SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Flying Bobby Marshall
Flying Bobby Marshall back in his wrestling days.
Hamilton, Ontario in 1944
6'0", 230 pounds
Flying Bobby Marshall
Pro wrestling proved to be the perfect summer job for Marshall Caplan
back in 1968, while attending McMaster University in Hamilton.
He had met ex-wrestler Ron Logue while doing weight training, getting in
shape for the Mauraders football team. Weighttraining led to wrestling
after some convincing by Logue. Caplan, who had wrestled amateur in
university, and taken some judo training, picked it up pretty quick.
His first bout was in Akron, Ohio for promoter Pedro Martinez, who
changed Caplan's name to Flying Bobby Marshall, and billed him as a
teenage idol from Buffalo rather than his hometown of Hamilton. To
promote the 'Flying' monicker, Caplan did a series of flying drop kicks
and a suplex as his finishing moves.
"I was a university student at McMaster U and used my wrestling income
to help pay for my tuition," explained Caplan to SLAM! Wrestling. "I
would wrestle as soon as my university football season was over and
would wrestle full time for about six to eight months year."
The Martinez-run territories included Upper New York State, Ohio and
parts of Pennsylvania.
Marshall Caplan, the model, today.
On TV in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Flying Bobby Marshall would be putting
over other wrestlers, but on the show out of Buffalo, which reached his
hometown, he was pushed. He also did segments demonstrating wrestling
holds with the late Kangaroo Al Costello
Caplan remembers "amazing experiences" wrestling with greats like
Dick 'The Bulldog' Brower
, Hans Schmidt
, Johnny Powers
, The Love Brothers, Billy Martinez,
and the Kangaroos.
"Bill Terry, alias Kurt von Hess
, and I would travel in his VW bug all
over the place," he said. "Often we would wrestle each other and I would
get out his car about a block from the arena so the fans would not see
us arrive together!"
On the football field, he played three years for the Maurenders, and was the McMaster captain and MVP in 1970. The
following year, he graduated with a double degree in Physical Education
and Psychology. Caplan was drafted by the Ottawa Rough Riders in June
1971 and had the old proverbial "cup of coffee" in the CFL, never making the final roster.
He left the wrestling business in 1975, his real career as an educator
had to take precedence. "I was always balancing the two careers," he
said, adding that wrestling is still "in his blood".
All in all, he considers his seven years in pro wrestling to be "a lot
of fun, and a great opportunity to do something different.
Since getting out of wrestling, Caplan has been a counsellor, phys ed
teacher and football coach in Toronto for close to 29 years, retiring
this past February.
He was certainly one of the more unique teachers at the school, with the
tapes from Buffalo being seen by his students. Often, he would leave
directly from the school to drive to the next town to wrestle. The
students "got a big kick out of it... it was almost like living in two
Caplan has also done work as a model (mainly catalogs) and actor
(including a lot of commericals, and an episode of Due South
having lost 40 pounds from his wrestling / football days.
-- By GREG OLIVER
, May 2001