Marc Gullen was a manager and wrestler. His managerial stable was known as the House Of Gullen, and was comprised of Teijo Khan, Yomamba The Jungle Savage, and the Midnight Rockers. He also wrestled as The Beast, teaming with the Beauty, Terry Garvin Simms.
Marc memorably appeared as a guest on episode 24: House Of Gullen. TGBL has made many attempts to get Marc back on the show, but has not been able to.
Marc's former tag team partner Terry Garvin Simms appeared as a guest on the show and talked about Marc on episode 39.
"You cowardly dog!"
"I have a surprise coming for you..."
"This man is TOTALLY awesome."
"I will tell you more about him later!"
"You will see him in the coming week!"
"YOMAMBA - the Jungle Savage!"
Episode 24 - Transcript (Interview)
Hello Marc, this is Brian Last and David Bixenspan with the Superpodcast. How are you today?
Marc: I’m good, how about yourself?
(laughing) We’re doing alright. You know, we’ve been on a mad search to get you on the show. We’ve had numerous requests from all of our listeners, saying “We need to know more about Marc Gullen, more about the House of Gullen.” So tell us, how is the House of Gullen today?
Marc: Well, the House of Gullen is officially retired. We hung up the banner, and hung up the jock-strap and we’re officially out.
So I guess the second question has to be: how is Yomamba, and have you seen him lately?
Marc: (laughing) I haven’t seen Yomamba since he was accused of Cannibalism.
(laughing) I believe it was you that was accusing him of Cannibalism in that interview!
Marc: (laughing) Well, it isn’t an accusation if it’s the truth. I’m not really certain. (laughing)
Marc, thank you so much for coming on the show with us today. Obviously you and I have talked a little bit, and I’ve explained to you that the interviews you did in late ’87 / early ’88 in Memphis have gained cult-like status. You have fans who, they’re ready to buy Marc Gullen t-shirts, they’re ready to buy Marc Gullen ringtones: people who are obsessed with not only your work with Beauty and the Beast – which is your more well known soiree into wrestling – but the actual House of Gullen, so we need to really crack down and answer everyone’s questions about the House of Gullen. (laughing) I guess the first question is: where did you shoot it? We were guessing it was at Jerry Jarrett’s house, but where did you shoot it?
Marc: Actually, it was very close to Jerry Jarrett’s house – it was on Old Hickory Lake. We were in a parking lot adjacent to the lake, and that’s where we shot those bumps.
Was it a cold day, because obviously one thing that people always point out is on that first promo you did, you’re wearing an overcoat on top of your coat, which just falls off in the middle of the interview (laughing), but how cold was it that day?
Marc: It was chilly. I'd say probably about 40, 45 degrees.
I mean, did anyone say “Hold on, your coat is falling off, we need to re-do this?” or was it just-
Marc: It was one and done! (laughing) When that fell off, I was just thinking “That was a nice leather coat, too.” I was a bit mortified. I just kept pressing on, you know? The show must go on.
So I gotta ask you, as we sit here talking to you: when it’s decided that you’re gonna be a manager in Memphis – even though you had trained to be a wrestler – you were coming in as a manager. You were going to have this stable featuring such luminaries as Teijo Khan 'The Great' and the mysterious Yomamba the Jungle Savage – people still searching for any photographic or video evidence of this man’s existence – and of course, later on, the Midnight Rockers, who you would launching into fame and fortune (laughing) as they would become well-known professional wrestlers.
Marc: Absolutely. That was all my work, by the way…
(laughing) I guess the first question has to be: Where is this accent from?
Marc: Well, I’m a world traveler. I was born overseas to a – at a very early age – and I learned to speak the Queen’s English in various places, from various people, not very much my parents. I was raised by a nanny, and you learned to speak what you learned to speak. (laughing)
You know, wrestling for Jarrett promotions in front of those fans is probably the one place where just speaking in the Queen’s English could get you heat right off the bat! (laughing)
Marc: (laughing) Isn’t that the truth! You know what has 46 legs, 3 teeth, and an IQ of 75?
(The first row at the Mid-South Coliseum.)
Marc: That’s EXACTLY right. (laughing) I used to refer to it as “Darwin’s Waiting Room.” (laughing) We referred to them as people waiting to evolve. Some of them even made it upright – it was quite amazing. Actually, I want to take that back, because I have nothing but respect for all the fans. They made everything that we did possible and I want to say – take this opportunity – to say “Thank You” to each and every one of them. We had a wonderful ride and the fans made it all possible.
Marc, I gotta ask you: before we even get to Yomamba the Jungle Savage – the mysterious Yomamba – obviously you worked with Teijo Khan 'The Great.' You did 2 promos outdoors in front of this lake, near Jerry Jarrett’s house, building up the arrival of Teijo Khan 'The Great.' The first one you just talk about him – you threaten Billy Joe Travis and Jeff Jarrett and Lawler and Dundee – and it’s just a miraculous interview; it’s one of my favorite interviews ever. And then the second one, you take it up a notch. You’re not wearing the overcoat anymore – now you’re just holding the microphone, you’re in front of the lake, and you’re building up the arrival of Teijo Khan, who (laughing) then proceeds to propel himself out of the water, and run as fast as he can away from you. (laughing) My question is: first of all, how cold was the water that day? Was it, I mean -was it really, really, cold?
Marc: It was very chilly. I did not envy Teijo at that moment, and he actually got – he went under and stayed under long enough that the water could settle, and then came up and they were filming of course, and came up and went bounding down the burm. (laughing)
Now, you claimed that Teijo Khan 'The Great' could do the 40 yard dash in 3.5 seconds. My question is: do you own a stopwatch?
