Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Human Interest

Looking Back...to 1951: Curious about wrestling's Gorgeous George

'Gorgeous George' Wagner became one of the most popular wrestlers of the 1940s and 1950s thanks to his athleticism, his bleach blond hair, his brilliant self-promotional skills and a singularly outrageous in-ring persona that was ahead of its time. Below is a snapshot of the wrestler from back in 1951.

This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on November 20, 1951.

Gorgeous George turns bleached locks, Marcelled hair into a mat fortune

By Jack Slayton

Bleached locks cascaded over his face but the obvious retort died on my lips when I glimpsed the broad shoulders and the powerful arms.

"How are you? I've just bleached my hair and I'm letting it dry.

"Say look at this bleach: this is the best in the business."

I dumbfoundly fingered the empty carton and tried to think of something adequate to say. The best I could offer was, "How long are you going to be wrestling down here?" Thus I met the fabulous Gorgeous George – he of the bleached locks and curled hair. The richest wrestler in the States and the last resort of all comics when the gags run low.

Wrestling's Golden Boy was staying at Stu Butterfields Buccaneer Hotel Court on the Gulf Beaches prior to making an appearance at the Ft. Hesterly Armory last night. From Tampa he goes to Miami and then to Havana.

A powerfully built man, George is 5'10" tall and weighs 215 pounds. His step is light for such a hefty gent but any idea one is meeting the usual grappling "muddlehead" becomes swiftly dispelled when George begins to talk.

After many years of wrestling for "peanuts" George hit the bigtime with his perfumed and blonded hair style as much as with his wrestling technique.

Obviously the numerous interviews had given George a general idea of what was wanted and before I could mutter a brief "How are you and how do you like Florida," he launched into a brilliant defense of his attire and his golden locks.

"Man has been taking a back seat to women for the past 100 years when years ago it was just the opposite.

"A hundred years ago man wore his hair long and dressed with coats of brilliant hues while the women were gowned more conservatively. Many a time the women would mutter, 'My how pretty he is!'

"Why do you know," pointing his finger at me, "that 18 presidents wore their hair long and ten of them were wrestlers. Lincoln was the champion of his home county and even once wrestled professionally."

To all this I looked blank, so seeing a receptive audience Georgia lashed out again. "When I was a small boy in Texas we were poor. My father gave me a dollar to get my haircut. I noticed the long hair on Washington and decided if he wears it long, so will I."

Thus was born the wrestling hero of TV grappling with an assist from the Father of our Country.

A resident of California where he raises turkeys when he isn't raising the tempers of the wrestling fans over the nation, George takes about three tours a year over the country. He informs one and all that he has broken 12 attendance records over the States, several of them being his own set on earlier tours.

Each tour lasts ten weeks and George wrestles from four to five times a week. When he is in California his grappling is cut down and he devotes more of his time to bringing up the Thanksgiving Day dinners.

(GEORGE TRABANT | Tampa Bay Times)

Original caption: Wrestler's Locks in Pigtails - Georgeous George, famous TV grappler, has his hair set in pin curlers prior to his appearance last night in a wrestling card at Tampa's Ft. Hesterly Armory. George was staying at the Buccaneer Hotel Court on Treasure Island.

(GEORGE TRABANT | Tampa Bay Times)

Original caption: Wrestler's Locks in Pigtails - Georgeous George, famous TV grappler, has his hair set in pin curlers prior to his appearance last night in a wrestling card at Tampa's Ft. Hesterly Armory. George was staying at the Buccaneer Hotel Court on Treasure Island.

Besides his locks, George has a valet, who trails after him in the many arenas where he struggles with errant eye gougers. He also drives a sickly lavender–colored car. According to George his turkey ranch is also painted in the same hue but fortunately the turkeys are color blind.

By astute showmanship and a knowledge of the sport, George has parlayed his wrestling earnings into a fortune. He has seven coiffures registered with the patent office and is the sponsor of numerous George pins, George combs and other bric-a-brac needed to keep one's hair out of one's face.

His scientific handling of the turkeys, one of the hardest of fowl to raise, has brought him another small fortune.

Far from being a buffoon or a "screwball" George impresses one as being a gentleman with both feet firmly on the ground and a thorough knowledge of just where he is going.

