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Palomar Observatory

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bruno

Bruno Sammartino
When I first heard that Bruno Sammartino had died, for a brief second I thought about calling my late brother Buzz, which is of course, impossible.

He would surely have been bummed.

You see, our childhood was punctuated by figure four leglocks and scorpions and flying leaps off the couch directed at the unsuspecting.

We missed the fifties golden era of Gorgeous George and the like but Bruno was in full swing when we were kids in the mid sixties as was Mil Mascaras, Pedro Morales, the Funks and a host of other colorful characters.

There were no light shows and stupid uniforms, no dumb music, it was pretty visually tame by today's gaudy standards but there was a pure verité and honesty that is frankly missing today. The wrestling may not have been real but at least it looked real and it was certainly more technically authentic.

And you had Mike and Gene Lebell running the show, the latter truly being a martial arts legend and one of the baddest men on the planet.

Tolos and Blassie
Our favorite wrestlers were definitely the Golden Greek John Tolos and Freddie Blassie, who liked to rail against the pencil necked geeks. Mom took us to the Olympic auditorium on more than one occasion to see them.

Guess she wasn't such a bad mom after all. And also took us to see Ralphie Valaderes and our beloved L.A T-Birds, with their lyrically challenged fight song, go go go.

Bruno Sammartino was always around, always the clean, honest and decent sort, a giant of a man, never seemed to be sullied by the genuinely despicable Vince McMahon Jr.. He never looked like he bought in to the travesty that wrestling morphed into in the McMahon era.

End of an era.

Speaking of Blassie, he cut this record illustrated by my pal, the late, great Rick Griffin.

And as I was hunting around for it, I forgot that it had been produced by my other old friend, uber collector and pope of all things kool, Glen Bray. Glen was always ten steps ahead of the pack. Classic record.

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