Marc: Of course!
(laughing) OK! OK!
Marc: Doesn’t everyone? (laughing) Have to time the ladies, you know? "I'm sorry, but you're not done yet!"
Now, you worked for a few weeks with Teijo Khan – what kind of guy was he? Was he fun to work with?
Marc: He was quite accomplished, very serious, one hell of an athlete, and good guy; wonderful. A tremendous wrestler – just really stupendous.
(Did he regale you with any tales of him being a famous movie star in the hit classic 'Bodyslam'?)
Marc: (laughing) No. We actually – he was quite modest about that sort of thing. He really – he wore them like a merit badge, but he didn’t display them proudly, you know? But he was really quite an unassuming chap; really quite nice – when he wasn’t hurting people, of course (laughing). Which, I have to say, I never saw anyone that – well, I’ve only known a couple people that enjoyed hurting people more than Teijo did. Teijo, when he got in the ring, was completely different animal. An animal, he was – he was truly a ferocious man.
(Did you find him on a scouting trip of some kind, or?)
Marc: I beg your pardon?
(Did you find him on a scouting trip of some kind? An exotic foreign country, or?)
Marc: Yes. Yes, we were travelling in Mongolia, and like I had mentioned in the promo, we were on a trek; hiking. Some of the people that - the bears and that sort of thing - were left behind because they couldn’t continue. We got caught in a blizzard and wound up – the only place to seek shelter was a monastery, high on the peaks. The only place a hundred miles – hundreds of miles – around. We sought refuge there, and that’s where I first met him. He was taken as a child, and raised by the monks at the monastery. That’s where he learned his Mortu Kai Chi, which is an extremely, extremely lethal form of martial arts.
Yeah, I’m still surprised we haven’t seen that in the UFC yet, considering every other martial arts has been incorporated into Mixed Martial Arts, with the exception of that one. High up in the monastery, Teijo had a Mohawk: are there hair products readily available?
Marc: (laughing) No, just, shaves and a bit of Yak dung. A little bit smelly (laughing). Of course, they didn't notice - they weren't into walking much out there in the cold. Hot water was definitely at a premium. (laughing)
So, that’s Teijo Khan 'The Great.' The other great discovery of yours – let me give a little bit of backstory – the regular listeners of 6:05 know the story. Marc, when he’s talking about how he’s bringing the House of Gullen to destroy everyone and Teijo Khan is the centerpiece, he throws a little, little, hint at the very end. He says “By the way, someone else is coming too. You may remember Kamala – this man will make Kamala pale. He is totally awesome, and you will see him in the coming weeks: Yomamba the Jungle Savage!” and then the interview cuts. We have looked everywhere. We haven’t been able to find a picture, we haven’t been able to find a video, we have not been able to find any evidence about the whereabouts or the person behind Yomamba the Jungle Savage. Marc – you’re the only man we could think of to ask: Who is Yomamba the Jungle Savage?
Marc: (laughing) To be honest, I honestly don’t remember his real name. He was a obviously a black fellow who they brought in from – well, my understanding is, they found him in the deepest, darkest parts of Africa – and brought him in and trained him to wrestle. ‘Course, the hardest part was breaking/eating people, but he certainly had a taste for it, you know? I guess once you’ve eaten people, there’s really nothing quite like it. (laughing)
I hear it’s like Chicken.
Marc: Well, it is. The bones are a bit larger, but you know (laughing). It must barbeque quite nicely, actually.
Well, by chance, I’m gonna ask you, because we’ve heard different people have speculated about who Yomamba is, because from the best we could tell, there’s, I think, maybe one – if there’s maybe a couple more, we only found one result-
(Yup, I’ve only seen one.)
-With Yomamba. Was it the guy who would later go on to be the Botswana Beast – Ben Peacock?
Marc: Mmm…Well, I suppose you should ask Ben that.
Okay, (laughing) Okay. Does the House of Gullen issue W4’s to everyone in its stable? (laughing) Is there any way we can find him? (laughing)
Marc: Of course! We kept everything quite legal, including the money I paid The Rockers.
(Oh wow! So, members of the House of Gullen are employees!)
Marc: Oh absolutely!
(They’re not “independent contractors.” Did they get health benefits?)
Marc: Hell no! (laughing) No – the only health benefit you had was to stay alive!
Marc: We did see to it that everyone was fed quite nicely.
Marc: Including Yomamba – it was a bit of strain, but you know; finding something for his eclectic diet.
Marc - who came up with the name Yomamba?
Marc: Well, in all honesty, I believe it was somewhere between Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee.
Okay. Was it a play on 'Yo Mama'?
Marc: (laughing) Uh, well, what do you think?
(laughing) Considering the sources, I think that’s an affirmative! (laughing)
Marc: (laughing) Well, I’d have to say that we got a good laugh out of it, certainly. When it was suggested, we were spitballing around a table, and somebody said “Yo Mama” and then somebody said “Yomamba. What a great name that-“ So, uh, it just is one of those things that developed and certainly gained a life of its own, that’s for certain.
(Now with that one result with Yomamba, it’s Yomamba and Teijo Khan against the Midnight Rockers. I was trying to figure out the chronology if that would have been BEFORE the Midnight Rockers were part of the House of Gullen, and then you recruited them after? Or it was after and after there had been a split: do you recall exactly what the whole sequence of events was, there?)
Marc: Uh, I believe it was before the Rockers, and after Teijo Khan.
Marc: So, it came right in-between, and unfortunately, if I remember correctly, Yomamba had some sort of physical ailment that prevented him from following through on his contract. He, uh, I want to say that I think he had some sort of heart problem, but, well, something serious enough that he was let out of his contract. You know, in all honesty, I’m a bit shady on that. But, you know, I know it was serious – that much I do remember.
