arts

Gorgeous George

Gorgeous George poster“Is this going to be a real fight?”

“Tell me what you think,” Dad answered.

We had incredible first row ringside seats. Gorgeous George was as big a pop culture celebrity as Howdy Doody, and about as authentic. Both were television starts. Baby boomers and their parents were mesmerized.

First, the bad guy, named Nasty Max, entered to boos and hisses. He was fat and ugly and mean looking.

Then the lights dimmed. Pomp & Circumstance began blaring. Catcalls and cheers filled the auditorium. Emerge the star attraction dressed in a sequined robe, strolling regally down a red carpet accompanied by his faithful valet Jeffries, who spread rose petals at his feet and carried a mirror that Gorgeous constantly checked. A royal purple spotlight accentuated his long flowing platinum blonde locks, held in place by gold-plated bobby pins. Sitting in the front row, I was lucky enough to get one his give-away “Georgie Pins.”

No one else was doing anything remotely like this in the early 1950s. Gorgeous wasn’t done. When he removed the robe, Jefferies sprayed the entire ring with Gorgeous Georgedisinfectant, which smelled like cheap perfume. The crowd went crazy with ridicule. Gorgeous would look askance at them and flamboyantly flip his hair. When the referee began his routine check for hidden objects on the contestants, the star jumped away and insisted the ref disinfect his hands first.

Both wrestlers were cheating all they could: gouging eyes, using brass knuckles, rabbit punching. I noticed them talking to each other in clinches, sometimes laughing. When Gorgeous George was on his back, Bad Max’s punches would miss by a mile, but Gorgeous slapped his hand on the ring floor to make a sound, and then screamed.

“It not a real fight,” I whispered to my Dad.

As an avid autograph hound, I waited over an hour for him to exit the auditorium. Gorgeous was gracious. He was in a hurry and couldn’t sign for everyone, but he did for all the kids and the young ladies with big breasts.

Terry Hamburg writes the Baby Boomer Daily about the exciting and revolutionary baby boomer years.

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