British Wrestlers Reunion
Strengthening the Ring of Friendship

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Vic Coleman dead at 93

 

We sincerely regret to announce that legendary middleweight wrestler : VIC COLEMAN passed away peacefully in the early hours of this morning aged 93 years. 

 Vic was a typical hard-nosed old school wrestler having been taught by his Father AUBREY COLEMAN , himself a combatant in the 1908 Olympics and known as BULL COLEMAN.  The youngster joined the Professional ranks way back before the second World War at just 15  and soon won fame for his technical agility and know how. At that time he was considered to be the youngest Professional in the world. During the war, he put his career on hold to join up and serve with the Royal Air Force along with Joe D'Orazio, and upon his demob, joined the Pro ranks once again , topping bills all over the Country and Europe, through the 40s/50s and 60s, winning the British Empire middleweight title, by beating off contenders such as  Dan Darby, Ken Joyce, Ken Wilson, Charles "College Boy" Law, Bob Russell, Russ Bishop,and  John  Lipman.

 

 

( Bull Coleman with his Championship diploma which is now in a museum with all their other awards)

 

 ( Vic with his beloved Parents)

 

 In all, Vic's father was seven times heavyweight 'catch-as-catch-can' champion of Great Britain and represented Britain at the Olympic games at White City in 1908. He obtained the name "Bull Coleman" because he often used to use his head and shoulders during bouts thereby throwing this opponent. He served in the first world war and was mentioned 5 times in dispatches and awarded the Military Medal. All of "Bull" Coleman's War and Olympic medals, along with photos etc. are on display in the museum at Aldershot (Vic's  awards stand alongside his Father's)

 

Raised and schooled at grammar level in Bromley, Kent,the little lad was introduced to wrestling as young as eight years old. A little known fact is that Vic was the athlete that appeared in many Cadbury chocolate adverts as the ninja that climbed into the Ladies bedrooms 'all because the Lady loved Milk tray !' He also starred as a stunt man in many other movies.Away from the ring , he was very successful in Business and was happily married for many years.

 

( Vic with his lovely wife and a shot of his rolls royce )

He was a great supporter of the British Wrestlers Reunion staying in touch with all his wrestling pals regularly,and in 2002 the Reunion honoured Vic with a lifetime achievement award accepted from his dear life long friend JOE D'ORAZIO.

 

 (Vic Coleman looking fit at 82, receiving a life time achievement award from Joe D;Orazio with Mick McManus and Pat Roach )

 

Underneath, we reproduce an interview with Vic Coleman that explains his illustrious wrestling career far more than we can.

 

 

 

 Vic Coleman speaking on August 6th 2011, at the age of 91 years

Among the heavyweights, light heavyweights, I used to like watching Benny Sherman. He was very, very fast and good. So much so they put him in a bout, a big bout, at the ring in Blackfriars with Assirati. He came over specially from America with Billy Bartush and Karl Pojello. They were all very good, genuine, solid wrestlers. Somebody had the bright idea of billing, top of the bill, Bert Assirati and Benny Sherman and I watched it because I was keen to see it. But it didn’t really live up to expectations because Benny Sherman was so quick every time Bert tried to grab hold of him, and Benny knew that if he did really hold him he would never get away. It was called in the end, and the crowd were booing, they were just facing each other and mauling each other around and it was declared a no contest.


( The fearsome Bert Assirati)
   

 Question: Did they have rounds?
Well, the rounds when I first started, they were six ten minute rounds, then you got a break after ten minutes, and you needed it, quite honestly.

I used to go down the gym. Dad had the gym at the Old Kent Road at the Gas Works. He was the sports secretary for the South Metropolitan Gas Company. He had a big job because they were very keen on sport there. The rivals to the South Met Gas Company were the Gas Light and Coke Company. There was great rivalry between them, but we won out. I used to go down and play at refereeing when I was 8 years old. Dad used to take me down when I’d done what little homework I had to do and then I grew up in the game.



