RIP Bouncing Beulah
'Bouncing Beulah' dead at 87
By Dale Huffman
Her name was Beulah Mae Boshers but she will always be affectionately
remembered as "Bouncing Beulah."
Half a century ago, when the folks running the television stations in
Dayton would gamble a lot, airing unusual live local programs, Bouncing
Beulah was one of Dayton's most recognizable television personalities,
thanks to her enthusiastic support of televised pro wrestling matches.
Mrs. Boshers died Friday from congestive heart failure at Miami Valley
Hospital. She was 87.
Her daughter, Wilma Erickson of Riverside, said her mother was "one of a
kind." She added, "Mom dedicated her whole life to being kind and doing
nice things. But wrestling will be her legacy, the one thing that folks
will always remember about Mom."
Not long after television station WLW-D, Channel 2 (now WDTN-TV) remodeled
an old ice skating rink on Dixie Drive in Moraine and went on the air,
station officials turned part of the building into a mini-wrestling arena.
"They wrestled back in an area that we called 'the barn,' " said Bob
"Scoop" Phillips, longtime news cameraman for Channel 2. "Back in the early
1950s wrestling was really big and our wrestling shows got great ratings
every Saturday night. Bouncing Beulah was more famous than many of the
For more than 30 years, Beulah has been one of my friends, and would
occasionally call. When she did, I always knew who it was before she
introduced herself. Her warm gravelly, mischievous voice was easily
recognizable. "Just reporting in," she would say. "Ole Bouncin' Beulah just
calling to say I love you."
She talked a lot of how wrestling had changed into a big industry since
those early days, but how she was still a fan of the first degree.
"People tell me it was fake," she said. "But I always said it was fun. I
saw people having fun. And I can tell you I got to know so many of the
wrestlers personally. I was the mom away from home for many of those young
lads. I still get cards from my guys. And some stayed over at our house
when they were in town."
Beulah's late husband, Ernie, didn't share her enthusiasm, she would say.
"But he put up with it because he knew I enjoyed it."
Daughter Wilma said, "It actually started at Memorial Hall when there was a
wrestling match one night, and my mother ran up and began pounding on the
mat and causing a stir."
Neal Van Ells, an announcer and program director at the station, apparently
saw show business potential. "Neal asked me to come on Saturday night to
the matches at the station," Beulah once told me. "He wrote a little note
on the back of an envelope and told me it was my ticket for a front-row
seat. I never missed a Saturday night match and my seat was always reserved
Omar Williams, retired sports director at WDTN-TV, also was a wrestling
announcer at one time and has said he will never forget Bouncing Beulah.
"She was a great showman," Williams said. "Very likable and warm and a
really nice lady. I bet half the great ratings were because of her."
Mrs. Boshers was born in Tennessee, and services will be held in
Sweetwater, Tenn., on Tuesday morning. For the past two years she resided
in the Otterbein St. Marys Retirement Community, and services are being
arranged by the Miller Funeral Home of St. Marys.
In addition to daughter Wilma, she leaves a son, William Boshers of
Cincinnati, who is a weekend personality on WLW radio. There are two
sisters surviving, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
"She is also survived by many many friends she met in the wrestling
profession," daughter Wilma said. "Bouncing Beulah was genuine good soul
and a wonderful person. Once you met her, you would never forget her."
Dale Huffman wants your suggestions and story ideas. E-mail
dhuffman@... or write to Dale at 45 S. Ludlow St., Dayton,
OH 45402. Fax: 225-2489. Phone: 225-2272.
[From the Dayton Daily News: 11.02.2003]
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