Crowbar Press

The Hard Way

The Hard Way


Paperback: 336 pages

Dimensions: 6x9

Publisher: Crowbar Press

Photos: 315 b&w

Cover: Full color

ISBN: 978-1-9403910-3-8

Item #: cbp20-df

Price: $22.95



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The Hard Way by Don Fargo

Synopsis  |  Excerpts  |  Chapter Titles  |  Index  |  Reviews  |  Crowbar Press

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The Hard Way
by Don Fargo, with by Scott Teal

  Don Fargo is one of the overlooked stars of the classic era of pro wrestling.  He was a headliner in almost every territory in which he appeared — New York, Amarillo, Dallas, Tennessee, Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Louisiana, just to name a few.

  As famous as he was for his ability to draw crowds to the arenas, he probably was more famous for his hijinks behind the scenes.  Stories about the wild lifestyle of professional wrestlers abound.  Many are true, but there also are many that are either downright false or exaggerated to epic proportions over the passage of time.  Rest assured, the stories in this book about Don Fargo are all true, regardless of how outlandish or implausible they may sound.  The stories about his pranks and wild lifestyle are talked about to this day by those who were witness to the events.

  For the first time, Don tells, in detail, the story about what happened when he and his tag-team partner ran afoul of a group of motorcycle outlaws, and how he inadvertently wound up on the wrong side of the law on more than a few occasions.  He also tells stories about pulling ribs on his fellow wrestlers, including well-known celebrities like boxing champ Joe Louis, and classic, hilarious stories about many of the well-known wrestlers of the golden era of pro wrestling.   Don tells the story about how he met Jackie Fargo, how they formed the tag team that became known as the Fabulous Fargos, and the story behind how they became the first team to be billed as "world tag team champions" in Madison Square Garden.

  He shares stories about winning the 1952 Mr. Pittsburgh bodybuilding contest, being punished by veteran wrestlers when he tried to get into professional wrestling, dangling from the roof of the King Edward Hotel in New York, riding naked on the roofs of cars traveling at high speeds, nailing a certain body part to a table, and getting his hand stuck in Ö well, letís just say, somewhere you wouldnít normally put your whole hand.

  Fargo talks about how he created the more than 13 different characters he portrayed in the ring, his discovery of the "hard way," for which he became famous in wrestling circles, his problems with drugs and alcohol, and the friendships he developed along the way.

  Included are more than 300 photos taken during Donís career, many of which have never been published.

  This is the most detailed book ever written that ties together important events in wrestling history with the hilarious shenanigans that went on behind the scenes.  Youíve never read a more entertaining life story than this one.

Get this title at 50% off with the purchase of any two (2) Crowbar Press titles at the regular cover price.

Excerpts from The Hard Way

Excerpt from Chapter 1
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  I didnít smoke cigarettes, but I loved to chew tobacco.  When I was about ten years old, I decided to walk around with a cigarette hanging down from the corner of my mouth.  I wanted people to think I was a bad ass.  I wanted to look tough.  One day, an older kid walked up to me and said, "You wanna look bad?  That cigarette ainít doiní it.  Here, chew some of this."
  He handed me a plug of Beech-Nut Chewing Tobacco.  Iíll never forget how sweet it tasted.  Unfortunately (or perhaps on purpose), he didnít tell me I shouldnít swallow it.  I sucked on that tobacco and swallowed that sweet-tasting juice until Ö sure enough, I got sick.  That didnít deter me, though.  I grew to like it and I kept a plug between my teeth and lip all the time.  Iíd spit into a sheet of wadded-up paper that I kept in my pocket.

Excerpt from Chapter 2
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  The Mr. Pittsburgh contest was my first time to experience what went on backstage at a bodybuilding contest.  Guys were pumping up and spraying baby oil all over their bodies.  Everybody seemed to have their own little secrets.  Most of us used an eyebrow pencil to shade in our stomach muscles.  When we stepped onto the stage under the lights, it made us look more cut and defined than we actually were.  Today, bodybuilders airbrush each other.
  In the early Ď50s, bodybuilders wore tights in competition.  I donít know what they call the tights they wear today, but theyíre skimpy and show a lot more of the thigh.  When Jack Channing competed, they wore swimming tights.  Jack, though, was ahead of his time.  One night, he entered a contest and walked out on stage wearing a jockstrap.  They disqualified him instantly and pulled him off the stage.  He thought a jockstrap would do a better job of showing off his body Ö which it did!