So, Marc Gullen shows up in Memphis – I say Memphis, but the entire territory – towards the end of 1987, and you have several memorable promos, and then in the studio you have several memorable promos as well with Lance Russell there, and of course, you have the Midnight Rockers and the stuff with you and Teijo Khan. Then, you’re gone! What happened?
Marc: Well, I was – I had attended a wrestling school and had gone back to teach younger people to learn how to wrestle, and had come across who would become my tag-team partner, Terry Garvin Simms. Terry was sort of an outcast, and he was a hairdresser, and everyone thought he, you know, was a bit light in the loafers. They shunned him, of course, like most people did – back before being gay was considered something to be proud of, which it obviously is. I book no ill feelings at all – obviously, I don’t. So, but it was at a time in our history when being gay was not thought upon well, although he wasn’t, but that didn’t seem to matter to anyone. He was sort of an outcast and I befriended him. I saw the way one of the owners of the school was treating him; just horribly. I befriended him, and we decided that we’d go wrestle some outlaw shows – just for the heck of it – and on the way to the first one, we were pitching ideas for the tag-team thing, and we came up with Beauty and the Beast. Then, we decided which one of us would be the Beauty! (laughing) We determined that the really only viable way for it to go was for Terry to be the Beauty and for me to be the Beast – which suited my personality perfectly.
Although, I must say, it was quite a transformation for you from Marc Gullen – with the flowing locks, the leader of the House of Gullen – to the Beast, with a rather beastly hairdo. Did Terry do your hair?
Marc: Terry designed the 'do and he did an amazing job with it. I tell you, Terry was – he did the hair and make-up for the CMA Awards 3 years in a row.
Marc: He was quite an accomplished hairdresser. He had a shop above – I think it was Mosca’s on West End in Nashville. Quite a trendy place. It was doing quite well, but he had tired of doing hair and wanted to break into wrestling and went to the school. I have to say, Terry took everything they had to dish out and bounced back for more. It showed me so much about his intestinal fortitude that he could take it and take a licking and keep on ticking, as it were. He impressed me tremendously, and he and I became fast friends. It was quite a transition; no doubt. To go from doing a lot of talking to not much talking was difficult to say the least – Terry had the gift of gab so it worked out rather well.
(Now, in having to make that transformation into the Beast, did you find that your research and the various protégé’s that you kept – like a Yomamba, like a Teijo Khan – did that aid in being able to transform into or present yourself as a beast?)
Marc: Oh, definitely. When you work around greatness, it makes it possible. You immerse yourself in the lifestyle, and you learn – the best part about the Beast, being the beast, transforming myself into the beast, was that I grew up in the service industry and wound up – you were only as good as your last performance. Wanting to please people and now, all of a sudden, the worse I treated people, the better I got paid! (laughing) By god, it was wonderful! It was quite cathartic – it allowed me to balance out my personality and allowed me to express the dark side of myself, which had always been there; I’ve got a terrible temper. I – now, I have to say this in all candor – I used to have blackouts. I would get so angry that I would blackout. The first time it happened, I was about 16, and a friend of mine and I were fooling around and he pushed me up against a pipe and filleted a patch of skin over on my Triceps. I don’t remember a thing until my little sister screamed, and I had him by the testicles and by the throat up above my head and was preparing to break his back.
(laughing) Oh, Jesus!
Marc: I have no recollection of what happened between looking down at my filleted skin and then snapping back and seeing him above my head. I have probably had blackouts 3 or 4 times in my life, but I no longer have them, thank goodness. But, it’s always there – it’s something we have to be consciously aware of – and make certain you don’t allow it to control you. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending your life in prison for something you don’t remember, and definitely thought that would not be a good idea.
(Did one of these blackouts last about a year and a half from the middle of 1988 through the end of 1989?)
Marc: (laughing) Uh, I don’t think so – why? (laughing) Why do you ask? (laughing)
Marc: It couldn’t have been some of the nasty underhanded things I did on television, could it? (laughing)
Let me ask you this Marc – if there are any young listeners out there and they have the same problem where they’re having blackouts caused by fits of anger – would you suggest they take up drumming?
Marc: Well, it’s certainly gave me something to beat on. (laughing) It was an interesting place to come from, I have to say. I broke into the business quite young, and, you know, did quite well doing it and enjoyed it very much. I have to say - it gave me a place to work out a lot of aggression, I must admit. Not nearly as well as wrestling because you still had to be nice to people, but it definitely gave me a place to work out some aggression.
Let me take a step back before we go a little further with Beauty and the Beast. You didn’t do as much talking with Beauty and the Beast, but you did – I remember the introductory promo you did. You did all the talking and then you introduced Terry and Terry did the talking – my question is that you, from the start, were really, really, good as a talker. I think exceptionally good considering you were brand new and no-one had seen you before, and you were able to do whatever – a 90 second, a 2 minute promo off the top of your head without breaking. It’s very impressive. Is it something you practiced, a skill you worked on? Did people right away say to you – people in the company – “Wow, you’re really good at this”?