I had my first professional bout, well I wasn’t really a professional then, but I had my first sort of exhibition bout at the Paget Hall, Gillingham, near Rochester. I was against a chap called Ned Sparks. The reason I was made a professional was because the crowd liked my wrestling so much so that they threw money into the ring – half a crown here and there, and it mounted up. I got a write up, which said Mr Coleman (Bull Coleman was dad’s name) has produced a genius, and this money was thrown in the ring and I got the seconds to collect it. It was quite a bit and it worked out that with the half crowns and a couple of notes went in too, I was making more than the top of the bill so I shared it with Sparks, I mean it was an exhibition bout. When I came off my dad said “Well done son”, and I said “Yes dad”, or words to that effect, and he said “Of course, you realise now that you’re professional”. I said “No, I’m not”. He said “Yes you are, under (and it was very, very strict in those days) the rules, anybody accepting money or things like that for a contest is classed as a professional”. So I became a professional at the age of about fifteen.

 

( Father and Son age 15 )

 

 ( A very young Mike Marino, Vic Coleman and Bert Royal)

 

    Question: Were you disappointed to have become professional, by default? Had you been taking part in amateur competitions, and you couldn’t do that any more?
Well it was very tempting, you know, to have all those half crowns and two shilling pieces as it was then, and shillings and sixpences, they were all silver. So that started me on the road. And then I went in and I won the championship in the end.

I had some hard battles, because I was only fifteen. I did make quite a few contests, some of them at Rochester which was near Gillingham (Paget Hall) where it all started.

I had a bit of money and dad put a bit towards it too, and I bought my first sports car. I had to laugh because I was still at school. I went to Bromley Grammar School. Some of the teachers used to arrive by pushbike, and Vic used to appear with his sports car. I was quite popular there, to tell you the truth.


( Maurice Letchfield (promoter), Mick McManus, 'Tiny Carr ( Referee), Jack Dempsey, Harry Smith (Sponsor - holding the cup), George Kidd, Archer O'Brien, Ed Capelli, Vic Coleman, Stan Stone, Ken Joyce before a title tournament)

 

 


Yes, I’ve had my laughs, but I’ve had my knocks too. I still suffer from knocks and things I had through the wrestling. This patella on my knee here, which I’ve had all the trouble with. I should have had it replaced, which you could do now, but I never did, and I’m suffering from it now. I’ve still got here a bit of a swelling. It’s called a ganglion, and that’s from taking an unlucky fall. And of course I suffered a bad one which was my own fault. I got broken ribs and displaced the cartilage between my ribs. It was so simple. I had some friends there and I was showing off. I really was trying to impress them. I knew I could finish this bout whenever I wanted to, so I thought I’d show ‘em. I hand-waisted the opponent I was with, I forget who it was now, could have been The College Boy, and I threw him backwards, at the same time going into the wrestler’s bridge, you know your head is on the ground and your feet are, and in so doing, showing off really. I hit with my shoulder the bottom rope, and it skewed me that way and I got his whole weight and everything I got it on my chest and everywhere and they had to take me to hospital. I’d got two broken ribs and displaced cartilage. With your hand you can feel where one of the ribs has knitted and it’s like a lump, and all of the cartilage, I’ll always remember I made it home, I was in pain, and my sister who was training to be a nurse said oh you’ve got to sleep on something because of that, sleep on a board, and she went and got the clothes board and I slept on that for quite a while, but it did good, it helped, and then gradually it all knitted together not all of it, there’s some there that you can still feel the break.
    Question: Were you bandaged up?
Well the hospital, they had to take me to hospital, it was not boarded up it was strapped mid way to mid way at the back, almost like elastoplast. That happened … the wrestling was at what was a swimming baths at East Ham, the other side of Blackwall Tunnel. I remember I was driven home from there, through the Blackwall Tunnel to get to Bromley in Kent and I remember there was a cat or dog or something ran across in front of us in the Blackwall Tunnel and they jammed on and oh god, the pain. It was all part of it. I have suffered. A lot of people say oh you’re not suffering really but that finger won’t knit properly it’s like that permanently, and that’s because I came back and I thought that’s funny, and I didn’t realise it was broken. I’ve had dislocated thumbs which occasionally I suffer with, sort of sciatica pain with the finger.