Excerpt from Chapter 3
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  I went upstairs and couldnít believe it when I saw the ring.  After looking around to be sure I was alone, I climbed into the ring and jumped up and down a few times.  I ran to one side of the ring and bounced off the ropes like I had seen them do on TV.  All of a sudden, in walks this guy who I assumed to be about 60 years old.  He was bald, he walked humped over, and he had thick cauliflower ears.  His name was Speedy LaRance [Jules LaRance].  He got into the ring without saying a word.  No introduction, no greeting, nothing.  A second later, Al Haft, Frankie Talaber, and a few other guys walked in.  I didnít know it at the time, but they wanted to see me get hurt.  They knew what was going to happen.  I, on the other hand, didnít have a clue.
  It was then that Speedy finally spoke.  "Letís go."
  I looked over at Talaber and asked, "You want me to wrestle him?"
  He said, "Yeah."
  Tentatively, I said, "Okay," and looking at Speedy, I said, "Letís go."
  He got down on his hands and knees and I said, "Oh, no."  I remembered the other guy.  "No, I ainít gonna Ö"
  He said, "Well, you said you could wrestle."
  I said, "Sure, as long as this is catch-as-catch-can.  Thatís what it is, ainít it?"
  He said, "Yeah.  Just get down."
  I wasnít on my hands and knees more than two seconds before that son-of-a-bitch had my face on the mat.  I hit that mat hard, face-first.  He hooked my arm, tied me up tight, and I screamed bloody murder.  He had me bent like a bow.  I would rather have been the arrow.  It wasnít like the YMCA, either.  It was much, much worse.  Oh, man!  He was killing me and I couldnít move a muscle.  The guys on the outside of the ring were giggling and laughing.  When LaRance finally turned me loose, they went back downstairs, laughing the whole time.  They didnít stop when they got to the bottom, either.  I could hear them laughing in the office.

Excerpt from Chapter 4
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  The second time I saw Buddy (Rogers), he impressed me again.  While I was sitting in the office talking to Al Haft and Frankie Talaber, I heard someone shuffling up the steps.  I knew it was Buddy because he shuffled, even when he was walking up stairs.  When he walked through the door, he stopped and stood, as if he was a god looking over his domain.  When he looked at the blackboard, his eyes narrowed.  Haft and Talaber had a whole weekís worth of bookings chalked on the board; who was working with who, who was off that week.  Buddy was very careful about whom he worked with, and even though I canít remember whose name it was, Iím pretty sure he was booked to wrestle one of the shooters.  He walked over to the board, erased the name opposite his, and wrote in "The Great Scott."  Mr. Haft simply nodded his head and said, "Okay."  That was a good example of the power Buddy had.

Excerpt from Chapter 6
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  The first time I laid eyes on Ray Stevens, I was in Al Haftís office.  I had just broken into the wrestling business and Ray walked into the office with the Great Scott.  They were both dressed in kilts.  As soon as I got to know him a little, I made fun of him and kidded him about wearing womenís clothes.  He paid me back in spades for my teasing.
  Ray wasnít wrestling when we first met.  He was the valet for the Great Scott.  His job was to walk to the ring with the Great Scott and bring his jacket and gear back to the dressing room.  Like Buddy Rogers, the Great Scott was a main-event guy, so he was on the road every day.  Likewise, Ray was on the road with him.  Whenever Ray was in town, though, he would hang around the wrestling office and work out in the upstairs gym.
  Rayís goal was to actually wrestle, so he worked out at the gym all the time.  One day, he was working out in the ring with the boys.  When I say he was "working out," I mean he was "shooting" [legitimately wrestling].  People donít realize it, but Ray was a pretty good amateur wrestler and shooter in his day.  He had to be to hold his own against some of the talent they had in Columbus at the time.
  The day we met, he asked me if I wanted to work out with him.  I never turned down an opportunity to wrestle.  I loved being in the ring, and to have an opportunity to work out with someone else who was just learning was the best thing that could have happened to me.  We worked out together every day.  In the ring, we would trade holds and shoot against each other.  We loved to shoot with each other.  When we got tired of shooting, we would begin playing around and trying new things.  Heíd say, "Letís try this," and later on, Iíd say, "Letís try that."  Iíd throw him into the ropes and drop him with a clothesline when he rebounded off, and then weíd reverse roles.

Excerpt from Chapter 7
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  Word of the problems we were having eventually reached the ears of Toots Mondt.  He knew we werenít getting along, so he called us into the office.  The New York wrestling office was on a side street off Times Square.  There was a barbershop near the office where the mob had bumped off one of the gangsters while he was getting a shave.  Toots usually had a cigar hanging out of his mouth.  He leaned over his desk and said, "Whatís the problem between the two of you?"
  Jackie said, "We ainít got no problem."
  "Yeah, you do.  Youíre always fightiní each other."  Iíll never forget what Toots said next.  "You two are actiní like a coupleía broads.  You look like broads, too, with that long, blond hair.  Thatís okay because the people pay money to see you looking like that.  The problem is, this bullshit between the two of you is bad for business.  You should be working together so we can do more business."
  "How can we do that?" I asked.
  "Tomorrow, I want you to go out and get a couple belts made.  Youíre gonna be the champions."
  "What should we put on the belts?  New York champions?"
  "No, dumbass.  Youíre gonna be world tag team champions."
  The next morning, we went to a jeweler and paid $100 to have the belts made.