Marc: How that occurred was that I went to the wrestling school myself and I had decided that – to be honest, the whole reason I went to the wrestling school was that I had gotten overweight and was looking for an occupation that would help me stay in trim, and a friend of mine called me up and said “Look at 20/20, it’s on the television now.” They were talking about how there was a shortage of journeyman wrestlers, what the average pay per year was, and that sounded like a really good idea. I was a frustrated baseball player anyway, so I thought “Well, I’ll look around,” and it took me 6 months to find a school. As I went to the school, we had a day where we all were going to practice our interview skills. I got up and the gentleman before me was from Kentucky – he was a warehouseman looking to move up in the world – and he got up there and put down people from Tennessee. Although I’m not from Tennessee, I took umbrage with the fact that he was putting people from Tennessee down. I came out and started out and I said “My parents brought me up to be a good sportsman and to treat people fairly and to treat them with respect and honor, but something that wrinkles my soul is comes from a hilltop somewhere where they marry each others’ cousins and put people from Tennessee down,” and by the time I was done, all the wrestlers that were lined up behind the camera had backed up to the wall. I was absolutely breathing fire and made the entire thing up on the spot. Bill Dundee was one of the mucky-bucks at the school, took that video to Memphis, showed it to Jerry Lawler, and Lawler said “Where did you find this guy?” (laughing) I was actually working – it was supposed to be a 6 month school – and I was working after 3 months in the school, and the rest is history. We took on quite a life, and honestly, I think – I know for certain my career probably wouldn’t live much longer if I would have continued talking instead of wrestling, but I do kind of regret getting out of the management end. Although, I have no regrets about my tag team partner – we had a wonderful time. Great friendship – still friends to this day. But any rate, I thought about that a lot over the years. I actually – one of the things that retired me from wrestling was I was walking to lunch in Arlington, TX – between Dallas and Fort Worth – and I was walking down the sidewalk, walking across the opening of a parking lot coming out onto a street, and a woman drove right into my left leg.
Marc: There was no place for her to go – there was 4 lanes full of traffic. Looking back, I think it was deliberate, because we were quite unpopular – especially in Dallas.
That’s heat. (laughing)
Marc: Serious heat, I’m telling you; way too much heat. But, I dropped an elbow on the hood of the car, rolled off the hood, and kicked it all the way down one side and went on to lunch, not think I’d been hurt, thinking “I’m large and in charge, I’m the world tag team champion" – World Class Tag Team Champion – and I thought “I’m certainly OK.” Later that day, my knee seized, my back seized, and we had troubles. I didn’t even get the license on it – I could have sued her for everything she’s worth; no doubt. But, I didn’t do it – just thought I was too big and bad to be injured. That took me on about a 2 year “i-hate-us” from the wrestling business while I spent all after that incident, I came back to Nashville and spent 7 weeks sleeping on my living room floor with my legs up on the couch and I had a serious disc injury. I spent the next couple of years getting back into shape to get ready to get back in the ring.
Did you get back into the ring after that?
Marc: Yup, but we got signed by Continental Wrestling Federation and did a nice run there. As a matter of fact, there’s going to be a Continental Wrestling Federation reunion coming up May the 14th in Dothan, AL, and Terry has graciously consented to join me.
Marc: We’re going to go and we’re actually going to have a reunion grudge match with Adrian Street and Paul Morton.
Marc: Which (laughing) It’s going to be rather geriatric to say the least! (laughing) But, it ought to be fun because we ended on quite a sour note.
Yeah, and I guess that is the big feud people remember from you in Continental would be Beauty and the Beasty vs. Adrian Street and Miss Linda!
Marc: Yup. That was some quite dark days, no doubt. I did some – I have to say – I’ve done some things that I’m not very proud of and breaking her arm in the ring was not one of them.
Marc: But, it was one of those times when you just get carried away. I had those bolt cutters – 3 foot bolt cutters – my god. They were huge. I broke her arm quite seriously, and I know Adrian and – Miss Linda, and I have to say in my defense, she’s a dangerous woman.
(laughing) It’s always been said she was tougher than the boys!
Marc: Oh, I have no doubt. There’s a story going around that Miss Linda – someone had done something, some fan had done something dastardly to Adrian and she waited for him outside and I don’t know if this is true, but it’s a rumor, that she waited for him and when they took him to the hospital, one of his eyelids was half torn off and it looked like his mouth was split about an inch and a half down his cheek. So, she was definitely a frightening woman. Taking her out of the picture was necessary – unfortunately, I shouldn’t have gone that far, but sometimes in the heat of battle, things get out of hand.
Well, when you’re defending your beauty, obviously, the inner beast-
Marc: Sometimes you just have to unleash the beast and let the chips fall where they may.
Well, Marc, let me take a step back and ask you a couple of questions about before you got to Continental and before you even got to Dallas. I wanna ask you a couple questions about Dallas, but on July 30th, 1989, you were in a Hair vs. Hair match – you and Terry against Adrian Street and Bill Dundee in the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis. Talk a little about that match.
Marc: It was good for us, I have to say. I was a bit off my feet that night, and I had a lot on the line because my hair was quite a symbol. God knows I wasn't going to get Terry to shave his head! (laughing) Oh my god! The only thing more dangerous than getting in the ring with me was get between Terry and a mirror! (laughing) The man never met a mirror he didn’t like – of course, he was a dashingly good looking fellow, so I understood it. But, (laughing) yeah, you have to defend who you must defend.
(Now, one of the trademarks of Beauty and the Beast – or maybe THE trademark – was the pink mat that Terry would bring into the ring for each match. You know, nice freshly cleaned each time-)
Marc: Absolutely. Terry was rather peculiar about, and when we decided on that, neither one of us particularly liked the idea rolling around in other wrestlers’ sweat and blood. The ring mats were notoriously grimey – you’d see blood on them from old matches, and this was at a time in history when blood contact was being frowned upon, at least by people who had their thinking caps on. We decided - we had that mat custom made at Crowned Tent and Army – a little plug for them – a rather notorious outfit in Nashville. We had the ring mat made and some friends of mine came to one of our matches, and they talked to me about it afterwards and said that the people started booing when the ring boys were bringing out the mat to put on, because they knew what was coming. One of the people in front of a couple of my friends, one woman leaned over and said to her husband “I believe that’s sort of like a ring condom.” (laughing) Which, is exactly true! We decided that picking up an errant Staph infection – which some wrestlers did, one wrestler was in danger of losing his leg from a Staph infection – and we decided that we would much rather have our own mat and lugging it through the airport was a bit of a bitch, I must say. But, it all worked out quite nicely, I think.
