Talk is Jericho – 350 Days – The Most Revealing Wrestling Documentary Ever
Release date: 3/13/2019
Recap by: Caitlin Lavelle
This Week on Talk is Jericho, Jericho interviews Fulvio Cecere, Director of the documentary “350 Days”. “350 Days”, which features interviews with a diverse group of 38 wrestling personalities (only about half of the 72 interviews conducted for the project made the cut to the final film) shows the, “real-life sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle of the pro-wrestling business in the decadent 80s.”
The “350 Days” Idea
Fulvio says the idea for the film came from his friend, Executive Producer Darren Antola, who was inspired by meeting retired wrestlers at conventions and through his friendship with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, who would share road stories with Antola.
Fulvio says he quickly agreed to direct the project, and that he interviewed “Superstar” Billy Graham, Greg “the Hammer” Valentine and Tito Santana in his first week of shooting. Fulvio says he was immediately impressed by the wrestlers’ openness and honestly about drugs, sex, infidelity and hardships on the road.
Interviewing Wrestlers in Interesting Places
Fulvio interviewed wrestlers in a variety of different settings. He talked to Tito Santana in his wife’s hair salon, where Tito hangs out during the day, Greg “the Hammer” Valentine in the middle of a dimly lit ring, Ox Baker in a kitchen cooking Shepherd’s Pie, Abdullah the Butcher at his chicken and ribs restaurant in Atlanta and Lanny Poffo inside Lanny’s parents’ house.
Drugs, Sex, Violence and Life on the Road
In the course of directing “350 Days,” Fulvio says he discovered that the stigma on substance abuse in the wrestling business appears to be gone. The documentary featured several first-hand accounts from wrestlers about steroid and recreational drug use.
Bret Hart tells Fulvio that he formed a deep connection with his colleagues while sharing cocaine in hotel rooms. Greg “the Hammer” Valentine talks about doing an 8-ball of cocaine with Roddy Piper and drinking four cases of beer with Ric Flair while traveling down the road.
Wrestlers also opened up about infidelity, with guys like JJ Dillon saying he led a double life and was unfaithful on the road throughout each of his marriages.
Fulvio also recalls stories of wrestlers facing danger on the road, like Don Fargo being shot in the knee and Davey O’Hannan being stabbed by fans.
Fulvio remember George “the Animal” Steele telling him that he never corrects outsiders who believe life on the road is glamorous because he wants to protect the image and mystique of the wrestling business. Fulvio recounts “Superstar” Billy Graham’s story of driving from Phoenix to Calgary, and a story from Bret Hart of piling into a van with 10 other wrestlers, some of whom were little people, and being startled when he almost stepped on a little person who was lying on the floor of the van.
Fulvio says he tried to be as inclusive as possible when selecting the wrestlers to interview for “350 Days,” and says he sought out the most interesting stories from the history of professional wrestling.
He talks about interviewing Wendi Richter, who he calls a legend, about growing up poor, running away from home to join the wrestling business, and leading what she called a lonely life, unable to have children or even pets due to her wrestling career.
While Fulvio says it would be impossible to pick a single favorite Interview from the documentary, he says Bret Hart’s, which lasted between eight and nine hours, stands out. He also enjoyed talking to Ox Baker, who he calls the movies’ “comic relief,” Bill Eadie, who he says has an, “encyclopedic mind,” and Angelo Savoldi, who was 99-years-old at the time of the interview and passed shortly thereafter.
Fulvio actually believes “350 Days” conducted a number of wrestlers final interviews, including Jimmy Snuka, George Steele, Don Fargo and Willie Farkas.
Another favorite interview of Fulvio’s was Don Leo Jonathan. Fulvio was impressed with Don Leo, who he calls fascinating, and say he was a friend of Jacques Cousteau, an underwater welder, an avid hunter and a maker of knives and leather sheaths.
Missed Connections and Production Delays
Fulvio says he was trying to interview Roddy Piper for “350 Days”, but was unable to due to his untimely death. He also tried to interview Hulk Hogan, but was told Hogan was off limits due to his WWE connection, and Ric Flair, who told Fulvio to contact his agent after the two met at a convention, but ultimately didn’t get back to Fulvio.
Fulvio says it took five years to finish “350 Days” from its inception, and that two years of that time were spent trying to acquire rights to the footage and images used in the film. Because so much wrestling footage is now the property of WWE, Fulvio says he had to get creative, utilizing contacts with fans, photographers and museums to acquire footage. As a result, he says some of the things in the film are extremely rare and unique, including a home video of Jimmy Snuka at a zoo feeding giraffes and giving a bottle of milk to a bear cub.
Fulvio says that a number of individuals helped to fund “350 Days” or agreed to work on the project at a discounted due to their love of professional wrestling. Fulvio himself says his car broke down during a long road trip that he took to gather footage for the film.
Premiering “350 Days”
“350 Days” had a limited theatrical release in 400 theaters across the United States. Fulvio says he would like to get the film into Canadian theaters before going to television, but that he’s already been approached be a number of television distributors including Netflix.
Fulvio talks about David Arquette and RJ City filming an angle on the red carpet of the “350 Days” Los Angeles premiere where City slapped Arquette.
Fulvio says he invited Arquette, who he met and befriended earlier on in his career, when he became aware that Arquette was involved with professional wrestling, but that he had no knowledge of the angle until it transpired.
This was an interesting interview that definitely got me excited to watch “350 Days,” which is currently available for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon. Rating: 8/10
Caitlin is a wrestling fan who hopes to one day discover that she is the illegitimate daughter of Vincent Kennedy McMahon and the rightful Anonymous RAW General Manager. Until then, she’ll keep on living in Orlando, Florida with her husband and two sons.