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RON MULLINAX INTERVIEW
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RON MULLINAX

Webmaster-Bob McCarthy recently contacted Ron Mullinax,the author of the new book entitled,"Fritz Von Erich-"Master of the Iron Claw". Finally a book written from a man who knew The Von Erich family very well and spent time with Fritz writing his story from his very last days of his life. Ron talks with us about his book,The Von Erichs,WCCW and the long awaited rumors of a Von Erich story film will ever be made! Conducted February 2nd. We thank Ron for his time. Check out www.fritzvonerich.com To order this great book about a amazing family.
 

1. You grew up watching Fritz. How did you first meet him?

I grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas and my parents were immense wrestling fans. Professional wrestling became a big part of my life at a very early age. I still remember my sister and I looking forward to Thursday nights, when our family would pile in our old green Chevy pick-up truck and head out to the local wrestling matches. On Saturday mornings, at 11:00 am, I would always be sitting in front of the television set watching NWA Championship Wrestling that was televised locally in Wichita Falls. It was on that television program that I saw Fritz Von Erich for the first time wrestling Gene Kiniski, the year was 1962 and I was 10 years old at the time.

The match was the best out of three falls, Fritz won the first fall, and Gene won the second fall after a very long battle. As the third and finial fall began, I found myself on the edge of my chair screaming for Fritz to win. To this day, I am still not quite sure why I started cheering for Fritz Von Erich. Maybe it was the way Fritz seemed to take total control of the match. About two minutes into the third and finial round, Fritz knocked Kiniski to the mat. With a sneer on his face, Fritz dropped to his knees in the center of the ring and clamped a very large right hand around the top of Gene Kiniski head. Fritz won the match that morning because of Gene not being unable to continue the third round.

From that point on, I was a true Fritz Von Erich fan. I made a point of watching Fritz whenever one of his matches was on television, for some unknown reason, Fritz Von Erich became my hero as I was growing up. Little did I know that one day, I would not only meet my childhood hero in person, but also would sit by his side and hold his hand as he passed from this world.

I first met Fritz Von Erich after a mutual friend in Dallas introduced me to Kevin, Fritz’s second-oldest and now only living son. The year was 1993, just shortly after Fritz’s fourth-oldest son, Kerry had committed suicide. Kevin and I found we both had a lot in common, being such big sports fans and me a big Von Erich fan. In addition, we both loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing and scuba diving. I had been working in the computer field and Kevin had shown an interest in the Internet that was just getting started up real good.

Kevin lived in Jefferson, Texas when we first met; he would drive to Denton a couple of times a month to visit his dad who lived by himself in a small frame house on his 150 acre ranch on Lake Dallas. Kevin would often stop by my house in Irving, Texas waiting for the traffic to let up before continuing on home to Jefferson. About a year and a half after we met, Kevin, his wife Pam, and their four children had a house build on the 150 acres ranch close to Kevin’s dad who was starting to have more and more physical problems. I was helping Kevin and his family move to Denton when I first met Fritz. Kevin and I had just finished unloading a truck at Kevin’s new house when Fritz and Kevin’s wife Pam walked in. Pam wanted Kevin to walk around the house to show him a few things the contractors had forgotten to do. Kevin introduced me to his dad and left with Pam. This left Fritz and I together, he and I talked for close to an hour, me telling him of the many years I had followed his career while I was growing up, and discussing some of what I thought were his best matches. After telling Fritz of my computer experience and the new World Wide Web, which at this time in 1995 had really taken off, he ask if I would be interested in showing him how to track his stocks in real-time over the internet and use a computer. Fritz was invested heavily in the stock market and heard how easy Windows 95 was. I jumped at the opportunely.

I had been working with Fritz for close to a year when he became sick and was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, the Doctors gave him around six months to live. I moved in with Fritz in July of 1997, and took care of him until he passed away in September of that year. Before Fritz passed away he and I became very close friends. After reading some of the rumors about him and the Von Erich wrestling dynasty over the internet, Fritz became concerned about some of the things people were saying about him and his family. Fritz relayed to me that many people had approached him over the years wanting to write the Von Erich story, but he said it always hurt him to think back on loosing his sons. Fritz made me promise to write his life’s story in his on words so all the Von Erich fans could hear the true Von Erich story from him.

2. On the outside. The Von Erich’s will tell you their family is that of the "American Dream Family". But in reality there were things that made 3 of them come to suicide. What are your thoughts of the reality of The Von Erich’s?

At one time when Kevin, David, and Kerry were in their prime and starting out with WCCW, I believe that they were "The American dream family." I was raised around the Dallas area and the Von Erich’s were all that everyone talked about in those days. On Sundays you would read all types of articles in the Dallas Morning News about Fritz and his family. During interviews on Saturday night wrestling, even before the Von Erich boys were old enough to wrestle you would see them on TV standing beside their dad during interviews, and at ringside cheering him on. When the boys started to college, Fritz would come on TV during "Saturday Night World Class Wrestling" and talk about his boys, what track record they broke or how many touch-downs they made. All those boys grew up at the Sportatorium in Dallas watching their dad. But, over a glass of Scotch one night, Fritz told me that he felt that the boys got too big to fast. (I would have to agree). Kevin, David, Kerry and later Mike were in such demand all over the world that I have always believed that all those bright lights and party’s got the best of them. How many of us out there can say that if we were Super Stars walking around in one of the Von Erich’s shoes that things would have been different for us? All those bright lights and exclusive party’s had to be a really big temptation. Kevin told me once that after he and his wife Pam were married, he would only wrestle in and around Texas so he could be with his family, while David and Kerry loved traveling and all the recognition they were receiving where ever they would go.

