Old School Flashback: Jim Graham Makes His Opponent Look Like a Bozo

by Daniel Johnson

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Jim Graham vs. Bozo Brown

Bozo Brown had his hands full with a young Jim Graham in this match preserved by Chicago Film Archives through the Russ and Sylvia Davis Collection, 1932-1970.

Fans that have never seen or heard of Bozo Brown are in for a treat. Brown’s real name was Frank Hickey and he was born in Kentucky in 1915. Brown made a name for himself in the 1940s in the American southwest, which started him on his lengthy tenure in wrestling. How long of a career did Hickey have? Well, let’s just say his final matches were teaming with Brian Christopher in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) in 1993.

Although Hickey enjoyed success early, when he dropped the Bozo name he used a moniker that has endured much longer. “Spaceman” Frank Hickey  in his trademark mask and cape popped up on cards throughout the country including high profile events held by the WWWF.

Before he Hickey was Spaceman, he may have been Bozo, but he was not just any bozo. In this match from Fred Kohler’s NWA territory, Brown really demonstrates what it means to be a heel. Bozo telegraphs this from the start when Graham extends his arm for a handshake only for Bozo to turn his back.

Other than Bozo’s heel work the match is by no means a masterpiece and truth be told is very sloppy. However, commentator Russ Davis makes sure the clip is always entertaining with his usual dry humor. After Bozo strikes Graham, Davis jokes, “Mr. Brown, that isn’t a nice way to treat an upstanding young man from Arizona.”

Bozo continues to rile the crowd with some hair pulling and cheaply tripping Graham during a rope tie up. Davis is then at it again with one liners like, “I’ll put gravel in your oatmeal”, “Mr. Brown is like a caterpillar, crawling on his tummy”, and in mock concern begging, “Mr. Graham do something please, you’re beginning to make me hurt.”

Graham finally makes his hero comeback to the delight of the Chicago International Amphitheatre faithful. With a combination of weak strikes and disorganized…I want to call them hip tosses, Graham takes charge. In the middle of this Bozo sells like a tree falling over, which just may be where Ric Flair got some lasting inspiration from.

For the finish Brown retreats to the ring apron. While today Bozo could have spent a good five minutes on the outside, in that time and place the referee’s count was actually consistent. Just by being on the apron and never touching the floor Brown is counted out within seconds.

The full match can be seen right here:

For more in the Old School Flashback series featuring NWA action from Chicago click here and here.

 



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