(Now, when you were in Dallas, I remember a particular incident where Terry kissed announcer Marc Lowrance-)
Marc: (laughing) I believe Marc liked that a little too much! (laughing)
(-and I’ll never forget what he said after, which was, and keep in mind, this is a man of the cloth speaking, “The Beauty just kissed me. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or get an AIDS test.”)
Marc: (laughing) Hoo! Yeah, that was a bit rough.
(laughing) Well, how was your transition from Memphis to World Class? When did you first arrive, who was there? From the moment you get there, was it a completely different world than the world of Jarrett Promotions in Memphis?
Marc: Certainly – we wound up, our home base was at the world famous Sportatorium in Dallas, and quite a venue, I must say. We shot our television shows there on Saturday and it was a much, much, larger venue. Of course, we wrestled – working for them – out of Gulf Coast Coliseum,;we wrestled a lot of extremely large venues. It was, well, we were second in the ratings – the television ratings – only to the WWF, and they were only beating us about 3/10ths of a percentage point, at the time. That we went head to head with them in Chattanooga and outdrew them; we were looking at the big (inaudable) shields, no doubt. So, it was definitely a transition, and the crowds – we were to replace the SST, the Samoan Swat Team, and we walked in and immediately started wrestling with the Von Erichs, and, oh my god, talk about a couple of space cadets. Hoo! I swear, I never saw two more proficient athletes in my entire life. Kerry was built like Conan the Barbarian, and his brother Kevin: Kevin probably never met a weight he liked, but the man could squat down and jump up and double drop kick you in the face and land back on his feet. He was a tremendous athlete; both of them really, really tremendous athletes. Of course, they – down in Dallas – you can only imagine how welcomed we were; Terry was purported to be gay and I took care of him, if he’d get in trouble, I’d go into the ring and save him, so you could imagine how they felt about us. Especially in Dallas, TX, where (whistling noise) all I can say, it was a frightening experience.
I was gonna say, who’s stiffer in the ring: Kevin Von Erich or Miss Linda?
Marc: (laughing) I’d say it was probably about a tie. Pound for pound for pound, I’d go with Miss Linda (laughing). I was much more frightened of her than Kerry. Kerry was sort of like a rather large bulldozer going full bore with no-one at the wheel. (laughing) He wasn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier, as it was. He was a tremendous athlete, but, I hate to speak ill – but he’s been gone a long time – he was easy to outsmart, I’ll put it to you that way. One of the great advantages that Terry and I both had – we were both relatively intelligent people. I must say, it requires intelligence to be a professional wrestler. You can’t just be a boot and get in there and be successful. A good example of that is 95% of the professional football players that came to professional wrestling did not succeed in professional wrestling. They thought they could make the transition. Number 1 – their cardio wasn’t up to it. They were used to working for about 3 seconds and standing around for 3 or 4 minutes before the next play, and then in wrestling, you worked until you were done. Most of them couldn’t cut the cardio and the rest of them couldn’t cut the brain work. So, it was – it’s not an easy business. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it; no doubt. But I've gotten off subject – what were we talking about?
(laughing) We were talking about the Von Erichs a little bit but I do want to ask you this Marc . . . you had said that you and Terry – Beauty and the Beast – had replaced the Samoan Swat Team who went to the NWA around that time. You replaced them to the point where you were also aligned - as they were - with Buddy Roberts, formerly of The Freebirds. What was Buddy like to be around?
Marc: (laughing) Buddy was quite a crusty character. I say crusty with a capital ‘C’ (laughing). I’ll tell you a great story about Buddy. I hope he’s still alive – god bless him. He’s truly a wonderful man – very kind, very compassionate, very open. At the same time on the other side of the coin, was, hoooooo-boy! We were flying to Chicago to do a show, and Terry and Buddy and I - we walked in and I’m wearing my fur coat and my do-rag. We walk into the plane and then we take our seats and in the row behind us is the promoter for the operation and he’s sitting next to this dried-up old lady. She looked up at me and she goes “Did they park yer motorcycles in the luggage bin?!” (laughing) and I looked at her and said “Yes, they’re parked right next to your BROOM!” (laughing) and the promoter laughs – it was great. He absolutely loved how I handled her. This old lady would not have it! She came back and kept coming back and kept coming back - would not shut up. Turns out she was a jailer for the City of Chicago; no wonder. She was full of herself and just full of piss and vinegar. Finally, Buddy gets tired of listening to her, and he turns around and he – this is, I’ve got to tell this story. It’s a great story – he coughs a couple times and gacks up a handful of green slime, and he says “I got Bronchitis-“ – we’ve had a few beers, actually, waiting in the terminal – “I have Bronchitis. Now lady, if you don’t shut the fuck up, I’m gonna hit you with my hocker hook-shot!” (laughing) My god, that shut her up! He looks at me and he nods his head in approval and he sucks that slime right back down!
Marc: I had to reach for the Air-Sick bag – I almost lost my cookies right there! It was just unbelievable; I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Eww! I mean, sucked it completely clean
(Why do all the best Buddy Roberts stories involve infections?)
