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CHARLIE SMITH AND HIS IDIOSYNCRASIES
â€“ Dick Steinborn
December 5, 2008
Charlie Smith didnâ€™t know he had a problem when he got into the wrestling business.
Good referees in the wrestling game are ones who get the message. The good ones are with it.
Dick Kroll was an excellent third man in the ring up with the WWE some years back.
Floridaâ€™s Stu Schwartz was always available to be knocked down when the knock down was important.
One canâ€™t forget Ronnie West and his fast moves, sliding over wrestlers bodies to make that 3 count.
Charlie Smith on the other hand had the knack of knowing when to stand up to a bigger man, while pointing his finger at the villainâ€™s
face. Charlie backed down for no one. Charlie had the reputation of refereeing more NWA title matches than any other man wearing a
striped shirt in the ring.
Yet, Charlie had a problem. No one knew of this problem until it was revealed one July night in 1969.
Let me set the stage.
The Mobile office ran wrestling in Panama City, Florida, at a small roller rink. This particular night I am talking about, the ring was placed
outdoors and made into a small outdoor arena. There were about 200 people at ringside. I am in the ring with Rocket Monroe. The
weather was just perfect. No clouds in the sky, but the moon was in itâ€™s early harvest stage and looked bigger than normal.
After about 10 minutes of wrestling, I was laying on my back with Monroe sitting next to me with an armlock. Referee Charlie Smith was
standing in front of me bent over, with his hands on his knees, and there it was, that big moon right on Charlieâ€™s left shoulder.
And then it hit me that only a few days earlier, President Kennedyâ€™s NASA program successfully put a man on the moon. His name
was John Glenn. It was in the papers, and tremendous television coverage and on everyoneâ€™s lips everywhere.
While I was lying on that mat it was amazing to think that someone was walking on that planet. How far we had come.
Now I was about to discover Charlie Smithâ€™s problem. While lying on that mat, I suddenly threw my right arm up as fast as I could,
and pointed at the moon. I screamed at Charlie, â€œI see him! I see him!â€� Charlie slowly turned around, probably thinking it could be
a fan coming in the ring. As Charlie spun back around looking at me, I yelled at him loudly, "Itâ€™s John Glenn on the moon! I swear,
Charlie, I see him walking up there.â€�
With that thinking into Charlieâ€™s clever brain, it triggered an electrifying vibrating machine. Charlie was laughing so hard and trying to
hide it, that his knees went out. He dropped to both of his knees and tumbled forward, landing on his elbows and wrists. He was still
shaking. Next came the head slowly lowering to the canvas. He looked like a Buddhist at prayer time.
Even when he reared up on his knees, his teeth were showing, as he made some arm gestures trying to escape the joke that was just
displayed on him.
Itâ€™s amazing how some things considered to be rather small by some people, unfortunately tickles their funny bone and reveals the
fact that the subject has another side.