-in-law, Bob Allyn.Gordon said McMahons company offered him a fair wage to continue on, and there was even a mention of him co-hosting with Gene Okerlund.He didnt have a problem with the money offer or with Gene Okerlund, but Gordon said they wanted him to wear a tuxedo, and "he wasnt going to wear any goamn tuxedo."
Since the late 1800s, professional wrestling has turned out many high-profile stars: names such as Frank Gotch, Ed "Strangler" Lewis, Lou Thesz, Dusty Rhodes and Hulk Hogan. Perhaps one of the most well-known pro-wrestling personalities, however, wasn't even a wrestler. He was a commentator and announcer named Gordon Solie.
Famous dead-pan style interviews and colorful play-by-play broadcasts of wrestling led to Gordons induction into the WCW Hall of Fame (Class of 1995), the NWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2006), and the WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2008).
"Gordon calling a world championship match was like Al Michaels or Bob Costas calling a Super Bowl or World Series ... just a perfect fit!"
Mike Tenay-broadcaster for TNA Wrestling
Wrestling fans of the 60s, 70s and 80s remember Gordons legendary broadcasts on Championship Wrestling from Florida, Championship Wrestling from Georgia, and World Championship Wrestling.
Born Jonard Frank Labiak on January 26, 1929, Gordon began working as a page and errand boy for a Louisiana radio station while he was in the U.S. Air Force. Known to his fellow servicemen as Gordy, he would later legally change his name to Gordon Solie, a name chosen to honor his family history. In 1950, he took a job as an announcer for WEBK in Ybor City, Florida. By starting his own radio sports interview program, Gordon made key contacts in professional wrestling and stock car racing. Subsequently, Gordon Solie set a course and made a major impact on the development of professional wrestling, national auto thrill show tours, stock car racing on Floridas Suncoast, and ultimately, as the host for the highest-rated show on the largest cable network in America.
The background material for this biography was found in Gordon's personal files and taken from interviews with the people who knew him the best. It is written as a testament to a man who made his mark in many endeavors.
| INTERVIEWS with 65 people who knew Gordon the best! |
|Family and Friends
Dotty Curtis [wife of wrestling legend Don Curtis]
Gaye Swenson [Gordon's sister]
Greg Solie [Gordon's son]
Jeff Bukantz [member of the U.S. National fencing team]
Jim Oxley [head mechanic at the Pit Stop]
Keith Mitchell [WCW staff member]
Pamela S Allyn [Gordon's daughter]
Robert Allyn [Gordon's son-in-law]
Tom McEwen [sports editor and Gordon's friend]
Stock car drivers
Jim Gallagher [stock car race announcer]
"Little Jack" Arnold
Randy Alvarez [Pancho Alvarez' son]
Alex Marvez [Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com]
Bill Apter [former editor of Pro Wrestling Illustrated]
J Michael Kenyon [wrestling historian]
Mike Mooneyham [wrestling journalist]
Scott Teal [wrestling histo