Some refs were in the limelight continually.Some just blended in that you didn't know they were there.Which was your preference?
I always preferred a referee that didn't try to upstage the wrestlers, give me the ref who did his job so smoothly you didn't know he was there.
March 17, 2018 at 2:30 PM Edit Delete Flag Quote & Reply
Jeff Kaye was a favourite of mine. Completely understated, let the stars be stars.
It was never about the referee, it was about the wrestlers. Max Ward, Lou Marco, Joe D orazio commanded respect whilst keeping the spotlight on the bout, Brian Crabtree with his antics, was the one who was most guilty of upstaging the wrestlers. Didn't dislike Brian, but did dislike it when bouts he officiated in became "_The Brian Show" but in the shadow of Max & Shirley, suppose he had to make his mark somehow.
My favourite referee was the house referee at Liverpool Stadium for some years, Lew Roseby, who also worked under the name Len Ross, authoritative, let the contests flow. Always used to tickle me during a "clean contest", some wag from the crowd would call out: " time to go and get the kettle on, Len"! Inferring that the in ring combatants could be left to it..
March 17, 2018 at 2:46 PM Edit Delete Flag Quote & Reply
The referee had an important role, and an essential element was keeping a low profile. A low profile referee in control of a contest brought dignity and legitimacy to the match.
Talking of Dignity I always thought Ernie Baldwin had it. He seemed to blend in and look the part in the background.
My favourite referee in the 60s was Tiny Carr, does anyone remember him I think he ref'd for Dale Martin promotion, he was quite a character. 2 other referee's that ref'ed some of my bouts that I though were really good were Alan Martin (Martinelli) who provided the ring and ref'ed for Cyril Knowles and alias Roy Bull Davies. They could read the audience and if they were getting bored they would tell you to liven up or tell you to do something more exciting. regards Les.
i have to say that over all the years my favourite referee has to be Les Kellett.
Always knew what was going on, went along with the promoter's wishes obviously,knew the right calls and applied them correctly.
No one was more surprised than me when he made a name later for his comic shows in the ring.
A hard man, often not liked by some rivals in the entertainment.
His temperament or jealousy?
Suspect a mix of both, only speak on personal experience, one night outside Liverpool Stadium, I saw Les sat outside in his car, waiting for his son, Dave Barrie, who had taken part in the last bout of the night. I tapped on les car window, hoping for an autograph. I was surprised and delighted to get a handshake, an autograph and a brief chat about the evenings show! This reception was totally at odds with tales I read about Les later. Have to say the same about Shirley Crabtree, always time for a word, always pleasant..
I did think Max Ward got the balance right and remained unobtrusive most of the time but could and did add spice to proceedings, always appropriately, never excessively.
I think that when he did get involved, there was never a hint that he was trying to satisfy his own ego; he was usually highlighting the wrestler's villainy or comic routine.
I'd rather have a big tough referee in control of the bout and commanding respect than the small weedy referees who got knocked out like ninepins that they had/have in American Wrestling.
I agree with Anglo concerning his comments about Max Ward. When Max worked for Paul Lincoln I believe it was part of the show for him to become fully involved and he filled this role brilliantly particularly when involved with some one like "Docker" Don Stedman . If he had disqualifed Don or some other top notch heel, he ofton wrote down their name on a notepad and informed them in grave tones that they would be reported to the British Wrestling Federation- hilarious stuff, action which could see the disqalified wrestler demand a re-match, a much needed ingredient with the paucity of wrestlers in the Paul Lincoln stable.
Tiny Carr and Joe D'Orazio were first rate refs and sadly I can go back to Lou Marco, who until his road accident, was the number one for Dale Martin.He was small and lithe, but on occasions did go over the top.
It's hard to think of a Joint referee who didn't perform the role well. Until you know who came along. The referees I saw most often were all good - Don Branch, Martin Conroy, Let Roseby. Mind you Don did have that one major short coming. Funny thing is that after Don's indiscretion I can't remember who the referee was at Preston. I guess at the time I didn't see the referee as that important.
Emile Poilve credible quiet authority,knew the game inside out,compare him to Brian Crabtree is like comparing Shakespeare to village pantomime.
Agreed Paul, took over at Liverpool Stadium when Lew Roseby\Len Ross retired. Always unhurried, knew his job inside out, and on the couple of occasions I spoke to him a nice guy too. Wasn't he a hairdresser outside wrestling I seem to recall?
Best thing about Crabtree were his Max Wall trousers,made him look like a total...................(use your own word/s)
I can't remember Lou Marco clearly but have the impression he danced around too much, attention-seeking. Would that be right?
