Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Frank Bonnema

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have very fond memories of the old Portland Big Time wrestling show. When I was between the ages of 5-10 I would stay at my grandparent house on friday night and I wouldn't leave until tell Saturday evening. My grandfather and I watched Portland wrestling together every saturday afternoon.I suppose I would have had fond memories no matter what wrestling program I had watched with grandfather, but Portland wrestling wasn't just any wrestling program. During the period that we watched the show the northwest had an amazing array of talent. Pro wrestling icons like Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, and Jesse Ventura hit their stride as performers during their time in the northwest . When I first got on the internet I started looking for old Portland wrestling tapes.I seemed to find tapes from every rinky dink promotion from around the country but nothing from Portland from the time period I was interested in. The reason for this was that Portland promoter Don Owens recorded over the master copies every week. Could you have imagine if Lorne Michaels and NBC recorded over the master copies of Saturday night live during it's early years and all that Belushi, Akroyd, Murray stuff were lost for ever. Any way Don Owens kids can't be to happy because those old tapes would have been worth a fortune. Last year I finally found some tapes from the late 77 to early 80 time period. The quality of these tapes leaves alot to be desired. I still really enjoyed watching them. My first thought was how nice it was to hear announcer Frank Bonnema's voice again (when the audio acually would work). Bonnema hosted the show from 1967 until his death in 1982. Bonnema had a classic deep raspy voice that added to the drama of the action. The show was never the same after he was gone. Posted by Picasa


Kip said...

Frank was a kind and gentle sole. I used to love listening to him talk about all of the wrestlers. We used to take his clothes to the cleaners for dry cleaning, and my sister and I used to get strange looks due to the blood on his suits.
I am one of his step daughters. I used to go with him to the matches and sit up in the crows nest. we used to listen to old radio shows comming back from wrestling. He and I were night owls.
My oldest sister used his name Bonnema while she skated for Roller Derby ~ Bay Bombers.
lately I have met many people who are relitives, or friends of wrestlers or ringside rosie's grand daughter, its funny, why am I running into these people, and how do we end up talking about wrestling? But it brings up many fond memories.
thank you. Carolyn (Kip) Goodrich

Jim in Nampa, Idaho said...

Carolyn, as I recall, my father may have been an instructor of your sister in roller derby in Portland... I loved watching Frank work, he made the shows believable! Seemed like a pretty nice guy. How old was he when he passed away? You should ask your sister if he remembers a guy named Jim teaching her roller derby...hehe

Jim (Jr.) in Nampa, Idaho