Excerpt from Chapter 8
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  Jackie would mess with my head every time we went to the office to get our money.  When we opened our payoff envelopes, Jack would look in his envelope and say, "Oh, man!"  He wouldnít say anything else because he knew it would bug me.  Invariably, my curiosity would get the best of me and Iíd ask, "What?"  He knew good and well that Iíd take the bait.
  "I didnít think Iíd have this good of a week."  Heíd pause for effect, and then heíd ask, "Whatíd you get?"
  Iíd hedge and say, "I guess I got the same thing you got."
  Heíd bug me until he got it out of me.  "Well, how much?"
  "I got seventy-five dollars."
  "Oh!  Ho, ho.  You got cheated."
  Iíd believe him.  The next time I saw Nick, Iíd (gripe) and complain.  Jackie got me all the time.

Excerpt from Chapter 10
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  One night, very early in my career, I walked into the dressing room to see Buddy Rogers taping up his forefinger.  I went over to see what he was doing.  He looked up at me and said, "Thatís how you do it, kid."
  I asked, "Do what?"
  I noticed a razor blade on the bench beside him with a corner missing.  He lifted his hand and held his pointed index finger in front of my face.  I could just make out a glint of metal protruding upwards from the tape.  It was the missing piece of the razor blade.  Before I could ask about it, someone walked in and said, "Come on, Buddy.  Youíre on."
  Buddy said, "Iíve gotta go."
  I couldnít believe it.  I said, "Are you outta your fuckiní mind?  Youíre gonna keep that blade on your finger while youíre wrestling?"
  He grinned and said, "I sure am, Pally."

Excerpt from Chapter 11
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  Jackie and I were booked on a card with George in Chicago on October 23, 1959.  Early in the afternoon on the day of the match, Pfefer walked into our hotel room with a hat box underneath his arm and said, "Come on, come on, mine people.  Iíve got der gimmick of gimmicks."  He opened the box and pulled out two wigs.  One was green and one was pink.  He said, "Tonight, you vill vear dese vigs in da ring."
  George was wrestling Ricki Starr in the main event, so we would be on before him.  Pfeferís plan was to upstage George and steal his thunder.  I said, "Jack, we canít do this.  Man, heís one of us.  We donít wanna humiliate him."  He got so mad.  He screamed and hollered for a long time before storming out.

Excerpt from Chapter 13
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  One night in Flint, Michigan, three guys lined up to punch Eric in the stomach.  The first two guys took turns hitting him and had no luck.  Then a third guy, a man named Billy Tytar, came into the ring.
  Eric always used to tell me, "You need to stand by me and watch.  If anybody tries to sucker me, you clip Ďem."
  Eric got into position and gave a nod, signifying his readiness.  When Tytar hit him, he threw his whole body into him, like a shoulder block, and pushed him backwards.  Eric yelled, "The guy twisted!"
  I grabbed the guy.  When he tried to pull away, I shoved him into the turnbuckle.  He began to holler, "I want my money!  I want my money!"  People were booing.  "I want my money."  He made more of an ass out of himself than anything.  I took the ring mic and told the people in the audience, "He didnít hit him with his fist.  He used his shoulder."  Even though we were heels, I got the people on my side.  That proved what Buddy Rogers taught me.  If you do things correctly, you can twist the peopleís emotions in any direction you want.  Tytar tried to cheat and the people knew it.

Excerpt from Chapter 17
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  I have pictures of the first time we drove through the old tunnel into Mobile.  We would have driven through the tunnel the week before, but we were broke when we got there and didnít have enough money to pay the toll.  Thatís sad considering it was only 20 cents at the time.  We had spent all our money on beer and cigars.  We tried to get the attendant to take our watches as collateral, but he wouldnít accept them.  We tried to tell him who we were, but he didnít care.  Here we were, the Fabulous Fargos, tag team champions of the world, and we couldnít pay the 20-cent toll.  We had to drive all the way around, and the route took us many miles out of our way.

