Maestro of the microphone !!!
Tribute to Television’s No. 1 commentator:
Kent Walton was many wonderful and talented things but he was not a wrestler, he was wrestling !!
Through his magical commentaries over thirty two entertaining years, many of my colleagues including myself became well known to the general public, enjoying a status that we did not deserve.
His humour and easy going elegant laid back style, coupled with impeccable dress sense, gave a sartorial effect which belied a consummate dedicated Professional who moulded his craft to perfection.
Until his appointment to the small screen in 1955, wrestling had appealed to only a minority audience, and the risk that he took by accepting the challenge was immense, when you consider that he was already a celebrity in his chosen field of entertainment, as sports organiser on “Cavalcade of sport” for Independent Television.
After the war,
culminating in the
Many film roles followed starting in
Concurrently, he compered several light entertainment shows such as “Answers please”, and the fantastic “Cool for Cats” which was the trend setter for every pop show since .Later, he co-devised the “Disco A Gogo” show with pal : Ker Robertson for TWW.
The rest is history, with every village and town in the
Wrestlers enhanced their own coteries with fan clubs mushrooming everywhere. Even Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip were glued to the box when “everything stopped at four o clock”, to quote a Walton phrase. It was the birth of the superstar, and none more so than Kent himself. At one time his fan letters totalled more than 1500 per week.
Viewing figures went through the roof , often exceeding 14 million fans, which was unheard of for one sport. On one occasion, there was a recorded 17 million audience, tuned in to hear him say the magical words “Hello grappling fans” in his rich Mid Atlantic accent. Although born in
By the mid sixties, this icon of the TV screens was one of the hottest properties on television, and in 1964, he was invited to become anchor man at the Olympic Games in
Outside of commentating, he kept busy with various business interests such as Consultancy, Journalism , Commercial Radio, Film exhibition Coy etc., and even published a bestseller called “This Grappling Game” which has become a classic historical account of our beloved business. His thirst for life never diminished and was recently taking piano lessons, right up to his death’ He even recorded his own soliloquy which was played at his cremation in which his piano skills were interspersed with speeches and singing to his beloved family.
Wrestlers like Jackie Mr. TV Pallo or Wayne Bridges who had the honour to sit with Kent during some of those heady TV broadcasts, doing the inter round commentaries often recalled that one of the most memorable facets about this man was his ability to remember names even if he had only met the person once.
It is my privilege and honour therefore to pay this tribute to one of the greatest broadcasters of our generation.
The British Wrestlers Reunion, meets every year holding a function, to which Kent and his lovely wife Lyn often attended as special guests of honour. This year was to be very special as we were intending to award him a life time achievement plaque, from all his many friends in the wrestling business, in recognition of his unrivalled devotion to our profession
Sadly, his untimely death prevented this tribute, but his widow: Lyn and Son : Lee graciously allowed us to pay our respects by awarding the plaque posthumously, which was done at his memorial service in the company of Steve Veidor, “Judo” Pete Roberts, Prince Kumali, Bob Anthony, Wayne Bridges, and myself :Frank Rimer, who represented the whole wrestling fraternity.
Kent Walton, you were the epitome of professionalism, and the voice of wrestling on TV for all of us, whom we shall never see the like of again. May God bless and keep you in our hearts forever.
Tony Charles-Florida ( former Empire games Champion and Welsh Professional Champ)
The world is a sadder place for the passing of this great man of TV. Please pass condolences to his family from both of us.
Jackie “Mr. TV” Pallo ( former TV star)
I was there at the beginning and watched as he took wrestling and made it his own. I was proud to know him.
“Bad Boy”Bobby Barnes ( former TV star)
Ray Fury ( former light heavyweight Champion of
Kent Walton was an enigma. A legend far beyond our reputations.
“Bomber” Pat Roach ( Judo star,former British Heavyweight Champion and celebrated actor)
Kent and I went back a long way. He was a dear friend and the consummate professional. I was sad to miss his funeral due to filming commitments, my thoughts were with his family on the day.
Mick McManus ( the man they love to hate.
Every now and then a great man passes our way and touches our lives. Kent Walton was such a man. May he rest in peace.
Johnny Saint (former lightweight Champion of the world )
Not one of us wrestlers would have been anything on TV, without Kent Walton as the anchor man. He is assured a place in history. I will miss my good friend.
Colin Joynson ( former TV star)
Spencer Churchill ( former TV star and the worlds most perfect physique)
Kent and I were friends both on and off the screen. A great man , awesome actor and top broadcaster.