 

( Vic takes on  Charles 'College Boy' Laws for the  British Empire Title and wins. Tiny Carr is referee) 

 

 


Then my teeth. I was on with a wrestler, and a lot of people wouldn’t wrestle him because he was unpredictable, one you may know, Les Kellett. I was on with him at the Liverpool Stadium. He used to do all sorts of fancy stuff to get a laugh, and it annoyed me, and he knew it annoyed me and he did it even more, but I showed him that I could handle it. Then out of the blue all he did was nut me with his head and he broke my teeth off here, the teeth came through there, I’ve still got a little scar there now I can feel. And that was Les Kellett, he was unpredictable. It got so bad with him that other wrestlers if they knew that they were with Les Kellett they would fight shy of him, because he would do the most ridiculous things. You are trying to please or give a show to the crowd. With him, perhaps he’s got an arm and he’d twist it so you’d do a forward roll to get out of it, but not with him, he’d hold it and then backwards, he’d dislocate your shoulder. He was ruthless.

 

Another one I still keep in touch with is Mick McManus. Mick’s alright. He used to have a nickname for me which was The Governor because he knew I was the Governor, put it that way. But he was a good wrestler, tough. He still keeps in touch with me and I keep in touch with him. And the other one I keep in touch with is Bert Royal, you know the Royal brothers. His brother Vic, another Vic, has arthritis. He was in a bit of a bad way. He was a good wrestler, Bert Royal was. Oh I can name them all.

 ( Meeting up with Mick mcManus again )



It was funny, dad used to bring odd people down to the gym who were wrestlers and he used to make me have a pull around with them. I always remember once I came down and there was a chap sitting there who I didn’t know from Adam – I’ll think of his name in a minute. He wasn’t a professional. He was sitting in the gym, and the wrestling mats were down. We had mats we used to put down to wrestle to break the falls a bit. I’d never seen him before, so my dad said Vic, have a pull round with this chap. So I thought, well OK, a bit cocky like, and I pulled around with him and he, bloomin’ heck, everything I did he countered and he was better than I was. I got back to where dad had an office there and I got back in this office and dad said to me, what do you think? I said I bloody well didn’t do very well did I? And he said no, I did it purposely because he’s a very good wrestler and you were getting too cocky. He said I just wanted you to know that no matter how good you think you are there’s always somebody better, and I’ve never forgotten that. He was just an ordinary chap whose name was something like John Smith, just a normal bloke, no fancy name to him at all, but he taught me a lesson I can tell you. Well, I was only about 15 or 16, and he was a lot older. But yes, it’s been an interesting life.



    Question: When you first started as a professional were the opponents a lot older than you?
Yes, nearly all of them were older than I was.
    Question: What did they think if you beat them?
They took it for granted. You’ve got to remember my dad was always with me, and if they started taking the mickey or fooling around, my dad was there after them, and he was a big man. He was about 15 stone, and could be a very tough person.

    Question: Was he the promoter? Did he put the shows on?
Oh no. The person that really started wrestling in this country was a showman and pure and simple really and his name, but he did know a little about wrestling but he used to fix all his matches and pick the easy ones, and his name was Atholl Oakley. Because he inherited something in Scotland and he became not Lord but Sir Atholl Oakley, and he was no good as a wrestler, a showman pure and simple. It was he who started off, I’ll always remember dad was disgusted with it, and I didn’t like it. I don’t know where they got him, but I presume it was from this country, and dressed him up as a Red Indian and he came in with a gown on and ooh ooh ooh (Red Indian whooping noises) it was showmanship, and that’s what Atholl Oakley tried to build the game as.


