Brian Lumley Recollections: Doug, Ali, and a Cougar

Ali’s main ring was inside a low building with folding chairs set up to watch.  The champ went in and did a show of workout moves, skipping, punches, jabs, foot work, dodges, dancing around the ring…all fast and powerful…Unbeknownst to Doug; Ali, a truly seasoned and master showman, used these kinds of moments to seize his audience and start his financial backing promo.  Doug had no idea he was supposed to come into the ring and perform more than one trick. He was ready with the Linking Rings but didn’t have any more. Muhammad Ali was looking for more magic; about ten minutes worth.Doug’s plan was to bring Rebel into the ring and playfully chase Ali around the ring as a PR stunt. He wanted this to be a surprise so he did not tell anybody.

Doug seemed to have no concept of how dangerous or reckless his little stunt idea was.   Ali could not afford to get a scratch or any kind of injury let alone a potential infection.   Doug thought he had control of the cougar because he had it on a leash.  He ignored the fact that Rebel dragged him where Rebel wanted to go.  Rebel weighed more than Doug and he had four paws on the ground plus he had the power and gumption of a wild animal…

Doug wanted me to bring the cat in just after his act.  He did not bring much magic because he wanted the cougar to be the main attraction.  All day I was trying to talk him out of bringing Rebel into the ring.  After Ali did his sparing in the ring he opened his after show with his own rope trick.   He introduced Doug who did the Linking Rings but I can’t remember any other magic. 

Doug and Ali in Ring

I was supposed to be just outside the door waiting for Doug to signal me then I’d bring the cat in.  Rebel was getting excited by the sounds and smells of what was going on.  He was starting to get antsy pulling and straining on his leash so I had to get him away from the door.  While I was getting Rebel under control, Doug had been signaling me.  But I was walking away from the door not towards it and didn’t see him.  He came running out, grabbed the cat’s leash, took it away from me and headed back for the door. I tried to get him to stop and reconsider his plan but it was too late. 

To Be Continued….


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