Historian, writer and research consultant David Votta has worked as History Librarian & Archivist for the Capital Area District Library since 2004. Previous to CADL he was employed at the Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library/Archives and as a freelance reporter for NPR affiliate WDET in Detroit. He has studied at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia and currently serves on more boards and commissions than he would like to think about.

5 responses to “Lost Lansing: Remembering “The Sheik””

  1. Randy Riley

    David,
    Loved the Sheik as a kid. I was more partial to Tex McKenzie though. I remember watching them wrestle at the armory in Ionia when I was a kid. Thanks for the trip down memory lane…

    r.

  2. David Votta

    Thanks Randy.
    One of two celebrity autographs I have ever requested is Dick the Bruiser. That tells you where my head is at. This was an inscribed, autographed picture. I got two that day, one for me, and one for my dad who taught to me appreciate this subtle art. We had them framed.
    V

  3. J.J.

    The Sheik was tremendous! I remember his signature move, the “Camel Clutch”, in which he would grab his opponents face with one of his hands and squeeze until they passed out. And his outrageous facial expressions and wild eyes had me convinced that that he was totally nuts.
    He stood out as the best in a field filled with great entertainer/athletes like Dick the Bruiser, Bobo Brazil, Leaping Larry Shane, Haystacks Calhoun, La Beastia, Cry Baby McCarthy and so many more. But it was the Sheik, more than any other, who created the prototype of the big time wrestlers we see today.

  4. Dennis Okler

    I had the pleasure of working for The Shiek during in the mid 70’s as an attendant at Cobo Arena in Detroit. It was my job set up and up and tear the ring before and after shows, as well as collect ring garb to take back to the dressing room. I also had the opportunity to work a couple of stretcher matches (You Old Time Fans Will Remember What Those Were). Considering the fact that I only had to work a couple hours a night, sit ring side at the announcers table, and get paid for it, it wasn’t a bad gig.

    My fondest memory of The Shiek was very shortly after I graduated from college, I was in the dressing room one night after a show and had the opportunity to briefly chat with The Man Himself, and he told me that me that if I had any trouble getting a job to let him know, and he would use his connections to see what he could do.

    Here’s this man that I watched as a kid growing up with this bigger than life personna of The Shiek, and got to know him as he stepped out of character, and found him to be one of the warmest people I had ever met. A memory I will treasure forever.

    R.I.P. Shiek

  5. Tambrey

    BION I’m imressped! Cool post!

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