 ( Vic tackles Doug Joyce)

 I remember once I was on with an Indian boy and frankly I was dragging it out and I hate to say it but it was a no match really, and who did we have this was at the Albert Hall, who did we have at the Albert Hall watching the wrestling than Prince Philip. I tried hard and I got him to try hard to see if we could be thrown through the ropes and go underneath and get up outside and fall in the lap of Prince Philip. I don’t think Prince Philip ever appreciated or knew it was being done, but it never did work.

For the entertainment value, it was poorly paid. If you were, truthfully, you could be second top of the bill and what would you get? Round about under two pounds. Of course a pound was worth more then. And there were promoters, one was … oh he was a mean bugger. He was also the MC.



    Question: Were the promoters always honest with you?
No. It used to be only about half a crown to come in and watch the show then. Money didn’t go far in those days.

Very often I get asked were all the bouts fixed? That is a leading question, it’s a wonder you haven’t said it.
    Interviewer: Well, it would be like judo, a stalemate, with not much happening for the crowd to see
Dad often would ask who I was on with, and he used to invite that individual down to the gym to do a bit of training, and when he was there, him knowing that I’m booked for a bout with him. And then the chap would come down, of course dad was a power in the business he used to come down to the gym which was at the Old Kent Road gas works, it was a very nice gym actually, and dad would say quietly have a pull round with Vic and 10 to 1 it would be me on top, put it that way. And he used to say to these people now if you’re on with him, make a bit of a show of it, otherwise I’ll tell him to do whatever he likes. And that’s the only time, it didn’t happen often, used to get somebody that’s got a bit cocky and he wanted taking down a peg or two.


 ( Vic against Bill Brennan)

 

 I wrestled a lot, I used to go over to Paris, I wrestled a lot in France. I used to go not every month but frequently to France. Dale Martin promotions used to book me. And you were paid well, it was a competition if you could go down there because the French used to pay out more than the English. They were all right. I wrestled at the Salle Wagram and the (Cirque de Veremos?) which was the winter place and they used to like their wrestling in France.

 



    

Question: What did you think of the England v France tournaments?
The promotions were more or less always run by Dale Martin Promotions at the Albert Hall. I never liked it. I went there a few times. I never liked it because it was so big, the crowd was scattered around and any applause was rather lost because it was vast. To be honest you do rely, as a professional whether it’s boxer or wrestler, you rely a lot on the crowd. I mean, to sit there and hear Come on Vic, and all this (applause), Hooray, good old Vic, it boosted you, but those days are past..

 

 

    (Looking at programmes from the Royal Albert Hall). Interviewer: That programme is from 1968.
Oh yes, Ian Campbell. Ray Hunter was good. Tibor Szakacs was a nice chap. He was all right. Les Kellett, I bet he didn’t get on well with him. Kwango, oh yes, I always remember once with Kwango … George Hackenschmidt – he was a strong man.
    Question: Did you wrestle Johnny Kwango?
Kwango, yes. I’ll tell you a little story. I was working once for … there used to be down south … was Dale Martin Promotions. Up north it was a wrestler called Relwyskow, and occasionally you could go up there and Relwyskow, they’d put you to accommodation there if you were going up for 2 or 3 shows. I’ll always remember I was only about 15 or 16, dad saw me onto the train. I went up to I think it was Bradford where they were, and Kwango was staying there too and they said – you’ll laugh really, it’s funny – but I was told that, downstairs, they thought they’d pull my leg a bit, but I didn’t know this, I was only about 16 then, and I’d gone … proud of myself because I’d gone all that long way for the show and I was getting a bit big-headed actually. I forget who it was actually said it but they pulled me to one side and said Mr Relwyskow has said you’ll have to sleep with Kwango. I said oh, so he said yes, it’s twin beds and Kwango will be in the other one, and we do want to warn you Vic, we did tell your father, but he’s a queer. And do you know I went to bed that night and every time I heard a movement in the bed next door I was wide awake. That was Kwango. He was all right but he had a permanent … on his leg he had a plaster that he used to put on before he wrestled. I’ve wrestled him. He was strong, he was quick, but not all that brilliant. He had, I don’t know what it was, he had something wrong with the bone of his leg, and he used to have it bound because it would weep and it wasn’t very pleasant. I always remember that night it was … and they had me going. There used to be a lot of joke people used to pull your leg amongst ourselves.