3. Past states of The Von Erich boys lived a full life. Some of them got in trouble with the law. Women, drugs, and performing in front of sold out crowds. Do you believe the boys at one time lived the life rock stars?

I think at one time, when those boys were changing Professional Wrestling in a way no one could have predicted. And what I mean is, by bring in the younger crowds to stadiums all around the World, something that had never happen before in wrestling history, they were treated even better than rock stars. Mike had just turned 18 when he stepped into the ring to take his brother David place in the six-man World Heavy Weight Championship Title match shortly after David passed away in Japan. That night, Kevin, Kerry, and Mike won a big match with the "Fabulous Freebirds" and believe me when I say that the city of Dallas went nuts. Mike became an overnight sensation at 18. Then, at Texas Stadium in front of the largest crowd to ever assemble for a wrestling match (Around 50,000 fans) Kerry beat Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavy Weight Title and the entire state of Texas went nuts. Kevin, Kerry, and Mike, were doing Pizza Hut and other commercials on local TV and Radio stations, and their names and pictures were everywhere you looked around Texas.

4. What are your thoughts of World Class Championship Wrestling?

The WCCW was the best wrestling franchise around when it was in it’s prime. When Fritz was promoting matches, and still wrestling, Kevin and David were just coming into the business. Less than a year later, WCCW started to maintained the number one TV rating, not only in the United States but throughout the World. Again, one night after a couple of glasses of scotch, Fritz told me that another thing that helped make Texas wrestling so poplar was not only the Von Erich boys coming on the scene, but Dory Funk Sr., and Dory Funk Jr. were making names for themselves in Amarillo, and little brother Terry Funk was just getting into the business about the same time as Kevin and David. Fritz credits Dory Funk Sr. for a lot of great promotional ideals that made WCCW and Texas wrestling what it would later become.

5. What did you learn from your friendship with The Von Erich’s?

First off, I would like to say that the time I spent with Fritz, Doris, and Kevin are times that I will never forget for the rest of my life. All three of them were the finest people I have ever met. So many times they would talk about all the great times their family had when the boys started wrestling and they would travel from place to place as a family. So many times I could feel happiness streaming out of them as they would relay one family story after another to me. Then, at times, their mood would change as they recalled the death of one beloved family member after another. I feel I learned so much from my friendship with Fritz, Doris, and Kevin. But, the biggest one thing I feel that I gained from their friendship is an enter strength that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

6. I have always been one to wish that a movie was made about there story. Do you wish a movie is made from your book?

I am glade you ask that question, my friend and partner Richard Lack and I have been writing the Von Erich screenplay based on my new book. We are nearing the end of most of the writing and are in the process of editing and cutting and moving scenes around. So, with a little luck and more hard work we hope to announce some very good news by the end of 2005.

7. Its 2005. What will your book tell us that we don't know? For years this story has been a mystery. Does your book help unlock that mystery?

The book, "FRITZ VON ERICH: Master of the Iron Claw" was told to me by Fritz himself. Before Fritz passed away it became important to him that the public know the truth about him and his family. I wrote the book from pages of notes I took while Fritz told me story after story, and I think that after you read the book and get past the introduction and start hearing Fritz tell his life story in his on words, you will come away knowing the true Von Erich story. You will also read about some of the problems the family faced in their life’s, and the reasons all three Von Erich boys committed suicide

8. Will you do book signings for your book?

Yes, I will do book a few signing as the screenplay nears completion. Trying to put out a book, followed up with a screenplay is not an easy task. But if everyone will check my website from time to time at: www.fritzvonerich.com I will keep everyone posted on the progress of the screenplay, and any upcoming book signings.

9. Would you like to see a "World Class Tribute" event each year to honor guys like Fritz, his sons and everyone that worked for the company?

One big thing that always seemed to be on Fritz’s mind is the fact that his career lasted over 35 plus years. Fritz told me many times that he owed so much of his success to all his employee’s that worked so hard for him for so long at WCCW and the Sportatorium, alone with other shows around the country. Fritz told me that he felt bad because he could not mention each and every one of them in his book. There were so many great wrestlers, promoters and others that helped make "World Class Championship Wrestling" what it developed into that I feel a Tribute would be something lots of wrestling fans around the world would get behind and enjoy.

10. What did you get out of writing this book, Ron? Do you think your story will help the legacy that is left behind of The Von Erich’s?

When Fritz first brought up the subject of me writing a book about him and his family, I laughed out loud; I told Fritz that I had never passed an English class in high school, and if I did I must have cheated. I really did try hard to pass this chore off on someone else because I did not have a clue as to how to start writing a book about such a famous family, and had no faith in myself. But the night before Fritz passed away he made me promise that I would write his story in his on words. I told him that night that I did not think that I could write something that he would approve of because I dropped out of high school my sophomore year and went into the Marine Corps, and felt that I did not have the proper expertise to accomplish such a task. His exact words to me were, "Ron, I remember a time when I thought I could never learn to use a computer. But you showed me that I was wrong. With your patience I learned to use a computer, and I feel that you have taken good notes on what I have told you over the past few months. Now, if you will sit down and put those notes together, I feel in my heart that you will come up with something that I will be very proud of. All you have to do is try Ron; will you promise me that you will at lease try"? So, I made that promise that night, and with the help of a computer, alone with my family, friends, and editors, I feel I have put together something Fritz would be very proud of.

 

 

I would like to commend Bob on putting together a great Website and asking me for this interview, letting all the Von Erich fans around the world know that some people still have not forgotten that "World Class Magic."

 

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my interview,

Ron G. Mullinax

www.FRITZVONERICH.Com

WCCW 2001--"KEEPING THE TRADITION ALIVE"!!!