Frank Talent died last night. He was a representative for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, and at first, his passing might not seem to be the time of thing you need to report to a mainstream sports blog audience.
Talent was Assistant Athletic Commissioner for 38 years, presiding over boxing, roller derby and wrestling. In 75 years he went from a kid raised in an orphanage to a man who was featured on the radio, made appearances on television, wrote columns for the newspaper and generally lived the kind of life that lets you die surrounded by your family seven-and-a-half decades in with a smile on your face.
But why does a guy like me remember Frank Talent, and mourn his passing? I just happen to be one of those people who will always associate Philadelphia pro wrestling with his name. To put it another way, here’s a short paragraph written about Talent by Peter Holby a few years ago at Progressive Boink:
Frank Talent is the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commissioner. He was appointed to his post and it’s his responsibility to make sure that every wrestling show is conducted in a safe manner. He has to make sure the ring is well-built and the crowd is out of harm’s way. And what better way to do such a thing than by being a paid performer on those wrestling shows? For a nominal fee, Frank Talent will come to your show and stop a match on the grounds that it’s unsafe, or maybe you just want him to stand backstage, give a pep talk, and yell at Spanky for having his headphones on. He gets two paychecks.
That’s what he was — a guy who did his job, but also liked to do a little more.
You won’t find his eulogy on Yahoo Sports or probably even the major wrestling sites, but I wanted to devote a few paragraphs to him here. Tom Holzerman at The Wrestling Blog put up his own tribute late last night after the news of Frank’s passing started to spread across Twitter, and if you’ve never seen or heard of the man, I think the best example of his importance is in this video, where CHIKARA pro wrestling’s Icarus tries to get Frank Talent to make sure the good guys don’t cheat and gets called out for being the biggest cheater of all.
That’s the best way to remember someone, I think, by the ridiculous things you can’t believe they’ve done. You can read more personal thoughts and memories from the people who knew and worked with Frank at 1wrestling.com, but here are a few of my favorite memories from Philadelphia-area wrestlers popping up online today. He’ll be missed.