 Question: Did he know about this joke. Did they tell him what they’d told you?
I don’t know. I don’t think they did, because he didn’t try anything on. But I was scared stiff. Oh, they used to do all sorts of things, nothing too … you want to get home, your bout’s finished and everything. You go to the dressing room where the other competitors are. You go to lift your wrestling bag with all your gear in it and somebody’s nailed it to the floor. They were like that, you know, they’d pull your leg a lot. They were a right crowd, but they were all right.

 

 


 At my age now I am suffering a bit from the bangs and knocks I took. They make and you fake, put it that way, a big fall, you’ve got to go with it and ride it, break fall and everything like that. I mean dad when he first started wrestling he would make me for at least half an hour what he called break fall, in other words fall backwards but make sure your arm gets there first breaking the fall, break fall, break fall, but it worked.

 

    Question: Did you ever do more than one show in a day?
Yes. On one occasion I did three shows in a day. I wrestled in Coventry – I was popular there – got in my car, I had my car obviously then. And then I shot across from Coventry to Brum. I used to wrestle at Brum, Galaland it was called, I believe it was bombed during the war. I was first bout, I’d stipulated I’d got these bookings I was … I knew it was an easy bout I’d got so I insisted on going on first. I drove still with my wrestling boots on because they used to take time with all the lacing up of those. I got to Galaland and I had my bout, the last bout. Coventry used to be in the mornings. In the afternoons I went to Birmingham, and then I drove home and in the evenings I was last bout on at West Ham baths. I did three and I got, oh around 30 bob a time … It was good fun, but at times a hard do.


 ( starting a bout with Cal Cashford)


There’s one old programme I found there which made me laugh. I lived at Norwich then. I hadn’t long been married. At Norwich they used to hold in a big hall where the weights and measures people were what was the … There was a tough guy on called Steve Logan he was a very strong fellow. I always remember I went to watch Steve, in the Corn Exchange it was, a big hall. I knew Steve, he was a nice chap, and he had an unlucky … he twisted the wrong way, dislocated his knee, similar trouble to what I had, and had to go, or was advised by the doctor, they had a resident doctor in the audience, to the emergency hospital for them to put his knee back. Anyway I had my car out the back because I wasn’t wrestling, I was just watching, and always used to go to the dressing room to chat with the lads, because it was like a close clique and I said I’d run with my car, I had a Vauxhall then I can see it clearly now, I could run him to the emergency hospital. I said it’s on the way. They used to have half the bill and generally the referee would come up on an 8-seater coach, and they’d got the coach out the back. I said you’ve got to pass the emergency place, so call in and collect Steve, I’ll take him there, I took him I my car. I remember him clinging on to my arm and I thought bloody hell, he’s really clawing it. He must be in pain. Anyway, we got there and I explained what it was. He was still in his dressing gown because he was finding it difficult to hop around and change because his knee was bad, it was swollen, and they called a doctor in, a young fellow he was, and there was a spare bed for emergency. I can see Steve sitting on that bed now like that, no sheets on it. There was a mattress and he sat on that, and this doctor, a young chap came in and said oh dear, when he was told what had happened, hmm I’m sure we can put that right. I was sitting there, and Steve said – he was a real Cockney – he said ‘ere mate, have you done many of these? He said, well no this will be my first. So (Steve) said (I can hear him now) oh sod you, you’re not buggering around with me, I’ll wait for the coach. So the little coach came and apparently he went all the way to London with his leg propped up and went into emergency there.