I think the short refs were great, especially Tiny Carr. They made the heavyweights look enormous and it was fun to see the big guys cower in front of them.
A ref I could never take to was Bernard Murray. Just tooooo invisible and added nothing.
You are right Anglo, Lou Marco was effective but sometimes appeared to want too much attention on himself. I thought Tiny Carr and Joe D'Orazio were far better. Also, although he was far from being short, ex-wrestler Stan Stone usually had full control of proceedings.
I was none too keen on Ernest Lofthouse or Jack Proctor.
I Pringle heavy middleweight champion
Hi all, unless i have missed them, DOUG DE RELWYSKOW and JOE HILL were allways well respected and stood no nonsense.
Okay Bernard. I only remember Ernest as an MC (and I did rate him as that) and am just too young to remember Jack Proctor (I don't say that very often these days).
Just been watching some clips on Youtube didn't realise that Alan Colbeck became a referee. Seemed to have an air of quiet authority about him.
I prefered the more subdued type of ref. Maybe that description doesn't quite fit Max Ward, but he didn't hog the limelight. As has been said, he took centre stage only to underline and support the action.
Tiny Carr came to Ryde Town Hall just the once when I was a regular punter. Likewise, Lou Marco visited just the once, but as M.C.
Joe D'Orazio and Tony Mancelli (both seen at Ventnor) stay in my mind as being good.
Ernie Baldwin has already been mentioned but Gordon Smith so far is missing. Always well turned out and forever on top of the bout in question; a gentleman outside of the ring as well.
Johnny Kwango, a bill topper in his time, but never overshadowed the wrestlers when he was third man
I think the ex-wrestlers in general kept well out of the limelight. They knew.
Kwango? Well I never. Didn't know he was referee.
(Bernard will be telling us Les Kellett was a referee next).
I wouldn't do that Hack, you wouldn't believe me.
You will be telling me that Les Kellett wrestled next.
Hack, hang on one moment, I have just remembered that I saw Les wrestle before you were born!
The Heritage Newsletter dated 11th March makes interesting reading in this regard.
"Referee Phillip Meader took heavyweight Karl Reginsky to court having been beaten up by him in the dressing room, after displeasing Reginsky in the ring."
I've never heard of Phillip Meader, but I don't think we know any old-time refs.
Phil Meader was a key man in building wrestling in England. He acted as Referee , MC and promoter.
He was from Blackfriars and was one of the management of THE RING. He was there from the start and I believe had been an amateur wrestler.
Lou Marco was another top 30's referee. Lew Roseby another. Peter Harvey (known as Spider Harvey) also refereed as well as wrestled. We know also that Job Shambley got up to some antics in the Billy Riley v Jack Pye match at Wigan in the 1930's. Joe Pye did some referee at Preston in the 1930's. Scotty Abrose of Aberdeen wrestled and refereed. Referee Sparks was popular (Not sure if he was wrestler Charlie Sparks)
They might have been short of refs because Jack Pye evven did it and Johanfesson (Joe Sheppard) often did his own shows.
All great stuff. How like Ron you rattle off half a dozen pre-war refs!
We all know our stuff, but these threads allow us to complement each other's knowledge, or, more to the point, what we can remember of what we saw decades ago --- or read last year. After all that: was the 150 pound fine a work? Was the judge deceived? Just how skilled was the planning?
I don't think the ref got his money because Reginsky was made bankrupt over a tax bill. He was a hard man who ran with the Sabinis and had his throat cut in Soho. There are pictures of him and if you look carefully you can see the scar.
Wonder if anyone on here saw Billy or Jack and for that matter I wonder if either made Black and White TV footage. Will we ever know.
Hi Ron, I know that i saw Jack Atherton wrestle but I can't remember much about him.
I will look at the results and see if that jogs any memories.
John Mack, dad of 70s\80s wrestler, Johnny Palance from Liverpool..and ex Liverpool Stadium house referee Lew Roseby, (sometimes billed as Len Ross) on these bills.
Hi Ron. I looked at the results and opponents but not much comes to mind.
I seem to remember Atherton using a lot of body scissors. Does that make sense?
One interesting thing that I noticed from the results.Jack was at Newcastle on 10/1/48, then 7/2/48, then 20/3/48.
Nothing else until 21/4/51, then 17/11/51 and 17/5/52.
Did he tour abroad in those 3 years or was he down South all that time?
Hi Bernard , Jack Atherton was pretty busy in the period he was missing at Newcastle.
Still wrestling in Colne and made Hartlepool a few times.
Maybe he had enough work without Morrell.
And yes I would think body scissors would be his style.