Gypsies on parade: Bill Dundee’s career comes full circus
Legend has it that Memphis wrestling’s Bill “Superstar” Dundee (William Cruickshanks) ran away in his youth and joined the circus (at least according to a story published in “Action Ringside,” the weekly Memphis program sold at the arenas). In what might seem like a lateral career move at best by some people, the scrappy little Aussie (Scot) eventually left life under the big top for the wrestling business and never looked back–until now. Dundee recently resurfaced during a local newscast promoting a performance by the Coleman Bros. Circus in Vero Beach, Fla., best known as the hometown of “Red Rooster” Terry Taylor. (From what I understand, the Coleman Bros. and the Ringling Bros. had a bitter rivalry similar to the Funks and the Briscos for years.)
Displaying the promo skills that made him a superstar, Dundee discusses the nomadic lifestyle of the circus. I found this very reminiscent of the TV interviews conducted by Lance Russell in which Dundee frequently referred to the countless miles he and Jerry Lawler logged traveling up and down the roads together in their heydays in Memphis.
Watching that piece, I can’t help but think back to how Dundee’s wrestling travels were heartbreakingly captured in this music video that aired on Memphis TV in the late ’80s.. Warning: Do not view without a hanky handy.