By Kyle Meenan
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Today the world of professional wrestling is based on the same hand to hand combat begun thousands of years ago.
The only difference is the addition of satellite television, magazines, multi-million dollars deals, high theatrics, showmanship, and a desire to be 'different' to stand out.
Forty two years ago in the 'new' Jacksonville Coliseum a man named Don Curtis won the hearts of thousands of fans by his no-nonsense, ethical approach to grappling. And he was among the best.
Today in the modest Arlington home he shares with his wife, Dottie, Don Curtis recalls the heyday of Jacksonville 'rassling' and the two decades that made his a household name here.
"It was good sport and good people and they were good," said Curtis talking about the competitors, promoters and fans of his era.
Curtis was always the good guy in the ring, insisting even today the importance of being ethical both in the ring and in every aspect of his life.
"That's what I felt was important, said Curtis. "And it worked out."
It worked out to land Curtis in the professional wrestling hall of fame, and decades later throughout the First Coast, folks still recognize him, smile and want to shake his hand.
"You feel so good. It's beautiful," said Curtis.
Curtis says as wrestling became more theatrical, he grew to realize it was time to retire from the sport.
"Not just for wrestling, it's people that are going around doing funny things and getting a little bit (pauses and grimaces), and so it was a good time to get the heck out."
Originally from New York, Curtis was known by many as the 'Buffalo Bomber.' He was a role model to a generation of First Coast kids and adults and says he's lived a fantastic life.
He retired from Professional wrestling in 1981, to run the old Gator Bowl complex. Later, he would retire as a City Manager from Jacksonville.
We asked, "Would he change anything if he could go back fifty years? Would he do things differently?"
Curtis flashes a broad grin and says, "I wouldn't care, as long as you got me there!"
First Coast News