Gorgeous George — What a Gent!

Portland Oregonian – February 15, 1948
By Grantland Rice

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14 (NANA) — It may be you have never heard of Gorgeous George, the perfumed wrestler who is packing them in, 10,000 at a clip, here.

To make sure you get better acquainted, we dispatched one of the world’s greatest writers to report on the gorgeous one.
The report follows:

“Dear Grant:

“It was my privilege to visit Gorgeous George, the actor, in his dressing room at the Olympic Auditorium recently. I viewed him in brutal but beautiful action in an event called ‘tag wrestlling,’ a kind of grappling which resembles the beachhead at Okinawa.

“After knocking at the dressing room door, I found Gorgeous George disrobing for the night’s rude pleasantries. His valet, Jeffrey, who may have been born at No. 10 Downing  Street, was ministering to him as if the gorgeous one were Oscar Wilde or Beau Brummel. I saw in Gorgeous Geoprge a somewhat stout athlete of perhaps 40 years of age. He is about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs some 15 stone, plus a bit of gravel.

“When I explained to George that I was representing Grantland Rice and desired an interview, his austere manner relaxed momentarily. Her permitted me to shake his hand.

“‘I am charmed,’ said Gorgeous George. ‘I do not read the sports pages,’ he added, ‘because my mind is otherwise culturally employed.’

“George admitted that, during his visits to beauty parlors, he sometimes idly turns the pages of magazines there. As a rule, however, he does not care a Jim Figg for the type of  literature to be found in these salons.

“The beautificians each week groom and marcel Gorgeous George’s extraordinary head of hair. They give him a periodical bleach and appropriate rinses. George sometimes wears bobby-pins. It is said that, on one occasion during a match an opponent plucked one of these bobby-pins from George’s tresses, then jabbed the gorgeous one in a tender place. Mr. George speaks of this as a ‘vulgar stratagem.’

“In appearance, Gorgeous George seems an incarnation of Lord Byron, a photostat of the poet when his lordship was putting on a bit of weight in Venice, just before departing Italy for Greece to fight and succumb on the field of Missolonghi.

“In the dressing room, Gorgeous George’s valet, Jeffrrey, spreads out the splendid habiliments to be worn in the ring. This night it was Gorgeous George’s pleasure to wear green trunks and green socks. He also selected a pair of white kid shoes which were high on the calf, like the old queen quality numbers owned by cotillion belles of Frank Croninshield’s day. Gorgeous George’s dressing gown of that night was a custom-built creation of orchid-colored silk, flamboyantly flowered. When asked if Adrian had made this garment, George replied, ‘No, my friend, it was designed by an eastern couturier.’ Then he added, ‘It contains seven yards of material.’

“I was inviting Gorgeous George to have tea with me, but at that moment an old and valued friend interrupted the niceties of the occasion by peeking into the room with a somewhat skeptical eye. This well-intentioned peeper, Mr. Ed (Strangler) Lewis, seemed amazed to find me, an old Denver commoner, currying favor with my social betters. The Strangler turned sadly to go, and I thought it best to follow after him to explain my ambitions.

“Just before the main event, the Fra Duseks arrived in the ring to the music of boos and catcalls. Next, the partner of Gorgeous George, Gino Garibaldi, heaved upon the scene.

“And now, after a stage wait, Gorgeous George’s man Jeffrey came up the aisle. He was carrying a large silver tray, upon which rested a huge atomizer as well as various jars of unguents and toilet articles. Draped over Jeffrey’s right arm, there was an orchid-colored bath mat and a small prayer rug, the purpose of which was not immediately apparent.

“Jeffrey is a somewhat tall and spare fellow, with the manners of a bored mortician. In public, there is never a smile to be seen beneath the neatly clipped moustache of this gentleman’s gentleman. His movements are slow and precise. Sometimes he wears a derby hat, but this time he appeared bareheaded. Jeffrey had on a valet’s uniform of black, but his waistcoat was a billiard-table green, to match the green trunks and socks of the master. On nights when Gorgeous George wears orchid trunks or Alice blue, the valet’s waistcoat corresponds in the current color scheme of the master.

“The Dusek brothers stood snarling in their own corner. Signor Garibaldi limbered up in the opposite nook. Jeffrey set down his tray on the mat, then spread the bat mat upon which Gorgeous George was to stand. He next put the Oriental rug at a place where his master presumably was to come through the ropes.

“Jeffrey then picked up the atomizer and began to disinfect the entire ring area with a perfumed edition of DDT.

“A lusty murmur arose from the audience as Gorgeous George strode up the aisle. Like a graduate of Sandringham, his feet kept perfect time to the coronation hymn of Queen Victoria. His marceled head arose above the collar of his orchid robe, and his imperial profile was masklike as he marched toward the ring. For a moment I thought that he was about to be ordained as archbishop of Canterbury.

“At the introduction of visiting celebrities, Gorgeous George indifferently examined his manicure. And now Primo Carnera, former pugilistic heavyweight champion of the world, and of more recent date a wrestler by occupation, was formally presented to the crowd. The gigantic Primo shook hands all around, and finally extended his mighty paw as a token of good-fellowship to Gorgeous George.

“The throng was amazed and so was Carnera when Gorgeous George refused to shake hands. Instead, he glanced coldly at Carnera. A look of embarrassment such as never was seen on Carnera’s face except at the time when Max Baer knocked him bowlegged, no possessed the jowls and chops of the snubbed athlete.

“GENE FOWLER.”

This is the best report on a rugged athlete that we have read in many years.

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