Marc: (laughing) Buddy was an infectious character, that’s all there is to it. I certainly hope it’s his; I hope he’s alive and well and still ticking. He was quite a guy – turned out to be a great friend.
Unfortunately, we do have to tell you that Buddy did pass away a few years back.
Marc: Aw, I’m sorry to hear that.
Sadly, but obviously we keep him alive with stories like this where we all get to talk about what a character he was in the professional wrestling business.
(Well, and his son’s wrestling too as Buddy Roberts Jr.!)
(So that’s good. Yeah, he was at the Hall of Fame when they inducted The Freebirds – it was him and Terry Gordy’s son.)
I didn’t realize he was a worker. But, Marc, you were around so many guys for your time in wrestling – I’d like to run down a list of several of them and share with us if you will whatever thoughts or memories or any funny stories that come up as I say each name. Let me start with – you worked with Scott Steiner when he was a young up-and-comer. What was that like?
Marc: Yes. Scotty was very serious, and quite a shooter. He not only could talk the talk, but could walk the walk. Actually, Sid Vicious found that out the hard way. If you remember Sid, he was 6’6'' and 320 pounds of steroid madness, and as a matter of fact, I have a great funny story about Sid that we’ll talk about later. But Sid - Scotty had put Sid in a belly-to-back suplex and cracked one of Sid’s ribs in the ring during a match. Sid went into the babyface dressing room and slapped Scotty for being stiff. Scotty proceeded to shove that broken rib through Sid’s lung.
Ho ho ho!!
Marc: If you see Sid or see any of his later matches, you’ll notice he’s got a scar that runs from his backbone around to his sternum, which is where they had to open him up and repair the rib damage and re-inflate his lung and sew the lung back together. Sid found out the hard way that you don’t fool with Scotty Steiner. Steiner was very serious individual; no doubt.
Did you have another Sid story?
Marc: -And brutally strong. Scott was – he would bench, last I heard, he could bench press 500 pounds. Which, not to brag, was my personal best. It’s an enormous feat. I knew my joints weren’t going to go any further – the world record would stay with me, no doubt. At the time, the world record was 792. It’s up over 1100 pounds now; my god. It must be those nubby arm little powerlifters that don’t have to push the bar up 4 inches so their elbows are locked out.
Marc: With my genetics and my long arms, I had pushed the bar almost up 22 inches, so the physics on your joints are much more different when your arms are short and nubby. My god – it’s still 1100 pounds. Jeez.
I can’t even imagine (laughing) I don’t know how that happens.
Marc: I can’t either. That’s squatting weights, you know? It’s just amazing.
You mentioned Sid that you had another story about Sid that was funny. What’s that?
Marc: Well, I – when we started with the USWA, we went to Memphis to do our first television show, and the heel dressing room was the cafeteria at the television station. I was sitting at one of those little round cafeteria-style tables, and I was pulling my shorts up – my shorts were about around my knees – so I’m basically naked. In the dressing room comes Sid Vicious, who’s purple with rage and looking around the room, and I’m thinking “This is certainly not good.” He looks around the room and sees me sitting there, one of the new guys – never seen me before – and I'm thinking“This is just not good!” Sid comes over and he leans down and puts both hands on the table and flexes all of his upper body and his face is absolutely purple with rage, and he looks at me and he goes "I think I’ll just kick your ass!” By the time he got to the word ‘kick’, my brain had gone into overdrive, and I’m into fight-or-flight, and flight – since my trunks are around my knees – was quite out of the question. There was no place to run – what could I do? Have him chase me out of the locker room? I’d never get back in. My brain – I’m thinking “What could I do?” and my hand-eye coordination is extraordinary. I was a Fencer – and enjoyed it very much – but as a result, I’m thinking I could take out one of his eye balls 'cause he was close enough to me that you couldn’t stop me. I thought about yanking one of his eyeballs out, then I thought “He’s a big man with the promotion – he’s one of their stars here. That wouldn’t bode well for my future if I come in and mortally injure one of their wrestlers!” Other than that, it’s just going to be a death match. So, I’m thinking, and as he gets to the end of the word ‘ass’ – and spit is flying all over me – I look up at him and I roll my eyes, and go “Ooooh!” (laughing) I swear to god, it was like watching Robocop where in his Visor, it blinks “This is not your person – you must go after someone else,” because he looked at me with a really confused look in his eye, and I could tell that he didn’t want to beat someone up who might have an orgasm while he was doing it! Fortunately for me, if that’d had been his thing, I’d have been in real trouble then! But, I swear, he stood upright, looked around the room, and went over to pick a fight with a pair of wrestlers – a pair of black gentleman – who were there to work, and he went over and picked a fight with them, literally fist fighting with them, and the promoters had to come in and break it up. It was amazing. The only thing (laughing) that kept me from being in mortal combat with Sid Vicious was quick thinking and a sense of humor, and I actually happened to pick the right thing to do! It was fortunate for me, I’d say (laughing).
(laughing) I think that’s a very important lesson for our younger listeners out there: If you get bullied by a big guy who may or may not be on steroids, pretend like you’ll sexually enjoy it and they’ll probably go pick on someone else.
Marc: 9 times out of 10, but that one time could be a real pisser! (laughing) Find someone who that's his thing, you’re in REAL trouble!
(It’s a good thing that wasn’t Ronnie Garvin.)
Marc: (laughing) Terry wasn’t even at the table at the time; it was really sad. I was completely on my own. But, in all honesty, even if we’d have won the fight, we’d lost the battle, you know? So, it was a no-win situation. But, I did manage to eek out tie.
Marc, what was it like working with Robert Fuller?
