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By Mike Johnson on 2022-07-30 15:34:00

I am still personally processing the news of the passing of David "Blackjack" Brown overnight. 

Blackjack, as everyone knew him, was around forever in and around professional wrestling as a writer and photographer dating back many decades to old newsletters, fanzines and Madison Square Garden WWWF programs.  He had columns for The Chicago Sun-Times and was the person who provided most of the information for the old New York Daily News "Slammer" column.  He maintained one of the most successful 900 phone lines for professional wrestling before the Internet became the norm.

Behind the scenes, and far more importantly than anything Blackjack ever wrote or shot photos of, he was someone who advised and assisted countless talents and helped them get chances and jobs in different companies, never doing it for clout or attention, but because he helped better professional wrestling.  He was a sounding board, an influencer and someone who everyone networked through at different points of their career, especially in the 1980s and 1990s before he started pulling back to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.

Blackjack was also a close friend who I spoke with weekly and before the pandemic prevented it, I spent lots of time with as I knew him dating back to 1993 when I first started regularly going to WWF Raw tapings at the Manhattan Center.  I can't even envision going to a Wrestlemania weekend and not spending time with him and my brain is still reeling at the news.  I could (and might) write a lot about him in the days to come but for now, want to point to some of the tributes that are already pouring in for him:



If you grew up watching WWF, ringside photographer Blackjack Brown was always on your screen. If you were in the business, chances are that you have a story about something Blackjack did to help you and your journey.

I met Blackjack in 1994 at AWF tv tapings in St Charles, IL. I was a 14 year old kid enamored with pro wrestling and spotted Blackjack. I wasn’t a guy working my way up in the business, I was a high school freshman that just wanted to find a way into that magical world of.

LONG story short, despite this-Blackjack gave me his address so we could write letters (which I found out later on that he saved) and he would send me shots from his WWF/WCW shows. He gave me advice from that point of just wanting in, all the way through last week. He encouraged me early on when I had no chance of making it, to go for it. He told me I was going to make it..and with that distinct voice and Brooklyn accent, assured me that he’s never been wrong.

Over the years he would tell me his stories about some of your favorite wrestlers that he would coach the same way and even introduced them to the powers that be in WWF and WCW. He pulled a lot of strings and connected a lot of guys.

I would tell him that he should write a book, filled with the fascinating stories that had never been told and his photos that physically sat in his home and never made it to the digital age.

He didn’t want to tell his stories in a book though, he kept them for his friends. Lots and lots of talents have Blackjack to thank for their career and he knew it..and they knew it. I know the part he played in mine and I am so thankful that he was there from the very beginning to encourage and guide me over the years.

I got the news this morning that he passed away last night and I wish I had the words to express how thankful I am for having Blackjack as a friend, but no words can do him justice. If you knew Blackjack, you get it..and you’re also a better person for it. RIP Blackjack, I miss you already.


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