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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Gorgeous George a Good Read


By Fred Wallace

Getting ready for vacation, I followed tradition and went to the Phoenix Book Store.

I picked up Phil Esposito's book, " Thunder & Lightning ", and as a companion, I also grabbed a book by John Capouya  titled " Gorgeous George. "

I was about 3 years old when Gorgeous George performed for the last time and died a shortly later, so I have no recollection of ever seeing the wrestler formerly known as George Wagner.

However, when you say the name, or make any reference to " Gorgeous George ", almost everybody knows who, and what, you're talking about.

While John Capouya's book does chronicle the life and times of Gorgeous George, this piece is as much, if not moreso, about American pop culture and the influences that can be traced back to Gorgeous George

The massive impact of TV, even in its infancy, liking the bad guy, American " me-first " attitudes, over-the-top fashion and cosmetics, despising the monied, Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan, glam, the arena spectacle and more at different times are traced back to George.

Almost 50 years after his passing, the book's final segment chronicles how Wagner's ring persona overtook him, imprisoned him,  and led through wives, mistresses, bars, alcohol, gambling, at last leaving him broken & destitute at death.

Yet for a large number of baby boomers, never forgotten.

The only drawback to picking up " Gorgeous George " is now I need another book to read while I'm away.

I'm Fred Wallace

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