You youngsters might know him better as Mario, but if you were at a formative age in 1983, when Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was more played than Atari, then you probably first saw professional wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano as Cyndi’s swarthy father in the song’s music video. When Captain Lou objects to his girl’s hedonistic ambitions, Cyndi punishes dad with a deadly chicken wing maneuver, then goes on having weird-haired fun. From there, the Legend of Lou continued to grow with each rubber band face piercing. I like to think Lou’s legend is still growing, some six years after floating off to that very crowded, squared circle in the sky. Hopefully these essential facts, which we present for no timely reason whatsoever, will help keep Lou’s great name aloft so he can continue to be a guiding light for future generations.
Captain Lou Was Someone Before Cyndi
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” put Captain Lou in front of the MTV crowd, but anyone who watched professional wrestling knew that Lou was a spittin’, stompin’, cussin’ force of nature long before that. He was a pro himself, who broke into the biz in 1953 as pretty boy, baby face, Leaping Lou Albano. He turned increasingly towards the bad guy side, particularly as a member of the tag-team duo The Sicilians, and on his own, even against the great Bruno Sammartino. But Lou’s mark would be made as a leader of men. Captain Lou managed no less than four singles champs, and 15 different duos to WWE World Tag Team belts. The British Bulldogs would have been Yorkies without Lou. The Wild Samoans, tame. The Valiant Brothers, unprincely.
This Song Exists
It’s pandemonium, I know, but NRBQ, a beloved cult band going on its 50th year in business, penned this ode to their manager, Captain Lou. Visionaries that they are, NRBQ saw Lou’s wrestling managerial skills and realized he could easily take that same kind of hustle and bravado to the record game. In honor of such, the NRBQ lads penned this miraculous number about Lou, who intros and outros the song in maniacal fits of self-proclamations and percentages while referring to himself as the “guiding light” and “a bitch on ball bearings, brother, a motherf***er on wheels.” I’m just glad I found this one early on in my writing, so as to provide the perfect soundtrack for such an important list. That’s right, I’m a method writer. And I’m no longer buttoning my shirt.
Rock ‘N’ Wrestling
Captain Lou was a big, fat reason wrestling blew up to become the pop culture crossover phenom of the mid-’80s, back when pile-driving was a fad. The MTV masses ate up the Captain’s critically acclaimed turn in Lauper’s video, just like her manager and boyfriend David Wolff predicted. After the video’s success, Wolff saw dollar signs. He wrangled a multi-year storyline that found Captain Lou doing cameos in two more videos — “Time After Time” and “She Bop.” It also found Lauper working in Captain Lou’s medium. Wolff orchestrated a legit wrestling feud, which could only be settled by Lauper’s charge, Wendi Richter, wrestling Captain Lou’s girl, the Fabulous Moolah. Lou and Wolff both deserve a huge amount of credit for the popularity of professional wrestling, but what did they get for their effort? Lou got a gold record to the head, and Wolff got body slammed so hard by Rowdy Roddy Piper, it nearly broke his back.