Excerpt from Chapter 18
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  At the time, the Indianapolis territory was owned and run by Dick the Bruiser and Wilbur Snyder.  They called their promotion the World Wrestling Association, or as people referred to it most often, the WWA.  Iím not sure why Dick took it upon himself to call me and invite me to wrestle in his territory.  I believe it was because he was somewhat of a rebel, and he may have seen a kindred spirit in me.  What I do know is that Wilbur Snyder did not want us up there.  He didnít like us before he met us.  We overheard him tell Bruiser, "Theyíre bad news, Dick."  But it didnít matter what Snyder said.  Bruiser was determined to push us as unbeatable monsters.
  There was as much difference between Bruiser and Snyder as there was space between Jupiter and Mars.  They were nothing alike.  They were like night and day.  It was comical to watch them together.
  Bruiser was a brute.  He was wild.  He lived on the edge.  He ate chicken with his fingers and wiped his fingers on his shirt.  He drank beer and whiskey from the bottle.  Snyder, on the other hand, was from high society.  He was prim and proper.  He picked the meat off the bones with his fork and wiped his fingers on the napkin he had tucked into his shirt collar.  He sipped on cocktails and margaritas with his little finger sticking up into the air.

Excerpt from Chapter 20
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  Stu Hart didnít cheat us, but it took forever to get our money.  He had an interesting way of making payoffs.  We would go to his house and heíd call us, one at a time, into the hallway.  "Ecch, uhh Ö I got your Ö ecch Ö pay right here.  Kid Ö ecch Ö you did pretty good.  Ecch.  Hereís some money right here.  Keep up Ö ecch Ö the good work."
  Stu took a page out of Bert Rubyís rulebook.  He would pay everybody in a way that made us feel like we might be getting more than anyone else.  "Iím gonna give you Ö ecch Ö a little extra Ö ecch Ö but donít say anything to anybody."  As a rule, nobody was supposed to tell anybody else what they made.  That kept everybody guessing, which caused a lot of friction between the boys.  Everybody was looking out of the corner of their eyes.  "Is he making more than me?"  That was a smart move on Stuís part because it kept everybody on their toes.  We always thought we had to perform harder than the week before if he wanted to continue to get that bonus.  Not knowing what anybody else was paid, weíd all go out and bust our butts.  The guys wanted my payoff, even though they didnít know what I got.  The thing they didnít realize was, I wanted their payoff.  I didnít know what they made, either, but I just knew it had to be more than what I was being paid.

Excerpt from Chapter 21
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  Flying really got on my nerves.  We had to fly to another town every day.  The only thing that kept me going was the hash [hashish].  They had good hash over there.  We rigged up a gas mask so we could put it over our face and inhale it without letting any escape into the air.  Barnett used to sit up front in the airplane with the non-wrestling passengers.  We would get in the back and mix hash with tobacco.  They still allowed smoking on the airplanes at the time.  When the stewardess would disappear into the front section of the plane, Barnett would wave his hand in the air.  Mark Lewin would say, "Line up, people," and weíd take turns burying our face in that gas mask.  I also drank a lot of beer, wine, and we snorted cocaine.  It got so bad that I had trouble doing what I was expected to do in the ring.  At times, weíd get back to the hotel and I was so messed up that Iíd have to crawl to my room on my hands and knees.

Excerpt from Chapter 22
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  The worst riot I ever was in happened during that run in Halifax.  We were wrestling in a hockey arena and some hockey players were there.  They were big fans and their presence brought hockey fans to the matches, as well.  When one of the players got upset over something that happened in the ring, he ran down to ringside and, reaching through the ropes, grabbed the leg of one of the wrestlers.  Unfortunately, out of the four wrestlers in the ring, he made the worst selection he could have made, because he picked the leg of David Shultz.  David was, and is, a legitimate bad ass.  If I was going to pick a fight with someone, he would be the absolute last guy I would pick.
  As soon as David felt the guyís hands around his ankle, he slid through the ropes and began to wail the hell out of the guy.  The next thing I know, the hockey players are running down the aisles with hockey sticks in their hands.  I grabbed my baseball bat from the timekeeperís table and joined right in.  It was one hell of a fight.

Excerpt from Chapter 25
  Copyright © Don Kalt and Scott Teal
  For the most part, when I was at home, I was Don Kalt, a kind, loving husband and father.  As soon as I walked out the door, though, I would become another person.  When I got home again, I would still be that person.  My wife would have to remind me, "Youíre not in the ring, Fargo."  It was like I had a split personality.  When I was Don Fargo, I was Don Fargo Ö until I became Jack Dillinger.  Then Iíd be Jack Dillinger until someone called me on it and helped me snap back to reality.
  There were times I slipped up because, for the most part, I really enjoy being around people.  I would catch myself helping someone, or Iíd stop to pet and play with a dog and people would see me.  In those cases, it left people with the impression that, "Hey, he isnít as bad as I thought."
  Bruiser used to get onto me about that.  "Fargo!  Quit actiní nice in public.  Youíre supposed to be a mean, son-of-a-bitch."

