Blood? Gun? Razor? It’s story time
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
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.
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.