Moline Daily Dispatch – January 21, 1950
By Jim Dix
(ED. NOTE – Feeling itself inadequate to deal with the thespian elegancies of the Gorgeous George show at Wharton Fieldhouse last night, the sports department called upon the Dispatch drama critic, Jim Dix, to do the reporting.)
One thing may be said in praise of the drama (see footnote No. 1) at Wharton Fieldhouse last night. The timing was perfect. It started out on a dramaturgically correct minor key (see footnote 2), setting the mood for the coming of the star, and then, at exactly the right moment, the star appeared, like a disdainful Caesar, come to intimidate the Roman senate.
First appeared the straight man, an earnest, brown-haired young fellow named George Temple. Unaccompanied, he went on stage – that is to say, the ring in the center of the basketball floor – walked to his corner like little Jack Horner and stood there mum – a well executed piece of business but a relatively easy one in that it didn’t require any memorizing of lines.
Second to show was a little man with a bald head and mustache, dressing in morning coat and trousers, black tie and green vest.
He was bottle-bearer to the star. After laying out a yellow towel and blue mat, he, with spray gun in hand, proceeded to wet down the surroundings with cologne – a sensible precaution. It turned out, in view of the slightly different olfactory nature of what was to transpire, and a service to the public regrettably lacking at certain theatrical presentations.
Channel Cat No. 5, I believe it was.
Finally, at precisely 9:38 p.m. while the atmosphere swelled with organ music and smelled like clover and some other cash grain crop, in came The Presence.
Gorgeous George had made his entry. Entry? Ah, no, his manifestation.
Most of the 3,600 citizens present stood up to see him come down the northwest passageway, bowing his marcelled locks (a Moline-produced coiffure) to the balcony and sashaying saucily to the ring like a prize bull that has just eaten the farmer.
Inside the ropes, he bowed again, from the hips, whereupon his batboy ministered to his toilet.
At this point, it was time for that scantily clad girl to walk across the stage, followed by that lecherous-eyed old man. But somebody, possibly the Quad City Blackhawks management, who produced the show, had neglectfully overlooked this bit.
So next the three principal performers, Mr. Temple, whose sister Shirley also acts; Gorgeous, and a master of ceremonies, one Ed Whalen of Chicago, displaying remarkable artistic discipline in keeping straight faces, met at the center of the ring. This as to allow Mr. Whalen to search the other two for concealed gats, or something.
Whatever the purpose, G.G., clutching his black, gold-spangled, yellow-lined toga about him, would not let the emcee lay a hand on him. His line, exquisitely delivered and, as all good lines are, surely audible in the back row, was:
“Keep your filthy hands off me.”
The fertile creator of the snappy dialog remains modestly unidentified in the program.
Pretty soon, Straight Man George and Gorgeous George went into their song and dance, and during the next half hour, at quiet moments, you could hear Farmer Burns turning in the grave.
(That would be a sensational gimmick to work into the act, come to think of it.)
From 9:55 to 10:10, Gorgeous and Not Gorgeous were doing the samba (perhaps it was the maxixe – I’m a little hazy on the dance) or were on the mat executing what appeared to be a horizontal t;erpsichorean interpretation of les crappes. For these episodes the M.C. got down there with them, calling out numbers from time to time, symbolizing, probably, the tragic fate of man, crapping out every time with a two or a three.
At 10:10, time enough for Gorgeous’ retainer to have changed costume, they stopped a while to rest, G.G. having pinned his partner with a toe hold in 15 minutes, 10 seconds. Enter valet, in green sweater, and with smellsalts. Exit valet.
In the second scene, I am saddened to relate, Gorgeous let his role get away from him. He ran the gamut (good word; like to work it into my critiques wherever I can) from tortured pain, to stormy anger, to injured innocence, and, in a burst to histrionic heights, screamed “No! No! No!” while Mr. Temple broke his leg.
All of these bits had possibilities, but they were slightly over-done. Gorgeous should remember Hamlet’s dictum to The Players: “Oh, it offens me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags . . . ” All high-class drama, and all high-class reviews, should bear due reference to Shakespeare.
After 3 minutes, 18 seconds, Mr. Temple leaps into the air, kicks up his heels, and almost boots Gorgeous in the mouth. Gorgeous staggers, Gorgeous falls to his knees, Gorgeous collapses on the canvas – a direct steal from the demise of Don Jose in the last act of Carmen, only this one was accomplished by a kangaroo kick and body twist, an angle Bizet never thought of.
That makes a horse on Gorgeous. Tied up.
Enter caddie with mirror. Examining of teeth to see if any are missing. Exit caddie.
Gorgeous George has a fresh approach. As he dispatches the other George practically to death’s door with mighty body slams, excruciating wrist locks and mortifying double-action, dyna-flow (half gainers with a left-hand thread and two dips of ice cream, he barks just like a dog.
He goes: “Grrf. Grrf.”
And George Temple now gets some dialog.
He bleats like a sheep while Big Bo Beep fractures the knuckles of his left hand, one by one.
Gorgeous George holds George Temple still with a body press, at 9 minutes 35 seconds.
Gorgeous George becomes world champion of Wharton Fieldhouse. Make that the middle of the basketball floor at Wharton Fieldhouse.
FOOTNOTES: (No. 1) – Drama is the generic term. Wrestling was the particular form in question, catch-as-catch-can wrestling, by which term It is not to be assumed that the participants catch only cans, but also noses, fingers, hair, anything handy.
(No. 2) There were two preliminaries to Gorgeous George. Howard Cantonwine of Los Angeles beat Carlos Rodriguez of Mexico City, a substitute for Rudy Kay of Chicago, with a body slam in 12 minutes, 30 seconds of a scheduled 30-minute bout. Billy Goelz of Chicago won over Bill Parks of Montreal, two out of three in a scheduled one-hour fight: first fall, Goelz, wristlock, 17:54; second, Parks, reverse double leg Nelson, 11:58; third, Goelz, reverse left Nelson, 10:51.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Our critic was seen going home at 1:55:18 a.m. with a hammer lock on himself, and hasn’t been seen at the office all day.