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Chapter titles and contents

Foreword by Cowboy Bob Kelly
Cowboy Bob Kelly was one of the movers and shakers of the Mobile, Alabama wrestling territory.  Together with Don Fargo, they set the Louisiana territory ablaze in the '60s.
1. Hide the Belt
All the things Don doesn't know about himself ... The things Don DOES know about himself ... Growing up in Pittsburgh ... The willow stick ... A lesson in cursing ... Sneaking out of school ... Prescription glasses ... Chewing tobacco ... Hide the belt ... The Deuces ... Jayvee class ... "Normal" school kids ... Joanne Schwarzmuller, Don's first love ... Shooting rats (the small, hairy kind) ... The ice cream freezer ... Working on a farm ... Dead body in the trunk
2. Oink, Oink!
Introduction to bodybuilding ... Meeting Jack Channing, the first Mr. America ... Working out at the YMCA ... The 1951 Mr. Pittsburgh contest ... A trip to York, Pennsylvania ... Meeting Malcolm Brenner ... Advice to a young Bruno Sammartino ... Don's first wrestling lesson ... Squealing like a pig
3. Kay Fabit
The early days of television ... A call from a wrestling promoter ... Signing a "$50 a week" contract with Al Haft ... Three days, three wrestlers, three wrestling "lessons" ... More squealing like a pig ... Speedy LaRance, Ruffy Silverstein and Stu Hart ... Muscle-heads ... The Southern Hotel in Columbus, Ohio ... Vibrator beds ... The walk of shame ... A lesson in kayfabe ... Meeting Kay Fabit, aka Mabel ... Training to be a pro wrestler ... Back on a bus bound for Pittsburgh ... Winning the Mr. Pittsburgh 1952 contest ... The sunlamp ... The dark horse ... ... First radio interview ... Back to Columbus for a second chance ... Wrestling Joe Scarpello, Big Bill Miller and Larry Chene ... The dropkick ... "There's no honor among thieves." ... The ko-ko butt ... Haft's Acre ... Meeting Buddy Rogers ... Sent home to Pittsburgh again ... Wrestling for promoter Alex Bentley ... Wrestling a clean, scientific match ... The purple satin jacket ... Wool tights ... Underarm hair and beard stubble ... The Indian rub ... Donn and Mark Lewin ... Paying trans
4. Swimming with Esther Williams
Memories of Buddy Rogers ... The $20 tip ... The power and influence of Buddy Rogers ... Meeting Ray Stevens ... Making a trip with Buddy Rogers ... The Great Scott ... Scottish kilts ... The strut ... Buddy teaches Don lessons in expression, living his character, and showmanship ... The changing face of professional wrestling
5. The Miracle Worker
Don's first road trip ... Working in Florida for Cowboy Luttrall ... The gimmick ... Wrestling Jackie Fargo ... Being taught a lesson by "old-man" Milo Steinborn ... Road trip to Charlotte ... Former boxing champion Primo Carnera ... David and Goliath ... Meeting rookie Dick Steinborn ... Learning carny ... Adopting Buddy Rogers' method ... The bull and the convertible ... Squeaky and Joe, the gangsters ... Breaking the number one, cardinal rule of wrestling, and the consequences ... Learning to drive a manual-transmission car in downtown Columbus ... Road trip to Tennessee ... Wrestling NWA world champion Lou Thesz ... Thesz manhandles Michele Leone ... Antone "Ripper" Leone ... Leone gets arrested for "hurting" Fargo during a match ... A bug in the pie ... Leone goes blind ... The miracle worker ... Ripper's imaginary dog.
6. Blond-Haired Faggots
A road trip with Reggie Lisowski and Art Neilson ... Memories of Ray Stevens ... Shooting with Ray ... A 200-mile trip with Buddy Rogers and Joe Louis ... Ray Stevens' professional debut ... The first appearance of the Ray Stevens/Don Kalt tag team ... The origin of the Tri-States tag team title ... Girl wrestlers ... Bleaching his hair blonde ... Eddie Graham pulls a rib on three boys ... Wrestling "against" Ray Stevens in Daytona Beach ... Ray and Don go to jail ... Another hard-learned lesson about kayfabe ... Shipped to the Toledo territory ... Teaming with Ray Stevens ... The back body-drop contest ... The jacket throw ... Traveling with Martino Angelo ... The lovable and eccentric Frank Hickey ... Lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills ... Reboot of the New York territory ... DuMont TV studio wrestling ... Buddy Rogers calls the shots ... The first appearance of the Don and Ray Stevens tag team ... Rogers and the Great Scott do a job for the Stevens brothers ... Buddy makes an on-air faux pas ... The never-ending match ... The Lou Thesz of midgets ... Memories of the midget wrestlers ... Fuzzy Cupid plays the harmonica ... Ribbing the midgets ... Ray Stevens pulls a rib on Fargo ... Road games ... Throwing eggs ... Kalt's Gym ... Meeting Bobby Davis, the "hang-around" ... Bobby Davis calls Elvis ... How Bobby Davis became a manager ... The pink suit ... Heading to the Big Apple
