I did a search and found some stuff but it was as very basic and a google search directs me to the Jules that teamed with Jay in the WWF. Is there anyone who might have compiled a biography of sorts? I've seen a match of his as a wrestler and heard his commentary but I'm most interested in his time as promoter. What was his style? How did he pay? Was he respected? What were his final years like? I would be happy to see some in depth details about him as it seems to me he definitely had a solid vision for wrestling.
The name drew me to this post. One of the most important people in Los Angeles history & wrestling history is Jules Strongbow....not the joke tag team wrestler in the WWF. The true Jules Strongbow controlled pro wrestling from the early 1950's into the 1970's. I think he was a great man and a very good person. The style of wrestling he promoted was traditional basic stuff that worked great for years. When he died, the Olympic Auditorium era of wrestling began to die with him. He was a huge mid-card wrestler for years with the Indian gimmick (I think he was at the very least part Indian), and then became major as a booker & announcer....before being given control of the Olympic. What he seemed to be on camera was what he was back stage. He seemed to have very little ego & everyone seemed to think well of him and I haven't heard bad about him from anyone...and he was the boss. He seemed to be respected by everyone, but also over looked in many ways. In fact, very little is known about him. It's true he wasn't a owner....but he was the man & the face of the Olympic from like 1956 to around 1970. Most outsiders know Mike LeBell, but not much about Jules. I'm kind of dying to learn more about this Jules Strongbow & not the minor tag team wrestler used in the WWE in 1983 to help push the clown house Indian Chief J. Strongbow. (To all the pre-1983 WWE fans, I'm sorry). You probably would have got a better answer on the main board. Sorry.---Steve Yohe (Seems like you might have got the two different wrestlers mixed up.)
The LA Jules Strongbow (from the Wrestling data site) real name was John Ralph Bilbo. In LA he was always referd to as "Jules". I've never heard his real name used. He weight close to 300 pounds & was like 6'4". (The NY Jules Strongbow was Frank Hill.) I think he was part Indian & used the gimmick, but didn't seem to over do it. He wasn't dark, he looked like a white guy & was a very smart friendly talker. Even at his size, he never was much more than a mid-card wrestler. In the mid-west he may have been used in some main events, but he isn't remembered as a major star. I've seen film & he looked kind of good for a big guy...if I remember right.
His last match was in 1948. As a promoter he always carried a cane, so he must have gotten injured and worked in the front office. He came off to me as a very intelligent man & a very nice guy. We then find him as a announcer on Hollywood Stadium TV. He must have been working as a booker before that. As an announcer, I think he was great....as good as anyone. Later at the Olympic they went to Dick Lane (because they were on ch 5 and Lane was the sports announcer at the station), but JUles did interview thru the 60's and was very good at it. At times, he skiped the friendly stuff, and got tough with heels like Mr Moto...and the bad guys would back off. A lot of it was funny.
He seems to have had control of LA wrestling by 1957 & played a part in getting the OLympic out of the NWA (or didn't resign after it reformed) following the Government investigations....and did it without upsetting anyone.
After Lou Thesz left Sam & the NWA in late 1957 or early 58....Jules handled his bookings until Sam brought him back to the NWA & made him champion. During this time, Jules created the International title for Thesz (or if he didn't created it...he promoted it) and Lou even trusted him enough to lend him the Thesz belt (or one of them) in 1961. In 1958, Jules also picked up Buddy Rogers & there must have been big plans for a Rogers/Thesz feud all over Southern Calif. This never really catch on in LA...and I think Jules traded Rogers to Montreal to get Ed Carpentier. He then created the WWA (NAWA) and made Carpentier champ, which helped the territory & it's storylines.
Later, the East Coast wanted Carpentier to wrestle NWA Champion Rogers, so he switched the title to Fred Blassie (who had been major in the South for years, but got bigger nationally in LA).
Around 1962, Jules helped out Joe Malcewicz promoting in San Francisco. When Roy Shire got TV in SF, the resulting war came down into LA. Jules was easy to work with and the war never turned into the stuff that went on in Texas where arenas were burnt down. A deal was made between Shire & Jules...with both staying in their own territories...and it stayed that way....with both working together for the most part.
With Malcewicz gone, Jules took over relationships with Japan (Rikidozan) & Hawaii. In 1962 he lent the WWA WC & Blassie to JWA and the hole left by the departure was filled by turning Dick Beyer into the masked Destroyer. When the title return, Jules booked the great Blassie/Destroyer feud between the two great heals.
