‘Memphis Heat’ Debuts

We’ve talked on this blog before about the Memphis identity and the need for Memphians to step up in shaping that identity.

More than a few steps in that direction are on display this weekend and into next week with the documentary “Memphis Heat.”

The documentary about the golden age of professional wrestling in Memphis is about as Memphis as you can get.

Executve producer Sherman Willmott told the crowd at the film’s Thursday premiere at The Malco Paradiso Theater that even the music used in the film was made in Memphis.

The film opens a week long run starting tonight (Friday night) at Malco’s Studio on the Square and Desoto Cinema 16 in Southaven. Willmott is hoping for an extended run with good box office at both locations in the next week.

We’ll have more on the film next week in The Daily News. It’s a real behind the scenes look at the regional wrestling company that put on the best wrestling matches anywhere, certainly in the U.S., possibly in the world.

Wrestlers who have made it to Madison Square Garden talk, in the film, about being more thrilled about coming to the Mid-South Coliseum and wrestling before a deafening sell out crowd.

The intriguing part is told for the most part by Jerry Jarrett who was responsible for the rise of Memphis in a wrestling circuit that was Nashville-based and centered.

The portrait of wrestling as a business told by him and other wrestlers is compelling. Not to play with the wrestling analogies too much but, they don’t pull any punches about the realities of wrestling for a living.

Jarrett’s role in the Memphis wrestling scene was unique. He was a teen age promoter in the smallest most remote parts of the circuit before moving up. He became a wrestler and then went back to being a promoter. WIllmott tells us that Jarrett hasn’t had a lot of interest about talking about wrestling in the past. But when he found out the documentary was going to be more than a surface look, he cooperated and the film is all the better for it. Jarrett even attended the Paradiso premiere.

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