7. Muscle Relaxer
Don Kalt disappears ... Don Juan the Magnificent ... Bobby Davis, manager-extraordinare ... Long hair and earrings ... Teaming with Wildman Fargo ... Wrestling as Wildman Stevens ... Memories of Toots Mondt ... Toots solves the problem of Jackie and Don not getting along ... World tag team champions ... The origin of the world tag team title belts ... Ricki Starr gives Skull Murphy a lesson in wrestling ... The Wildmen make their Madison Square Garden debut ... Jackie's problem with Bobby Davis ... Hell's Kitchen ... Learning to do promos ... Kola Kwariani threatens Jackie and Don ... Burning their tights in the ring ... Sold-out house ... Selling 200 pictures to 22,000 people ... The Buddy Rogers strut ... Bombarded with matchbooks ... Throwing $1,000 out the window ... What money meant to the Fargos ... The pink Cadillac ... A short trip to West Virginia ... Jackie fires Bobby Davis ... Hijinks on the road ... Bobby Davis "streaks" down the highway ... Never trust Ray Stevens ... Throwing beer bottles ... Crashing Vince McMahon's party in downtown New York ... Getting his hand caught ... Nobody is irreplaceable ... Leaving with no notice ... Don Stevens disappears from the world.
8. The Missing Toothbrush
Going to Nashville ... Sitting in the wrestling office ... Jackie confronts Nick Gulas (for the first time in what would be many) ... Making a trip with mules and buggy wagons ... Small towns ... Women chewing tobacco ... The origin of Don Fargo and the "Wild Fargo Brothers" ... Introduction to gimmicks ... Setting the record straight on Nick Gulas ... Good cop, bad cop ... Nashville politics ... Jackie swerves Don on payoffs ... Bert Ruby's method of making payoffs ... Making it big in the Nashville territory ... The hitchhiker ... Jackie "kills" Don ... Acting out in Jack Dempsey's restaurant ... Making the boys uncomfortable in the dressing room ... The lost cigar ... The lost toothbrush ... Chewing gum ... Don's birthday suit ... Naked at 75 miles an hour ... Jackie and the police play a rib on Don ... Mixed drinks ... Two naked, blond hitchhikers ... Don the stunt man ... License-plate poker ... Chico Cortez kills Fargo's heat ... Betting at the horse track ... Little Donnie Fargo ... Jackie reads the newspaper while driving ... Kicked out of a Chattanooga hotel ... The smell of chicken ... Len Rossi's Nashville debut ... The Green Shadow ... The Welch brothers ... Wrestling Ginger the bear ... Flying with Lester Welch
9. Down the River without a Paddle
The origin of the "Fabulous Fargo Brothers" ... Sellout in Mobile, Alabama ... The ring introduction ... The Fields brothers ... The SBD ... Fargo gets stabbed in the butt ... Embarrassment in the ring ... Altercation with Mario Galento at the Princess House restaurant ... Sonny Fargo, the New York southerner ... Ribbing Sonny ... The plumb idiot ... Drugs and alcohol ... The wrestling ring in the water ... Green and pink pills
10. The Hard Way
Buddy Rogers and the razor blade ... White tape on fingers ... Getting blood the hard way ... Ernie Ladd does a hardway on Fargo ... Bobby Fields, master of the hardway ... Fake blood and blood capsules ... Cheating on hardways ... Fargo's fetish ... A challenge from the crowd ... Bleeding buckets
11. Eating Beans
Memories of Jack Pfefer ... The Fargo's first "real" manager ... Pfefer's history in the wrestling business ... Sound-alike wrestlers ... Buddy Rogers breaks away from Pfefer ... Pfefer's new protege, Bummy Rogers ... Pfefer's hatred of Gorgeous George ... The hat box ... Changing ring attire ... Arena rats and eating beans ... The girl and the midget ... Pfefer locks the Fargos in their motel room ... Escape plan
12. Little Boy Blue The origin of Jay "The Alaskan" York ... Little Boy Blue ... Buddy Rogers' plan ... Yukon Eric living his gimmick ... Buddy Austin "forked" in a restaurant ... Handgun accident ... Tokyo Joe and Mighty Jumbo
13. The Original Loose Cannon
Don's idol, Eric Pedersen ... Jack Pfefer runs for his life ... Hair problem ... The rubber strap challenge ... The audience challenge ... Court battle ... Dory Funk Sr. pulls a fast one on Mr. Kleen ... Mr. Kleen refuses to do a hard way ... Walking out on a show in Madison Square Garden and leaving Jack Pfefer
14. The Kid with the Long Hair
