Blood? Gun? Ra­zor? It’s story time

Tulsa World - - SCENE - Tramel

BILLY JACK WAS talk­ing. Words came from his mouth: Blood. Ra­zor. Knife. Gun. And he said he was hit by a car. Wow. Heck, it sounds like be­ing the real-life Billy Jack was, at times, as haz­ardous as be­ing the big-screen Billy Jack.

Quick mo­tion-pic­ture les­son: Billy Jack was a pop cul­ture phe­nom in the 1970s. Tom Laugh­lin starred as Billy Jack in four movies – “Born Losers,” “Billy Jack,” “The Trial of Billy Jack” and “Billy Jack Goes to Washington.”

The money quote came in the sec­ond film: “I’m go­ing to take this foot and whop you on that side your face, and you want to know some­thing? There’s not a damn thing you’re go­ing to be able to do about it.”

You can guess what hap­pened next, or you can Google the video clip if you want to see some­body smarmy take a foot to the

face.

Sadly, you won’t get any new Billy Jack sto­ries from Laugh­lin. He died in 2013.

But you can hear old Billy Jack sto­ries from another Billy Jack. He lives in Owasso. Billy Jack is his real name.

Billy Jack, 75, con­tacted the Tulsa World af­ter news popped that ex-pro­fes­sional wrestler Steve Cox hoped to stage monthly pro wrestling shows at Expo Square Pav­il­ion. Mem­o­ries came flood­ing back. A for­mer Tulsa po­lice of­fi­cer, Billy Jack moon­lighted at lo­cal pro wrestling shows in the 1960s.

“My job was to pro­tect the wrestlers, not pro­tect the peo­ple from the wrestlers,” he said.

Check out Billy Jack’s sto­ries and you’ll un­der­stand why he had to pro­tect the wrestlers.

- tor who lost his li­cense to prac­tice once came to a show armed with a gun.

The ex-doc­tor was al­lowed to con­tinue to come to shows, but only af­ter con­sent­ing to a se­cu­rity check.

“It wasn’t like now, when you go to ev­ery­thing and they shake you down,” Billy Jack said. “That was very un­usual. So ev­ery night I would have to shake this old doc­tor down and pat him down and make sure he didn’t have a gun.”

out of the ring dur­ing a char­ity bout. And, be­cause it was a char­ity show, ring­side seats were oc­cu­pied by sharp­dressed folks who didn’t usu­ally watch “rasslin.”

“This lady was sit­ting with a nice dress and she had a cup of beer in her hand,” Billy Jack said. “The wrestler kind of jos­tled her a lit­tle bit and spilled the beer on her.”

That didn’t make the woman happy, and when the wrestler started to get up, “she just kicked him with the heel of her shoe, and it was one of those stiletto heels, a real sharp heel. It went right through his trunks and blood­ied his butt up. He went back and got in the ring and wres­tled.”

one of the few times he saw ac­tual blood in the ring. Here’s another: Lou Th­esz was wrestling Bolo, a masked bad guy who tended to hide for­eign ob­jects in his mask. Th­esz threw Bolo down and in­tended to do a “safe” knee­drop. Th­esz’ aim was off. His knee landed on Bolo’s hand. Crunch.

Th­esz put his hands up and backed away be­cause he didn’t want to con­tinue a match against some­one who likely had bro­ken bones. Bolo slapped Th­esz. Twice. That was the wrong thing to do and Th­esz was the wrong per­son to slap. Th­esz got Bolo on the ground and knee-dropped him again, this time in­ten­tion­ally tar­get­ing the hand.

“When he did — and I’m right there in the ring, I’m within 10 feet of him — the bone came up and the blood shot out, and that was the end of that match,” Billy Jack said. “(The bone) was stick­ing up an inch and a half. That was the real thing. Peo­ple got their money’s worth that time.”

re­moved from World War II when Billy Jack worked at pro wrestling shows. He said many peo­ple har­bored an­i­mos­ity to­ward the Ja­panese and, of course, Ja­panese wrestlers were cast in “bad guy” roles. Billy Jack of­fered those re­minders when talk­ing about what he said was his “clos­est call.”

Ir­ish Mike Clancy was a “good guy” wrestler who, when tossed out of sight, used a ra­zor blade to slice him­self and draw a blood. Billy Jack knows this be­cause he saw it hap­pen when he pre­tended to check on Clancy. Then Clancy would climb back in the ring, see the blood and go into such a frenzy that he would wind up win­ning the match.

One night Clancy was am­bushed by Mr. Moto (born in Hawaii, but billed as be­ing from Ja­pan), whose part­ner was in the ring. Mr. Moto started hit­ting Clancy in the head with a shoe.

A fan be­came so en­raged that he took out a knife and started walk­ing to­ward the ring. He told Billy Jack he was go­ing to kill the bad guy.

Billy Jack was armed with a .357 Mag­num, but he knew he couldn’t pull out a gun in a crowd. So how can he get out of this jam? He used words.

“I don’t like this guy, ei­ther,” Billy Jack said. “Go get him.”

When the knife-wielder turned his back to Billy Jack to climb the ropes, Billy Jack seized the op­por­tu­nity and dis­armed him.

“The peo­ple were boo­ing me,” Billy Jack said. “It was like I had done the worst thing in the world.”

a car, but it wasn’t driven by an an­gry wrestling fan. He said he was do­ing off-duty work at a drive-in and got smacked when he at­tempted to cor­ral a driver who was in a hurry. That led to a hos­pi­tal stay and then bor­ing desk duty, and Billy Jack moved on with his life, oc­ca­sion­ally cap­i­tal­iz­ing on his name.

Peo­ple used to ask if he was the “real” Billy Jack when he used a tele­phone to make ho­tel reser­va­tions. He re­sponded by say­ing he was the orig­i­nal Billy Jack “be­cause I fig­ured I was.” Ho­tels found a room for Billy Jack.

“What’s funny is I was in St. Louis one time on busi­ness and, right down from my ho­tel, there was this bar there,” Billy Jack said. “It was (named) Billy Jack’s Bar. I went in there and I said ‘Would you give a free drink to Billy Jack?’ Well, sure.”

And one tin soldier rode away.

Tom Laugh­lin, who died in 2013, starred in four movies as the char­ac­ter Billy Jack. A for­mer Tulsa po­lice of­fi­cer named Billy Jack said it was neat to share the char­ac­ter’s name.

CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World

Billy Jack, who shares a name with a movie char­ac­ter, is a for­mer Tulsa po­lice of­fi­cer who han­dled se­cu­rity dur­ing lo­cal pro wrestling events in the 1960s. Pho­tographed in his “man cave,” Jack said he had to pro­tect wrestlers from the fans.

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