Everything seems to be in his favor! Even his long hair doesn't hurt as much when it's pulled. He explained it by saying it's more difficult to pull a car with a long tow rope then with a shorter piece of hemp. Could be!

George also proudly announced he was the father of two lovely daughters and happily married. He looked like he was truly on top of the world. I wonder what the name of that bleach was?

(GEORGE TRABANT | Tampa Bay Times)

Original caption: Wrestler's Locks in Pigtails - Georgeous George, famous TV grappler, has his hair set in pin curlers prior to his appearance last night in a wrestling card at Tampa's Ft. Hesterly Armory. George was staying at the Buccaneer Hotel Court on Treasure Island.

Tim Rozgonyi

Twitter: >@timrozgonyi>

e-mail: >[email protected]>

Comments
Colombia-based body shapewear boutique, Sexy Skinz opens second location in South Tampa

Colombia-based body shapewear boutique, Sexy Skinz opens second location in South Tampa

After listening to the needs of men and women desiring and personally desiring to look slimmer without having to exercise, Colombia native, Elizabeth Muñoz spent years designing top-of-the-line body shapewear at her undergarment shop in Colombia...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/24/18
I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

It took me a year and a half to watch Netflix’s To the Bone. The movie, which debuted in January 2017, portrays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman battling anorexia nervosa, and her experience being in and out of various treatment programs. When it w...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/21/18
'Game of Thrones,' 'Mrs. Maisel' and a proposal highlight Emmy Awards

'Game of Thrones,' 'Mrs. Maisel' and a proposal highlight Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES — Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became the first streaming series to win top Emmy comedy honors and HBO's Game of Thrones recaptured the best drama series award Monday at a ceremony that largely slighted its most ethnically di...
Published: 09/18/18
Lens on Pasco wildlife: Park supervisor shares encounters with his pictures

Lens on Pasco wildlife: Park supervisor shares encounters with his pictures

NEW PORT RICHEY — For Mark Berlinger, getting the best shot is a matter of serendipity. Being in the right place. Looking up at the right time. Hearing a rustle and following a notion to take the lens cap off your camera and shoot.Often, the right pl...
Updated one month ago
New Miss America glad she didn’t have to don swimsuit to win

New Miss America glad she didn’t have to don swimsuit to win

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The first woman to win the Miss America crown without having to don a swimsuit says she’s glad she didn’t have to. Nia Imani Franklin, who won the title Sunday night in Atlantic City while competing as Miss New York, said the ch...
Updated one month ago
Judy Garland’s stolen ruby slippers from ‘Wizard of Oz’ are found

Judy Garland’s stolen ruby slippers from ‘Wizard of Oz’ are found

MINNEAPOLIS — Federal authorities say they have recovered a pair of sequined ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz that were stolen from a museum in her northern Minnesota hometown 13 years ago. The slippers were taken from the Judy ...
Updated one month ago
Local Loudmouth Lip Attire founder makes a colorful statement, and you can, too

Local Loudmouth Lip Attire founder makes a colorful statement, and you can, too

TAMPAAmber Parker loves to stand out in a crowd.And with a vivacious personality and a funky personal style, the petite 32-year-old certainly makes a bold impression.So it’s only fitting that her makeup line, Loudmouth Lip Attire, features vibrant an...
Updated one month ago
‘What the hell did you do to my daughter?’ He was accused of a crime he swore he never committed; she believed her 4-year-old

‘What the hell did you do to my daughter?’ He was accused of a crime he swore he never committed; she believed her 4-year-old

ST. PETERSBURGOn the evening of the accusation, before the police came, Austin Holcomb walked to his neighbors’ house to get his son.The boy, who was almost 4, had been playing there all afternoon.The neighbors’ house was a wreck. That Saturday, they...
Updated one month ago
Zephyrhills High rallys to support ‘the greatest kid,’ who’s in a fight for his life

Zephyrhills High rallys to support ‘the greatest kid,’ who’s in a fight for his life

ZEPHYRHILLS There was a swelling of Bulldog Pride as students, many donning orange and black school colors and "I Run For Zack" T-shirts, flocked to the gymnasium for the afternoon pep rally at Zephyrhills High. • The marching band played rousing...
Updated one month ago