Return to Pittsburgh ... Jimmy Dykes, Don's new partner ... Jackie Newman, Don's childhood friend ... A new Fargo makes his appearance ... Confrontation at a diner ... Donnie and Ronnie Fargo disappear
15. Wheelchairs and Crutches
Al "Spider" Galento ... Jack and Jim Dalton, the new gimmick ... The Dirty Daltons ride into Dallas ... Gun-twirling ... A push by Paul Boesch ... Wrestling at the veteran's hospital ... The heat magnet ... Carrying guns openly ... Challenged by true gun-twirlers ... Learning to fast-draw ... Becoming the Daltons ... Promoting a fast-draw contest ... Jack Dalton loses a gunfight to his partner ... Jack Dalton vs Nick Kozak in a gunfight
16. Barbed-Wire Matches
The brass knuckles title ... The first barbed-wire matches ... The Mummy ... Al Galento stooges to the office ... Wrestling in the West Texas territory ... Tommy Phelps, aka Bummy Rogers ... Wrestling with Dory Funk Jr. in his first professional match ... Borrowing horses from Cowboy Bob Ellis ... Going to Portland, Oregon ... A "shoot" with Billy White Wolf ... Nick Kozak pulls a rib on Fargo ... The Veronica Lake look-alike ... Almost arrested
17. Keystone Cops
The Dalton brothers split up ... Back to Tennessee ... Don and Al Greene, the original Heavenly Bodies ... Renting a house in Atlanta from Ray Gunkel ... Shooting death in a bar ... Trailer park brawl with Sputnik Monroe ... Wrestlinbg Ernie Ladd ... Jet Monroe's wife ... The death of Mickey Sharpe ... More dressing room ribs ... Louisiana, the new wrestling territory ... The nightstick ... Hardway in Lafayette ... Generating publicity ... The origin of Cowboy Bob Kelly as a wrestler ... Stealing the show ... Teaming with Frank Dalton, aka Gene Stevens ... Motel room training ... The walking Valium ... The cowboys evolve into bikers ... A rib on Lenny Montana ... Meeting and teaming with Kenny Mack ... Garbage cans ... The motorcycle act ... The penknife ... Riots and problems with angry wrestling fans ... Memories of Kenny Mack ... The initiation that went bad ... The Keystone Cops ... Back in jail ... Suspicious death of a witness ... A phone call from Dick the Bruiser ... Leaving Louisiana and going to Indianapolis ... Out of the frying pan and into the fire
18. The Ten-Penny Nail
The World Wrestling Association ... The difference between Dick the Bruiser and Wilbur Snyder ... The origin of the Chain Gang, Jack and Frank Dillinger ... Bruiser pulls ribs on Jack and Frank ... Dressing up as a woman to play a rib on Bob Luce ... Working with Bruiser and Crusher ... Moose Cholak and the moose head ... Fargo and Moose miss a show ... Introduction to steroids ... Wilbur Snyder lays down the law ... Onions, garlic and cheese ... Verne Gagne and the dead rat ... Body piercings ... The Christmas party and Wilbur Snyder's wife ... Dennis "The Menace" Karbo ... Jack and Frank Dillinger behind the scenes
19. The Dead Parrot
A typical trip to Milwaukee ... Incident at the Village Inn ... Kenny Mack gets shot ... The "New" Chain Gang ... Chris Colt's introduction to the wrestling business ... Meeting Joe Cocker ... The evolution of the Chain Gang ... Forced to take a shower ... Ronnie Fargo's graduation ... Chris Colt's boyfriend ... The dead parrot ... Popping pills ... The last time Fargo saw Kenny Mack
20. The Hammer
Wrestling in Phoenix ... Booked in Detroit ... Meeting Baby Face Nelson (Greg Valentine) and changing his name to Johnny Fargo ... The flit gun and douche powder ... Killer Tim Brooks ... Dewey Robertson and the sniper rifle ... Stu Hart's method of making payoffs ... The Dungeon ... Suspended "indefinitely" in Mobile ... Wrestling under a mask ... Mr. D and the Black Baron ... Challenging Dory Funk Jr. for the NWA world heavyweight title ... Back in jail again ... Leaving territories without giving notice ... Rick Gibson's furniture ... Local news show brawl ... The cracked windshield ... Driving from Buffalo to Cleveland, via Pittsburgh ... Ron Martinez' new Cadillac ... A message for Dominic DeNucci and Tony Parisi ... Managing Abdullah the Butcher ... Back to West Texas ... Alteraction with Dory Funk Sr. at the TV studio ... Death at the Flying Mare Ranch
21. The Gas Mask
Cartoon books ... Buck Robley and the box at ringside ... Wrestling in Australia ... Hashish in the gas mask ... Big Bad John and the Army ... The Hogg ... The Tasmanian Devil ... Andre the Giant breaks Fargo's forefinger ... Injuries ... Making Dory Funk Jr. puke ... Percival A. Friend's mobile phone ... Ricky Romero and the strap match ... A broken ankle ... Marijuana in Bulldog Bob Brown's pipe ... The streaker ... Origin of the Legionnaires ... Sgt. Jacques Goulet and Private Don Fargo ... Working out and getting in shape ... Mail threat ... Another run in West Texas ... Teaming with Bobby Jaggers ... Jaggers rides a bull ... The underpass
