Captain Lou Albano has died. He was 76.
The brazen, rubber-band-wearing figure of professional wrestling achieved “crossover fame” in the 1980s when professional wrestling did the same. Many who would never have seen him in the ring knew him instead from Cyndi Lauper videos and periodic antics on MTV.
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the man. I can remember the very morning I started watching professional wrestling addictively. Capt. Lou was on the screen. He screamed at the screen with his Popeye-esque forearms and mouth frothing with spit, with kinetic hair and rubber bands fastened to his cheek. It was the most fascinating thing I had seen on Saturday morning TV.
My fascination with pro-wrestling lasted from about 1984 to 1988, not long, but oddly long considering I was in high school by 1986. I subscribed to the WWF magazine, I watched the stupid Saturday morning cartoon, and I bought the action figures. I own it all still, in a box in a closet at my folks house. I also went to two wrestling events. Big Lou was in the corner for one of them.
But here’s all you really need to know: “Albano’s 75th birthday party last year at a Yonkers restaurant turned into a drunken battle royal, with the arrest of one wrestler.”
And this is as good a thing as any to remember:
BTW, click at your own peril. This is the entire 12 minute version of the video.