Reviewed by Matt Farmer
"I Ain't No Pig Farmer!" By Dean Silverstone with Scott Teal
This is another book in a long line published by Crowbar Press that has set a high standard of quality wrestling related books. I have read numerous books printed by Scott Teal and have not been disappointed by one yet.
What seperates this book is Silverstone's journey. It chronicles his life in the crazy world of wrestling starting out as a young fan from Seattle, Washington, to working in the office to becoming the owner of a full time wrestling promotion. Wrestling in the Northwest often gets overlooked yet it has a long rich history. This book outlines the history of wrestling in the Northwest, while at the same time, giving a glimpse into the lives of some of the industries' biggest stars.
Dean began his journey in wrestling as a teenager printing programs for longtime Seattle promoter Harry Elliott. He worked his way up, becoming one of Harry's most trusted employees which led to promoting towns on his own. During this period, you are exposed to some of the inner workings of the National Wrestling Alliance and their mobster-like control over professional wrestling.
Wrestling in the Northwest was at its peak for fan interest and Dean was right in the middle of it. Some of the game's biggest names were making appearances in the Northwest rings and you get some great stories about the incomparable Lou Thesz, "Tough" Tony Borne, Gene Kiniski, Dutch Savage, "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, Don Owen, Red Bastien and Gorgeous George. Dean gives you a unique insight into Don Owen and his partner Dutch Savage's wrestling business.
For me, one of the most interesting relationships was with Bobby Shane. Shane was one of those rare pieces of talent that nearly everyone you ask in the business tabbed as a rising star and future world champion. Dean and Bobby became very close. However, in 1975 Bobby tragically died in a plane crash that nearly took the lives of Gary Hart, Austin Idol, and Buddy Colt.
When Harry Elliott retired, Dean went to work with Sandor Kovacs and Gene Kiniski's NWA Vancouver booking office. This laid the foundation for Dean to open up one of wrestling's most well known "outlaw" promotions. Opening his own territory "against" the NWA led to some great stories involving some names you may not know and some characters that you should know.
Ever heard of the wrestler Chris Colt? If not, ask around. As you'll read in this book, he is one of wrestling's craziest characters, but not the only crazy character that spent time working for Dean. Whether you're familiar with Dean's Superstars of Wrestling promotion or not, this is a great view into the world of professional wrestling during the 1960s and 70s.
After his career in professional wrestling, he opened a chain of Golden Oldies used record stores and became very involved in the Cauliflower Alley Club and the Seattle Wrestling Reunion.
Some of my favorite wrestling books are produced by Teal and this is no exception. If you're into the wrestling business or wrestling history, you need to read this book.