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Old 03-02-2012, 05:36 AM
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Default Pro-Wrestling, Biggest Benefactor to American Pop Culture

Now before I start, ladies and gentleman, Gorgeous George:


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Muhammad Ali and James Brown acknowledged that their own approach to flamboyant self-promotion was influenced by George. A 19-year old Ali met a 46-year old George at a Las Vegas radio station. During George's radio interview, the wrestler's promo caught the attention of the future heavyweight champion. If George lost to Classy Freddie Blassie, George exclaimed, "I'll crawl across the ring and cut my hair off! But that's not gonna happen because I'm the greatest wrestler in the world!" Ali, who later echoed that very promo when taunting opponent Sonny Liston, recalled, "I saw 15,000 people comin' to see this man get beat. And his talking did it. I said, 'This is a gooood idea!'" In the locker room afterward, the seasoned wrestler gave the future legend some invaluable advice: "A lot of people will pay to see someone shut your mouth. So keep on bragging, keep on sassing and always be outrageous."

In September 2008, the first full length biography of Gorgeous George was published by HarperEntertainment Press. The title of the 304 page book is Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad Boy Wrestler who Created American Pop Culture by John Capouya. In the 2005 book, I Feel Good: A Memoir in a Life of Soul, James Brown said he used many of Gorgeous George's antics to "create the James Brown you see on stage".

Bob Dylan said meeting George changed his life. In Dylan's book The Chronicles: Volume One, Dylan recounts a story of meeting Gorgeous George in person. He wrote, "He winked and seemed to mouth the phrase, `You're making it come alive.' I never forgot it. It was all the recognition and encouragement I would need for years."

The 1951 Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies cartoon Bunny Hugged featured the one-shot character "Ravishing Ronald", modeled after Gorgeous George. The Bowery Boys also lampooned Gorgeous George (with Huntz Hall as a much-heralded wrestler) in the 1952 feature No Holds Barred. Musical performers such as Liberace, Little Richard, Elton John and Morris Day show signs of the George meme. Some consider George to have been an early example of camp.[weasel words]
The 1978 motion picture The One and Only starring Henry Winkler was loosely based on his career.

Now if you go through this man's wikipedia article, you will see how the scripted world of wrestling hit off big on the newly invented telly screen. But for before that, according to a 1937 article in Life magazine, more the wrestlers would groan, stomp, growl, pant and blubber, the louder the crowd would shriek with approval. This marriage of a dramatic soap opera and the Roman gladiator combating gave it that entertainment value that instantly appealed to the lot. Critics like French scholar Roland Barthes took it seriously and tried to explain its appeal.

Come the 1940s, and there were technical wrestlers ruling the land with their plethora of holds and moves and hooking and shooting were not frowned upon kiddies. Then came The Gorgeous One:

Quote:
It was with the advent of television, however, that George’s character exploded into the biggest drawing card the industry had ever known. With the networks looking for cheap but effective programming to fill its time slots, pro wrestling’s glorified action became a genuine “hit” with the viewing public, as it was the first program of any kind to draw a real profit. Consequently, it was Gorgeous George who brought the sport into the nation’s living rooms, as his histrionics and melodramatic behavior made him a larger-than-life figure in American pop-culture. His first television appearance took place on November 11, 1947 (an event that was recently named among the top 100 televised acts of the 20th century by Entertainment Weekly) and he immediately became a national celebrity at the same level of Lucille Ball and Bob Hope (who personally donated hundreds of chic robes for George’s collection) while changing the course of the industry forever. No longer was pro wrestling simply about the in-ring action, but George had created a new sense of theatrics and character performance that had not previously existed. Moreover, in a very real sense, it was Gorgeous George who single-handedly established television as a viable entertainment medium that could potentially reach millions of homes across the country (in fact, it is said that George was probably responsible for selling as many TV sets as Milton Berle).




His impact almost, through pro wrestling, brought this great impact on pop culture among the masses whose magnetic attraction towards the dramatic form of soap opera-tic entertainment that was the cinemas and the combat and violence element that was then ruled by boxing. Pro wrestling struck a chord with the American masses like no other and drive this for of entertainment into the homes of homes nationwide.



Criticisms? Rebuttals?
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:13 AM
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I couldnt agree with you more it was GG not HH that got Wrestling Main stream and thats a fact. Even with Bugs Bunny how many times did we see....Thhhheeeee CRUSHER again a character based on GG.

GG was the Man before Flair or Hogan. Flair even stated his character was a cross between "The Natural" Buddy Rodgers and GG.

GG was the man he was the origonal and so few give him credit. Kudos to you my friend
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:16 AM
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Maybe this does deserve to go unnoticed but the fact of the matter is today as the world ridicules wrestling (which may I add is scripted and 'bumps' are controlled and less people get legit hurt than in UFC or boxing). The same news broadcasting on TV that mock anything to do with wrestling should know that it was a WRESTLER that brought the showmanship and viewership to begin with.

Maybe if it wasn't for Gorgeous George and his antics and his bouts, ye, television would still be popular but still, pro-wrestling was a huge draw and people need to be reminded.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:21 AM
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In addition to guys like Hulk Hogan and Buddy Rogers, I think Alberto Del Rio is also a "descendant" of Gorgeous George.

Think about it: he's flamboyant and showy, entering the ring with feigned elegance and style. He has a second; a person who fawns over him as he struts around the ring before the match starts. The "personal ring announcer" stuff with Del Rio is, in essence, the same as the girl who sprayed the ring with an atomizer before George's contests. Plus, Del Rio works hard in his matches, yet still effects an air of disdain, as if his surroundings are beneath him.

If Gorgeous George's era had included promos, they might have been similar to the ones Del Rio did from his hacienda before making his debut. (I don't know whether Gorgeous George did promos at all; if he did, they were from ringside, speaking into a microphone).

Still, even with the over-the-top impact of George's stylings, it could be that the routine doesn't play well today, as evidenced by the lack of appreciation for Del Rio. He's old style, all the way, in the manner of Gorgeous George and many folks just don't appreciate (or recognize) the history behind what he's doing.

There are few "originals" in performance art, but George took the concept to a new plane, the evidence of which is in the high-profile people who followed his lead.
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