22. The Truth About Santa Claus
Crazy Mike Diamond ... Eating dog food ... Brawl in Cack's bar ... The tragic ending to Mike Diamond's life ... Hell's Kitchen Street Fight ... No cameras allowed ... The American Dream ... Candles and flashlights in Calgary ... Return to Baton Rouge ... The truth about Santa Claus ... Profanity on TV ... Fonzo Fargo ... Traveling with Roddy Piper ... Roddy's kilt ... Knife throwing ... Painting the walls of Jeff Walton's motel room ... IWA, the "outlaw" promotion ... Blowing up in the ring ... Taking Billy Hines to church ... Meeting his second wife ... Riot in Halifax ... The sleeper hold ... IWA Canadian title ... Working in a bar for Al Lovelock ... Meeting Earl White ... The origin of Don and Ron Garfield ... Las Vegas Louie cuts his own throat ... Painting a portrait for "Macho Man" Randy Savage ... Wrestling for Bill Watts ... Wrestling for Watts' opposition ... Brass knucks matches ... Doing a hardway with James Harris, aka Kamala ... A brutal brawl with Frankie Cain
23. Farmer Don
Becoming a "regular guy" ... The Ku Klux Klan ... Running a wrestling training school ... Promoting a show ... "Don Fargo presents ..." ... The package ... Framed ... Fugitives ... Painting murals ... Another visit to the local jail ... Don's last regular run in the wrestling business ... The probation officer ... Settling down in Amarillo ... Hitting rock bottom ... Saved by Ricky Romero ... The blind man with a loaded gun ... Another midget story ... A photo made exclusively for wrestling promoters ... Moving back to Alabama ... Meeting Margie, his third wife ... Return to Amarillo ... Targeted by the police ... Sugar daddies ... The "Manual of the Bike"
24. The Knucklehead Saloon
Ricky Romero books Fargo in Mexico ... Killer Fargo, prison escapee ... Marijuana roaches ... The City Limits Bar ... The Knucklehead Saloon ... Decorating the bar ... The "spectator sport" ... Poker run gone bad ... Move to Florida ... Wrestling for Verne Gagne in Las Vegas ... Leatherface and the school children ... Chief Iron Claw is unmasked
25. Split Personality
Characters in professional wrestling ... Living the character and believing the gimmick ... Multiple personalities ... Old-school wrestling fans ... Fargo's star pupils ... The little train that could ... Billy Wicks pushes Fargo to the limits ... Attending reunions ... Thoughts on Jackie Fargo ... Induction into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ... Old friends and new friends ... Greg Valentine spills the beans
26. Make Room for Daddy
Regrets ... Life on the road as a wrestler ... Memories of his children ... "Collecting" dogs ... Pepper spray ... Talking to dogs ... Fargo reveals where the bodies are buried
The Main Event. CACK'S
Cack's Saloon ... Packing guns and carrying knives ... Dress code ... Painting the front facade of Cack's ... Repeat performance ... The pitbull and the concrete block ... Pulling a concrete block ... Taking pictures ... The "Don Fargo Trophy" ... Pulling the block one last time ... What Fargo would change if he could relive his life.
Photos and Memorabilia
Gallery of photos taken from Scott Teal and Don Fargo's personal collections.

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Reviews and comments

Greetings Mr. Teal,
  Just thought I would drop you a line telling you how much I enjoyed "The Hard Way."  I read a lot of non-fiction books that are a bit difficult to get through.  This was a page turner.  I usually enjoy wrestling books that give a more historic overview.  James J. Dillonís and Ole Andersonís books gave a good view of the wrestling business.  Fargoís book is just flat out entertaining!  The man is a bit living folklore.  It is amazing how long his career lasted.  The funny thing is, I never saw him when I was a kid (Iím 55) growing up in McMahon country.   There seems to be very little Gulf Coast Wrestling on You Tube.  The whole book was new to me except for the ten-penny bit.
  Donald Kalt has lived life to the fullest.  How he made it into his eighties is a miracle!  Iím glad you were able to help him share his story.  If there isnít a movie in that book, thereís not one anywhere else.
Marc Phaneuf, Rhode Island

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I Ain't No Pig Farmer