Marc: Robert, I have to say – Robert was a great, great man. He was a mentor – he was generous in the ring, he was ruthless as well. He and Jimmy Golden were tag team partners at the time, and both of them were gentleman in every sense of the word. They were kind and caring and generous and willing to pass on information and help the newer guys. They were quite good to us, I have to say. Robert was one of the most naturally funny people I’d ever run into. He had stories to tell that were just amazing, and had a delivery – that deep, rich, baritone voice and his southern drawl. His delivery on his punchlines was just impeccable. I told him he should have gone into TV into a sitcom of some kind. He was just phenomenal. Truly an amazing talent; great in the ring. Just a very – I consider him a friend, and I don’t have many friends, but I cherish the ones I do have, and Robert is one of those.
You know, we mentioned Sid and Scott Steiner – two guys who would go on to much, much greater fame later on – and you got to know them in their primitive days in the wrestling industry. Another guy I believe you were around would later to go on to great fame, is the Undertaker. He was, I believe, The Master of Pain when you were around him. What was Mark Calloway like?
Marc: Another fine man. He was very quiet, kept to himself, was very serious about what he did, obviously; was quite accomplished. Actually, a really nice fellow. I enjoyed working the man, and he was very focused, very dedicated, and very personable. I enjoyed his company.
You worked for Jerry Jarrett, and his son, Jeff, was wrestling at that time. What was it like working with the son of the boss?
Marc: Well, there’s a loaded question for you. (laughing) Jeff was - he didn’t get his spot by being talented, but he definitely rose to the occasion. He - I think one of the things that we all respected about him was that he took his job seriously. He learned his craft, he got in the weight room and made himself very believable. I think that all in all in the end, he was gracious in the ring, he was, I think, a gentleman, and I have to say, we were all looking at him a bit sideways when they put him over the first time because he was so small. But, he definitely grew into his role and became a legend. I enjoyed my time around him; he’s very good.
(And he was involved in, at least from my perspective, one of the most memorable moments of your career – if not THE most memorable - which was when Jeff wrestled Dutch Mantel at the Kentucky Center for the Arts during a performance by Walter Mays and his Orchestra. You were the drummer that night, and you got involved in the festivities – although it didn’t necessarily work out that well for you – how did that thing come about in the first place?)
Marc: Well, the promotions had caught wind that I was an accomplished percussionist. I studied at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri / Kansas City; one of the top 3 percussion programs in the nation. I learned to read and to play proficiently, of course, but when the promotion got a call, the Wichita State University percussion ensemble was performing (inaudible) . . . and they’d written a piece for a percussion and professional wrestler. They asked if anyone had any experience playing drums, and, of course, I don’t know who told them. I don’t tend to tell people more than they really need to know, because if you want people to respect what you have to do, I think they respect people who appear to be jacks-of-all-trades less than they respect a specialist. I’ve always – I’ve always thought if I concentrated on one thing, I would have been a brain surgeon or an Astrophysicist, but I’ve always been like a child in a candy store. Actually, I have an interesting little side-line about my father. He came to me when I was about 12 and he gave me what he called a “Dutch Uncle Speech” - which he didn’t do very often – but it’s where somebody sits you down and tells you the truth whether or not it’s what you want to hear. He sat me down and said “Marc, if there’s ever anything you ever want to do, you should do it, or you’ll spend the rest of your life wishing that you had,” and I could tell by the sadness in his eyes that there was something that he passed up that he regretted very much. We rarely talked like that, and it struck me very deeply. As a result, I decided that I would do the very same thing and decided that whatever pleased me, that’s the path that I would pursue. Anyway - so they called looking for a percussionist, so I gave them my name and they contacted me. When I passed (inaudible) , they said “I believe that you’ll do.” We set out, rehearsed, and proceeded to do the show, and it wound up being quite a memorable moment, no doubt.
I thought Bix had a follow-up. (laughing) Obviously, I was wrong. Marc, before we wrap up, I wanna ask you about a few more people you worked with – one is Bronko Lubich.
Marc: Bronko – quite a man. He was the referee in Dallas and (laughing) I loved Bronko. He was quite funny and actually in the ring, he’d take some of the younger guys, and, you know, talk to them during their matches. If they were messing up, he’d tell them “You’re screwing the pooch, boy!” (laughing) But, he was quite a valiant force to the other wrestlers. He was a legend, at that time, and rightfully so. But, he was also of the sport – he was about making people better at their jobs, which was good for everyone. There’s a lot of selfishness in the business. When you take pride, you take money, you take women, you take cocaine, you take steroids, and put them all in the middle of the ring: things can get messy in a hurry. They did quite frequently. We wound up – literally – in a fight for our lives more than once. The fact is, when you get into the ring, you agree to mutual combat. If someone breaks your arm during a show, then you can’t sue them, because you've agreed to mutual combat. So, you must go into the ring with the mentality that if someone hurts you, you have to hurt them back immediately, otherwise, it’s going to escalate, and there are some sadistic people in the business who’d like nothing more than to hurt you enough to get you OUT of the business. So, you had to wrestle with one hand on your wallet, as it were, because people were just more than willing to pick your pockets if you would let them. So, you’d had to wrestle with that in mind that the only thing that kept every night from becoming a bloodbath was a mutually assured destruction theory: that if someone hurts you, you have to hurt them back immediately, otherwise, it gets out of control. So, it was – and Bronko was very good about keeping those sort of things under control. Fistfights didn’t sell tickets, and tickets were what we in the business of selling, so Bronko was an incredible man.
You also, while in Dallas, worked with Gentleman Chris Adams – what was he like to work with?
