Wednesday, July 14, 2021

All He Wanted Was His Teeth


It's funny what sticks with you after all these years.

Wrestler Paul Orndorff died this week.  71.

I'm not a wrestling fan, but I've always remembered the name.  I cannot think of Paul Orndorff without recalling Elmer Biemueller, and yes, Elmer's name is also burned in to my brain.

Let's go back to the spring of 1984.  There was a melee at the CYC involving Orndorff, also known as Mr. Wonderful.  Biemueller, then 81 years old, wound up getting a punch in the face from Mr. Wonderful.  His face bloodied, his false teeth broken.

The whole sorry episode wound up before a district justice in Scranton.  I was there as a radio pup with WARM, and it truly was a media circus.  Orodorff showed up at the Lackawanna County Courthouse to face the charges, attorney by his side.  Biemueller and his lawyer were there.  The district attorney and an assistant DA showed up.  TV cameras.  A radio microphone.  The curious public.  All that was missing was the caliope.

It turned out to be much ado about nothing.  The criminal charges were withdrawn.  Biemueller settled for an apology and a new set of teeth.  Mr. Wonderful was off to some other ring in some other city.

Elmer left us in May of 1985.  I wonder if he'll run in to Paul Orndorff in heaven, and smile.

Also, Charles Robinson died this week.  75.  He was Judge Harry Stone's clerk on "Night Court."  Robinson first appeared on my radar as Newdell, the intimidating make up man on "Buffalo Bill" in the early 80's.  "Buffalo Bill" was a brilliant series, starring Dabney Coleman, as a television talk show host in Buffalo.  It lasted only 26 episodes.  I read where people just hated Coleman's character, but if you softened up the character, you lost the heart of the show.