By John Capouya
This is the first-ever biography of the mythical wrestler stunning George, choked with outstanding never-before-told tales. George at once motivated the likes of Muhammad Ali, who took his bragging and boasting from George; James Brown, who started to put on sequined capes onstage after seeing George on television; John Waters, whose motion pictures featured the outrageous drag queen Divine as an homage to George; and too many wrestlers to count number. Amid those popular culture discoveries are firsthand bills of the professional wrestling video game from the Nineteen Thirties to the 1960s.
The excellent American male was once stoic, quiet, and dignified. yet for a tender couple suffering to make ends meet, within the desperation born of the lingering melancholy and wartime rationing, an idea used to be hatched that modified the face of yank pop culture, an concept so daring, so over-the-top and absurd, that it was once perfect. that concept reworked journeyman wrestler George Wagner from a dark-haired, clean-cut stable man to a peroxide-blond braggart who blatantly cheated each probability he obtained. Crowds have been stunned—they had by no means noticeable whatever like this before—and they got here from miles round to witness it for themselves.
Suddenly George—guided via Betty, his pistol of a wife—was a draw. together with his golden tresses grown lengthy and styled in a marcel, George went from good-looking to . . . good . . . gorgeous in a single day, the small, dank wrestling venues giving solution to significant arenas. as though the hair wasn't adequate, his robes—unmanly issues of silk, lace, and chiffon in light pinks, sunny yellows, and wealthy mauves—were yet a prelude to the act: the regal front, the tailcoat-clad valet spraying the mat with fragrance, the haughty seems to be and sneers for the "peasants" who paid to observe this outrageously prissy hulk prance round the ring. How they enjoyed to work out his excellent mane mussed up by way of his manly competitors. and the way they enjoyed that alluringly alliterative identify . . . lovely George . . . the self-proclaimed Toast of the Coast, the feeling of the Nation!
All this was once timed to the coming of that new invention every body used to be conversing about—television. In its early days, expert wrestling and its larger-than-life characters ruled prime-time broadcasts—none extra so than attractive George, who offered as many units as Uncle Miltie.
Fans got here in droves—to boo him, to stay him with hatpins, to ogle his robes, and to have fun in his comeuppance. He used to be the guy they enjoyed to hate, and his provocative, gender-bending act took him to the pinnacle of the leisure international. the US may by no means be a similar again.
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Additional info for Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad-Boy Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture
Or not less than George stated he did. quickly, notwithstanding, the king of the hill’s progress could stall and his virtue started to vanish. notwithstanding as a professional he’d frequently be billed as six-foot-one or six-foot-two and as much as 235 kilos, he by no means really grew past the five-foot-nine or -ten he reached in highschool, and at his heaviest, one hundred ninety or so, he was once nonetheless puny for a heavyweight. George wasn’t the most important or oldest Rat and he didn’t dominate brazenly. yet whatever in his face, an open and expressive rectangle, within the glint of his brown eyes, and in his stance towards the realm made this actual child stand out. it will probably were the type of contrast that lands boys in reform tuition. there has been a feral male depth to him, or even extra stressed power than his buddies had; without doubt wrestling was once a providential outlet. but he additionally carried a charismatic cost and a love of comradeship that made the others obviously fall in with him, able to sign up for the thrill he used to be guaranteed to create. He continually desired to stand out. “Even as a boy,” he acknowledged later, “I didn’t are looking to seem like a person else whilst I walked down the road. i needed humans to note me. ” He even claimed that “I used to put on knickers simply so the opposite teenagers may tease me and choose a fight,” yet that used to be most probably only a Georgian line. In his past due children, probably after the good-looking difficult had started to get a few cognizance from women, he wore a cocky grin, and even if the boldness he projected used to be real or compensatory, it used to be convincing. by means of all money owed Poppa Wagner was once easygoing, a placid guy. He didn’t increase his voice, didn’t curse, and met his misfortunes with a rueful smile. He was once a good-size guy; starting to be up within the Midwest, he took down many a comer in “Indian wrestling,” and he loved instructing that variety to George. whereas his son might puff himself up, besides the fact that, attempting to loom greater than he was once, Howard stood with diffidence. while he reached his forties, a ripe center age again then, his mild brown hair retreated in the back of his largish ears and George’s dad got here to appear strikingly just like the post–World warfare II Dwight D. Eisenhower ( simply years older). Betty, who instantly bonded with George’s dad, known as him “a giant ol’ state sweetheart. ” Poppa Wagner can have felt he had to be a buffer, to attempt to appease his troubled spouse, whereas softening the effect her disorder had at the boys. She can be a very affectionate mom, yet via no fault of her personal, her moods have been wildly variable, doping up and down together with her pain. whereas Poppa Wagner looked as if it would wish little and ask much less for himself, Bessie was once, in her helplessness, ever challenging. If his mom and dad are rendered in precisely those vast strokes, George mixed their features with nice symmetry: A guide laborer, he may doggedly ply an analogous alternate his complete operating lifestyles with out grievance. because the attractive One, even though, he used to be an ultrasensitive personality with womanish features, who lived inside his personal wishes and emotions—a special-needs diva. but that interpreting doesn’t do any of them, or human complexity, justice.