When Blassie went back to Atlanta, he brought Carpentier back & sold out The Olympic twice when Ed drawing against The Destroyer. In 62 & 63, Jules booked a babyface Shohei Baba (he had always been a heel on the East Coast) in two sellouts with The Destroyer.
In these years, he created the concept of putting major card on special Friday nights.
In 63 he brought Blassie back to take the title back from THe Destroyer, but didn't kill the masked man gimmick, by unmasking Beyer...like most promoters would have insisted on. So Beyer remained a major superstar untin 1983 all over the world.
To make this short, He then put over Bearcat Wright over as a black world champ and had Bruiser & Ellis in the next year. The Wright double-cross did kill the good times, but it was Jules who wanted to keep Bearcat ...and tried to bring him back three times.
After that he turned Pedro Morales & Buddy Austin into major guys, and let Mark Lewin do his heel turn.
After Rikidozan's death, he sighed deals with JWA to book their American talent. They became sister promotions and we fans got to see Baba, Sakaguchi, Inoki, Toyonobori & Kintaro Oki. And Jules didn't turn any of them into crazy traditional heels....like everywhere else did.
Thru the 1960's Mike LeBell (the owner's son) was getting his training (he booked the small Pasadena Arena on Monday nights) and by 1968 was starting to take command of the promotion. It's hard to tell, because in later interviews, LeBell took credit for everything, but he claimed it was his idea to reenter the NWA & dump the WWA Title. So I don't want to blame that on Jules.
It seems LeBell was in control by 1969 or so....but Jules was still doing the dirty work. He was always at the Monday meetings will LeBell, Charley Moto & later Jeff Walton. Have never heard anything about Jules fighting his demotion. By 1971 he was booking San Bernardino. In the storys & stuff I've heard....back staged was well run & there wasn't a lot of backstabbing & stuff going on. It always seemed like a friendly place.
With Lebell in control Olympic wrestling became more blood baths and gimmick matches. He used minor talent & cheap Mexicans. When thing was bad, he spent less money & cut corners. He went to running shows every Friday night...and they no longer were special. 1971 & 1972 were great years with Blassie, Tolos, Brazil & Mil Mascaras, but then things got old & most of the guys were upset over payoffs & moved on. They loss TV. Etc.
Strongbow died on May 13, 1975. After that it was all down hill.
I really don't know enough about Jules Strongbow, but I have an interest & I'm looking for more info.
During the 60's, I sat in the balcony and I would always pass him on hot dog runs. He stood with Szabo in the tunnel underneath where I sat. He watched all the matches like Jerry West watched Laker games. He talked to fans but they didn't bother him much. He seemed easy to talk too. I thought he was a good guy. Sandor Szabo not so much.
I might have said hello, but I don't remember talking to him. If he was still alive I would be talking to him every chance I got. He knew everything & everyone in wrestling.
The first thing I ever wrote in my life was a letter to Jules Strongbow at The Olympic. I asked him to bring The Destroyer back from Portland....and he later did.
This was all off the top of my head. It was what I think.---Steve Yohe
I've been pissed off over what Dave printed in the WON this week on the Stecher/Lewis match on July 4,1916. Can't calm down. I should have taken more drugs as a hippie. I'd be a better man today...or brain dead.
No worries Steve I knew you would deliver the goods. I personally think Jay Strongbow is the worst wrestler ever. I saw a video recently how after Greg "broke" his leg. Vince said something about it only being a couple weeks previous and he was sitting at ringside as a fan watching Greg. Simple booking so far right? After Greg wins Jay jumps into the ring, mind you he has supposedly a broken leg and proceeds to clear the ring. Then he does his seizure looking "war dance" inside he ring then jumps to the outside and does this dance around the entire perimeter of the ring. I couldn't believe anyone bought that! He did another no sell job with Ernie Ladd when Ladd ripped his feathers.
So don't worry Jay and everyone associated with him gets a sour look from me.
But back to the REAL Jules as we can call him. I think I was one of the first to see video of him wrestling. I remember I took a chance on buying a video off EBay that claimed to have it and it turned out to be true. It also had the now debunked shoot Don Eagle/Gorgeous George match. I later sent both to CM and some other stuff.
He seemed to be similar to Andre in the sense he was larger than life and his personality matched that. Just so little is written about him it is a crying shame.