Marc: HAH! Talk about a misnomer.
(Did you do that on purpose after he was talking about stolen wallets?!)
Marc: (laughing) I tell you – Gentleman Chris Adams was not a gentleman, I have to say. He was a bit temperamental; a brit, of course. A Brit from Biloxi, MS, but he and I had some run-ins in the ring. Did you know about those run-ins and that’s why you’re asking?
No! I actually didn’t know about that. I just, when thinking about the people you worked with in Dallas, you know, there’s a match I believe on YouTube of Beauty and the Beast vs. Chris Adams and Brickhouse Brown, and I recently watched that and made me ask you about that. I didn’t know you had run-ins with him – what happened?
Marc: Well, we were wrestling, and at one point, Chris decides he wants to put a piledriver on me. I wrestled amateur wrestling as well, so I knew my craft, and he started to put a piledriver – he had me in the position – and I blocked it. He went totally apeshit – he wasn’t used to people telling him ‘No.’ I got him in a front face lock, and he’s cursing at me in the ring and I had him in a front face lock and I could have snapped his neck – it could have been very simple. He is screaming at me “I’m going to kill you!” and he said “I’ve got a .38 in my car and I’m going to get it and kill you.” So I cinched up my front face lock on his throat and whispered in his ear “What makes you think you’re going to get to your car?” (laughing) He was quite miffed, no doubt. We had a screaming match afterwards and he was not a happy camper that I stopped him, but that's just tough titties! (laughing) I have to say – go ahead.
No, you go ahead; please.
Marc: Well, there’s a story about Chris that turned everyone against him, really. He was married to a beautiful woman; like a model. Absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. Chris had gotten into a fight on the road out on the interstate with her, and wound up getting out of the car and punching her in the face so badly that her teeth bit into his fist and wound up getting a terrible Staph infection from it. So, we actually – Terry took him to task about it on television on one of our promos about Gentleman Chris Adams not being a gentleman, and referred to his wife, which put an inordinate amount of heat. I, honestly, I respected his abilities as a wrestler, but I didn’t respect him much as a man.
Yeah – you’re certainly not the only person to say that, and I’m gonna guess it was a lot easier working with Steve and Shaun Simpson than it was Chris Adams. (laughing)
Marc: (laughing) How true.
You know, the name’s come up a few times here during this conversation, Marc – what are your thoughts on Bill Dundee?
Marc: Ah – the world’s largest midget wrestler.
Marc: That’ll get me some heat! (laughing) I have to say, Bill – we went to a Tennessee legends reunion. Terry, when we first hooked up after so long, and Bill came in and god knows how old he is, but he’s still working; he’s still wrestling. He’s kept himself in good shape and still dyes his hair black like he did back in the old days, and looks quite good. But, he, ehh. I’d like to say there were people I enjoyed wrestling more than Bill, no doubt.
Were you around Eric Embry much?
Marc: Yes. Eric was in Dallas when we were there, and as a matter of fact, the promoters came in and wanted to promote a Scaffold match, which was 5 scaffolds high off the floor of the Coliseum, with a Scaffold walk-board between two-towers built up on each side of the ring, and a 2 foot wide walk-board went from one to another. They were looking for wrestlers to do the match and they came to us and I said “Absolutely not.” I get a nosebleed wearing thick socks, (laughing) much less climbing 20 feet above the ring. Eric got up and Cactus Jack – Mick Foley – volunteered to do the match. Mick – Eric and he, it was absolutely death-defying to watch them walking up there. Mick decided he was going to - he’d hurt Eric a bit and Eric was lying on the scaffold, and Cactus decides – on the other side of the Scaffold, they have ladder rungs. Mick decides he’s going to go hand over hand underneath it and come up behind Eric Embry and put him out of his misery. God bless Jack – I don’t think he ever met a weight he liked either, but incredible. What an incredible wrestler and an absolutely fearless man, as we all know. He went hand over hand about 3 or 4 rungs and lost his grip and plunged to the ring and broke his arm. I was certainly glad it was Jack and was not me, although I don't wish anything ill on anyone. Jack took a – could have easily broken his neck. The fall was out of control, and was lucky he only broke his arm, to be honest. Eric was a fearless man, no doubt, and a talented wrestler.
You know, Marc, you have been incredibly generous today with your time, and generous also whipping out your old accent, which I don’t know when the last time you spoke in this manner was! (laughing)
Marc: Well, I hope you enjoyed it. (laughing)
Absolutely, and more importantly, I think our listeners have, and we definitely wanna have you on again to talk to you again on the show, but before we go, as I – you know, when you and I first spoke, I explained to you and you seemed quite surprised that Marc Gullen and the House of Gullen has a big following now. People love watching the old interviews, people love the soundbites that we play on the program – Bix has a little thing ready at all times when we do the show where he could just play a Marc Gullen soundbite and it gets a big pop from our entire audience. It’s a big deal on the show now, and I feel an entire new audience – a bigger audience than even first discovered you – has now discovered you. So, before we go, I’d like to ask you – if there’s anything you’d like to say to the listeners out there who’ve discovered you, and the fans of Marc Gullen?
Marc: I want to say thank you to all the fans for granting me the awesome power of the House of Gullen. You who made us, you continue to breathe life into our memory, and to each one of you, I want to sincerely from my heart say thank you, because without you all, I would have had no career at all. I’m eternally grateful for each and everyone one of you – I’ve kiddied about you, I’ve told off-color jokes, but in all sincerity, I say thank you and that I’m extremely grateful. God bless each and every one of you, and to be watching because I believe we’ll have T-shirts here before very long commemorating the House of Gullen. (laughing)