 

 

    Question: What did you think of the McManus and Logan tag team?
I liked Steve, he was all right, he was down to earth. Mick, he had an antique business in Peckham. He just built up that reputation, actually it was Joint Promotions, got the reputation that he hated Jackie Pallo. Jackie Pallo was all right. They weren’t hating each other but it built up a hate relationship and the promoters who were television people loved it and encouraged it. So much so that everyone was saying oh Pallo and McManus - I wonder who’s going to win this Saturday, and things like that. I mean Mick was fair, I had one fight where I think I’ve got it in there you can read it. I hung it out a bit and we got a return bout, and with the return bout the promoter had put the wages up for us, and Mick hung on to his but I said I’d give all mine to the local hospital and that went down well. Mick’s all right but he’s a showman. And he can be a rough handful.



One promoter who used to wrestle as well was Les Martin. He used to run the show but he wasn’t all that good really.

What annoys me is now, I mean you used to wrestle and to be honest you did a lot of throws and holds that truthfully didn’t do much but they were crowd pleasers and it built it up, and that’s when Atholl Oakley took it a bit further and dressed them up as an Indian or something like that, and he had one fellow that used to come in … he did a bit of wrestling himself Atholl Oakley. He wasn’t bad, but no championships, but he used to come in as Lord somebody, and he used to have an acquaintance of his used to come in dressed as a servant, and he used to look after, instead of a second he used to be this chap that was Lord so and so’s valet and oh he was all for publicity, but as regards wrestling he wasn’t all that good.

I wrestled Ken Joyce quite a few times. We used to have quite a good bout, a scientific bout you know, nice.

At this point we adjourned for dinner.

 

 

 

 This is a transcript of an article printed in a magazine called "Airflow" published in Ceylon in June 1945.

     "Wrestling is more dangerous than stunting for the films", is the verdict of Vic Coleman, well-known free-style wrestler. We had a very interesting chat with Vic, a Royal Air Force Physical Training Instructor, stationed here in Ceylon, recently.

     "Young Bull Coleman", as Vic is known in the wrestling world, followed in his father's footsteps where that noble sport is concerned. His father was seven times heavyweight 'catch-as-catch-can' champion of Great Britain and represented Britain at the Olympic games at White City in 1908. He obtained the name "Bull Coleman" because he often used to use his head and shoulders during bouts thereby throwing this opponent.

     When Vic came into the game he was immediately styled as "Young Bull". He went into the wrestling game before he was eighteen years old and had to secure special permission from school to wrestle both in Great Britain and the Continent, and it later transpired that the same permission had to be granted for his film stunting. The latter began this way: - "Young Bull" was wrestling at a well-known London wrestling academy, Lane's Club, Baker Street, and had just won the Club's middleweight championship. An executive of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer was present and asked Vic if with 'his experience with difficult falls in wrestling' that he would like to do a stunt in George Formby's film "Keep Fit". Vic acquiesced and this was the start of his life as a stunt­man.

     Afterwards he appeared in such films as "A Yank at Oxford", "The Drum", "The Rat", "Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday", "Divorce of Lady X", and "Trouble Brewing". That is just a few, and during his work he has performed stunts in films starring with Robert Taylor, Maureen O'Sullivan, Vivien Leigh, Lionel Barrymore, Sabu, Raymond Massey, Kay Walsh, Googie Withers, Anton Walbrook, Gordon Harker, Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier.

     Those who have seen "Keep Fit" will remember that in the film George Formby was showing off in the gymnasium before Kay Walsh did a standing jump from a springboard on to some high horizontal bars. His rival puts the maximum tension on the springboard and after flying up in the air Formby comes to rest standing on the bars. He followed that with a somersault onto a trapeze and after a number of other complicated tricks he finished up hanging from some wall-bars minus his trousers. The height of the jump and the manner in which it was required to be done was an impossible feat for a human being. At the commencement of the trick George was shown flying upwards towards the bars. This was done by means of a very strong piano wire attached to a harness on his back under a singlet to his feet and pulled from above for a short distance. The film was then cut and a distance shot was taken with Vic Coleman standing on the bars at a safe height. The camera was at such a distance that his features were not discernible and Vic went through the remaining evolu­tions in comparative safety.

