In professional wrestling history, only a handful of wrestling promoters can be called
brilliant when it comes to the usage of television as a key promotional avenue. Fred
Kohler in Chicago was really the original innovator during the late 1940s and turned his
TV success into near national dominance. Johnny Doyle in Los Angeles was just as
smart, and earned a fortune in revenue from TV. Later, Doyle and Jim Barnett also used
television to build up another near national empire. But in Washington, D.C. initially, and
then across a multi-state territory, Vincent McMahon "Sr." proved to be absolutely brilliant
when it came to using television to promote his arena wrestling shows.
Promoter: Vincent McMahon
Host: Bill Malone (1)
Host: Morris Siegel (2)
Host: Ray Morgan (3)
Sponsor: Gunther Brewery (Gunther Vice President: Walter Driskill)
On Thursday, January 5, 1956, Vincent McMahon's Wrestling at Capitol Arena debut on
WTTG (channel 5) at 10:00 and the original host was Bill Malone.
In Lawrence Laurent's June 9, 1956 column in the Washington Post and Times Herald,
he explained that he was surprised that "television was given credit for boosting the sale
of tickets" at McMahon's Capitol Arena programs. "Television is a curious business,"
Laurent wrote. "Here's promoter McMahon who wasn't attracting enough customers with
an attraction that wasn't on TV. He put the attraction on TV, business boomed."
Beginning on June 21, 1956, McMahon's program was shown in New York City on WABD,
replacing the DuMont TV Studio show from the Telecenter.
In early October 1956, Morris Siegel replaced Bill Malone as the commentator for the
WTTG Thursday night wrestling show. The September 27, 1956 column of Lawrence
Laurent (Radio and Television) in the Washington Post and Times Herald reported that
Siegel had been signed by Gunther Brewery to do "a number of their local programs." In
addition to wrestling on WTTG, he was going to broadcast Monday night boxing on the
By Thursday, December 17, 1959, Ray Morgan was the host for Wrestling at Capitol
Arena (WTTG) (channel 5) (9:00). Morgan remained the commentator until the show's
cancellation during the summer of 1970.
Bill Malone (William Poglace) was killed in an automobile accident on March 8, 1973 on
the New Jersey Turnpike. He was 48. Malone was the voice behind sports on WMAL
during the 1950s and moved to New York in 1960. Malone was a World War II veteran.
Ray Morgan passed away on Sunday, January 5, 1975 in Englewood, New Jersey. In
addition to his legendary wrestling work as a broadcaster, he did radio shows "Gang
Busters" and "Toast of the Town." He was also well known for donating time for the Heart
and Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, according to his obituary in the
New York Times (1/7/75). His full name was Raymond Storrs Morgan. He was survived
by his wife, Ruie Rideout Morgan and a daughter, Diane M. Ryerson.
Morris "Mo" Siegel died on June 2, 1994 in Washington, D.C. at the age of 78. Siegel,
according to the Associated Press, "was one of only two journalists inducted into the
Robert F. Kennedy Stadium Hall of Stars." Siegel had also been a major advocate for
baseball returning to Washington, D.C.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Washington, D.C. Wrestling Television History