A 21 Face-Rubber Band Salute

You actually have to pull the face-rubber bands while they’re on your face to properly (and respectfully) launch them.

A lot of you are too young to remember Captain Lou Albano, but to us children of the late 70’s and early 80’s he was a pop-culture fixture. The 1980’s stood in such stark contrast to the 2000’s in that a big, fat, hairy, sweaty dude with rubber bands stuck to his face could be a pop icon. It’s not like Captain Lou has constantly been on my mind for the last 25 years, but his recent passing unlocked a flood of memories of being 8 years old and him being EVERYWHERE. He was freakin’ MARIO for Toad’s sake. The Super Mario Super Show seemed less like a scripted children’s show and more like a late night public access affair (but with a MUCH lower budget). Captain Lou portrayed what seemed to be a pre or post mushroom kingdom Mario that lived and worked as a plumber in a big city (presumably New York) with his brother-in-overalls Luigi. I lean towards “pre “because he wasn’t constantly waking from night terrors shivering and screaming about carnivorous fungi and flame belching, man-sized lizard people. In between Mario’s Earthbound hijinks, they would show Super Mario Bros. cartoons that seemed to be set in the universe of Super Mario Bros. 2. It was never clear how the cartoons and the live-action show were supposed to be related but 8 year olds typically don’t ask those sort of questions. We just watched the show, ate our Ninja Turtles cereal and occasionally did “The Mario” for hours on end.

In remembering how Captain Lou affected my childhood, I would be remiss to leave out Hulk Hogan’s Rock N’ Wrestling cartoon. Captain Lou didn’t actually voice himself in this short-lived animated ridiculousness (neither did any of the other WWF wrestlers for that matter) but I absolutely LOVED this show. The idea that all of my favorite wrestlers were driving around in giant Cadillacs and monster trucks and having adventures and doing good deeds appealed to my… gullibility.

So, rest easy Captain Lou. I don’t know if you were a great man, or even a good one but you entertained me as a child and for that I am grateful.