     Don't get the idea from that last remark that the stunt man always operates with reasonable safety. He does not, and a few words about car smashes will explain that. A stunt man works by contract and is not insured for his work. That contract entails that he will be paid for the specified stunt. But if it does not work out correctly the first time there is no specification as to the number of times it will have to be done. Highly paid work! (Vic says not), but highly dangerous as we shall see in a moment.

     First there is the scene in "Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday" where a car is driven over a cliff. A suitable cliff is found and the idea is that the car should career madly along parallel to it and with a sudden swerve shoot over the edge. Experience in this direction has shown that a car going over a cliff edge will have the tendency to topple over and over on its way down. What the film people need is a good clean dive and so it is the duty of the stunt-man to place a piece of wood a little wider than the wheel­base of the car, on the cliff edge and drive the car over it. The wood will on striking the front wheels cause the car to rebound into the air and make a clean dive. As it strikes the wood it breaks a trip wire, setting a camera, placed at the foot of the cliff in motion. The stunt man does not remain in the car while all this is going on. The side of the car furthest from the camera is cut away and a dummy slumped over the steering column. Using this dummy as a shield from the camera the stunt man crouches on the running board and with a hand underneath the dummy grips the column and steers the car. As it strikes the wood on the cliff edge he leaps clear. It's all a matter of timing so Vic says, but we'll stick to this job!

     Overturning a car in rapid motion seems to be far more dangerous. The camera is set on the road and the spot where the accident is to occur is marked with a small patch of oil or wood. The cameras are "rolling," and with Vic at the wheel the car moves forward, downhill and at some distance away from there. Before coming into vision of the lens the driver must initiate a body sway on the car. When a speed of between thirty-five to forty miles an hour is registered he does this by throwing the car from side to side on the road. As soon as the car enters the vision of the camera the wheel is steadied and that body sway is present it is not visible to the camera. "All that remains is to twist the wheel and the car will turn over on the required spot." That sounds easy, as Vic put it to us. But what happens to the driver? He has to bunch himself up, hands behind his head and avoid the steering column, which will rebound with tremendous force. He has been very lucky and all his crashes have worked first time, and without serious injury. An old car is always used for this work and if the stunt does not work 'first time' it is painted with glycerine and clear oil and to the camera it will shine like a new car.

     We could go on giving the inside gen on stunts for a long time but it really is not fair give away trade secrets.

     Stocky and well-built, Vic is twenty-five years old, weighs around twelve and a half stone and is single - at present. Majority of his film work has been with M.G.M. but he has been loaned out to other companies. The outbreak of war cancelled a contract for a six-months wrestling tour of South Africa, which was to have been followed by a further six months in America. He is hoping that this contract will stand after the war.

     During his time in the service he was a P.T.I. at an R.A.F. station near London and had first-hand experience of the London blitzes. This has come in handy because he has used his experience in one of his spare-time interests. He does impersonations, and recently appeared as guest artiste with the local show, Beau Belles. His concluding item, "a London Air Raid" is extremely realistic and with the setting of a blacked-out hall and stage it conjures up many memories.

     His other peacetime activities have included two appearances in television, and a broadcast in that popular feature "In Town To-night." So the next time you visit the films remember that you probably only go to see the stars. A number of people like Vic are risking their lives to provide you with thrilling entertainment. We wish him the best of luck and hope that it will not be long before we shall see many more of his stunts.

 

We are very grateful to Chris Owens of Wrestling Furnace and to Vic's friends Jack and Sylvia for providing information and photographs during the preparation of this obituary. 

 

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