How Whitehaven High's Jimmy Brawner Became the "Mean German" Wrestler Kurt Von Brauner



Photo courtesy Mark James

In our June issue, I tell the remarkable story of Jimmy Brawner, a handsome kid from Whitehaven High School, who transformed himself into Kurt Von Brauner, one-half of a "mean German" wrestling team. They're shown here, with their equally colorful manager, Saul Weingeroff. That's Brawner/Von Brauner on the left. No — he's on the right. No wait, left. Oh heck, I can't tell these guys apart.

My pal Mark James actually owns several of the massive world-championship belts the Von Brauners won over the years, such as the very impressive ones shown here. They are just two items from Mark's amazing collection of wrestling memorabilia, and you can see many others — trophies, photos, news articles, and much more — on his website, Memphis Wrestling History.

Mark is also the author of several books devoted to Memphis wrestling, including Memphis Wrestling History Presents 1982, a compilation of every single newspaper article, photograph, and even advertisements that ran in local papers that year. What's more, he has publishing extensive collections of wrestling match records, such as Memphis Wrestling History Presents the 1960s and Memphis Wrestling History Presents the 1970s.

I think he's pretty much got this subject covered.

Somewhere along the way, Mark has also found time to write or co-author other books on local wrestling legends, including The Best of Times with Jerry Jarrett, and If You Don't Want the Answer, Don't Ask the Question with Bill "Superstar" Dundee.

For this and a whole lot more, I highly recommend Memphis Wrestling History. Nice job indeed, Mark. There's lots to see here.

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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