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Don Fargo (1930-2015)

    

Real Name - Donald Vincent Kalt
Birthdate10/3/1930 - 11/8/2015
5’10” 250 lbs. - New York City, NY

Athletic BackgroundBodybuilding, Powerlifting

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional BackgroundColumbus(`55-`56), Capitol(`57-`59), Nashville(`57), Charlotte(`60), GCCW(`60), Pittsburgh(`61), Texas(`61), Portland(`61), Los Angeles(`61-`62), Georgia(`64-`65), GCCW(`65-`68), Indianapolis(`68-`70), AWA(`69), Detroit(`70), GCCW(`71-`72), NWF(`72), Amarillo(`73), GCCW(`73), Australia(`73), Amarillo(`73), Indianapolis(`74), Los Angeles(`75), GCCW(`75-`76), Nashville(`78), Memphis(`78-`80), Houston(`79), AWA(`86), WOW(`88), Memphis(`92)

Aliases - Don Kalt, Don Stevens, Don Juan the Magnificent, Jack Dalton, Phantom, Jack Dillinger, Mr. D, Private Don Fargo, Black Baron, Fonzo Fargo, Don Garfield, Don Fargo Garfield

Peak Years - `58-`68

Place in HistoryWhile people tend to equate a long list of different characters with mediocrity due to people like John Tenta, Ed Leslie and Guy Mitchell, Don Kalt is the definite exception.  Whether he was a flamboyant Fargo, greasy biker, six-gun shooting cowboy or doing some other goofy gimmick, Don Fargo generally could draw heat and draw money before having a fallout with the promotion.  Don Kalt’s life story is perhaps one of the most amazing in pro-wrestling history and sadly it is not more widely known.  Born in Germany and raised in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, Kalt may have been illiterate, but he bluffed his way into the service as a teenager and fought at Iwo Jima.  Following the war, Kalt settled in Pittsburgh and began intensively building up his body with weightlifting and he would maintain himself physically and have an impressive build into the latter stages of his career.  Kalt found his way into pro-wrestling and was partnering up with a young Ray Stevens as his brother Don.  Buddy Rogers got him into New York and he hooked up with “Wildman” Jackie Fargo.  Soon he was a Fargo too and for a few years he and Jackie were hot commodities in the Northeast and Tennessee.  Jackie eventually decided to settle in Nashville working for Roy Welch and Nick Gulas, while Don took the Fargo act elsewhere.  He partnered up with Jimmy (Baggis) Fargo for a time before the two adopted a completely new identity as the Dirty Daltons, Jack (Don) and Jimmy, a pair of gunslinging outlaw types straight out of a TV Western.  The Daltons, worked in a number of territories in several incarnations.  Frank Dalton replaced Jimmy and they added a manager in Kenny Mack.  This version of team transformed into the “Hell’s Angels” and headed to the Alabama end of the Gulf Coast territory wielding chains, chairs and brass knuckles.   Following that run, the team of Jack and Kenny Mack headed North using the biker gimmick.  They became Jack and Frank Dillinger respectively and got a big push in Indianapolis as the Chain Gang.  Hostilities from real bikers led to an ill-fated night out, where Frank’s career was ended after being shot in both legs as Jack escaped across a river.  Frank was replaced by Jim Dillinger (Chris Colt), who had worked a biker gimmick earlier in his career, but the Chain Gang softened their edginess and became tie-dyed hippies for a time.  Next, he returned to the Fabulous Fargos, introducing a young Johnny (Greg Valentine) into the sport.  This new version was successful in several territories before they went their separate ways.  Don Fargo headed back to the Gulf Coast and feuded with “Cowboy” Bob Kelly in battles that are among the area’s most famous.  Fargo was legitimately into the biker life and his persona was an extension of that complete with tattoos, piercings, iron crosses and leather.  Playing a no-nonsense tough guy was not a stretch for him even in his mid-40s.  However, he spent an unlikely few months back in Indianapolis working as half of the Legionnaires with Sgt. Jacques Goulet.  He traded in his leather for a white kepi and blue sash in what was the last good run of his career.   Although Don Fargo was still a capable heel who kept himself in great shape and could still rile a crowd, his time was past him.  Through the remainder of the 1970s, he struggled to find a spot.  Leo Garibaldi repackaged him in L.A. as Fonzo Fargo, a take-off on the popular Fonz character from “Happy Days,” which was ultimately a flop.  He had a short run as Don Garfield teaming with “brother” Ron (Bass), but everyone recognized him.  He continued to work between Tennessee, Alabama and Texas over the next few years, however his age and wild living was catching up to him.  Don Fargo worked his final matches for Rip Tyler’s WOW promotion, but had moved on to doing artwork.  Now in his eighties, Don Fargo lives outside Pensacola with dozens of dogs, broke after all these years, but is still working out and attending wrestler reunions.  For all his years and all his identities, Don Fargo could be be considered the most unique in business full of unique individuals.

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