Well, I’ve been taking it easy of late. You know, recovering from the elk accident and whatnot, and generally being rather thankful for what I have. In fact, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last week, so it was a good time to reflect.
I was very sad to hear about the passing of one of the truly great pro wrestling performers, Captain Lou Albano.
When i was younger, I owned a copy of the Coliseum Home Video release “The Life and Times of Captain Louis Albano,” and I watched it so many times, I am really shocked the tape didn’t disintegrate.
For a long time after he made his transition from full-time wrestler to manager in the WWWF, Lou was a hated villain. He was kooky, he was goofy, he was wacky (aren;t those all words meaning the same thing?). But one thing he certainly was was COLORFUL. He walked the line between madman and genius in his television interviews, and gave his wrestlers instant credibility (and hatred) just but their association with him.
In fact, it’s somewhat safe to say that in those days, Lou was in the top three heels in the company. “Huh?” you ask, “a manager was one of the top heels?” Absolutely. The hated Albano would bring in wrestler after wrestler to attack and attempt to dethrone the perennial babyface WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino (and succeeded with Ivan Koloff), and later with Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund.
He was so establised and known, that by the time wrestling made it’s huge mainstream/crossover effort in the mid-1980′s, Albano was at the helm, seeing the error of his ways and the “Guiding Light” in fact embraced the light. He also helped spearhead the “Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection,” which garnered a type of coverage not usually afforded that seedy pro wrestling stuff.
He also dedicated his time to a number of charities. For a time, he acted as co-chair (with Cyndi Lauper) of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, raising millions of dollars for the cause. Of course, he also had action figures, appeared in the WWF cartoon, and went on to do movies and the Super Mario Brothers Super SHow (where he played Mario in the live-action segments).
Those who know me also know I love a lot of the work the WWE production department has done with some of the special videos that air on television and pay-per-view. I honestly think they’ve slipped in quality in recent years, but that’s just me. This past week, however, I feel they regained their award-winning reputation. What was the subject of the video? A tribute to the life and times of Lou Albano. I honestly think it was a great piece, and I’ve included the video below for you to enjoy as well.
R.I.P. Capper! Thanks for the memories.