Back in June, I had the fortune to talk with the director of Memphis Heat, Chad Schaffler, as the film was taking a tour of theaters around the title’s region. Just the bit that I had to talk with Chad about the phenomenon of Memphis “Rasslin'” gave me a sense of the energy and excitement of those memories.
Well, I shared some of that enthusiasm when a copy of Memphis Heat showed up in my mailbox the other day, and I’d been scraping for a moment to watch the movie. This is what you would hope. A complete retrospective with the names you know from the area, Jerry Lawler, Jerry Jarrett, Rocky Johnson, Jimmy Hart, Jimmy Valient (who is easily mistaken for Tommy Chong). But the laundry list of other stars of the area that I’d never really gotten to know.
As a longtime fan, this disc delved into just where guys like Jimmy Hart and Jerry Lawler came from. It was the perfect companion to reading Lawler’s book all those years ago (and might lead to me re-reading it with this context). Stories from the road, about the crazy crowds, and wars between promotions, and even a departure to WWF. When the movie was done, I sat through all of the outtakes from the interviews.
In an era when WWE is releasing revisionist history DVDs of WCW, World Class Championship Wrestling, ECW, and AWA, it’s nice to see something straight from the source, and from what I understand, one of the few libraries not currently owned by the big WWE. If you’re big into reading everything you can get your hands on about life in wrestling, this is a great flick.
You can find the trailer, and a shop for the DVD and book it was based on, at www.memphis-heat.com