“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Mr TV remembered.

return to wrestling
The most highly prized skill for the old time professional wrestler was the ability to work a crowd. To be able to generate emotions ranging from humour to fury by a few simple moves was the mark of a real pro. In the heyday of post-war British wrestling in the 50's and 60's nobody could work a crowd like Jackie Pallo. Born into a boxing family, his father and uncle were well known trainers and seconds, Jack was a useful fighter but at a time when useful fighters could be found no further away than the next dressing room and so he decided to have a go at the mat game. Unlike his cousin Reg who would go on to become a TV boxing commentator, Jackie was denied use of the family name of Gutteridge in such a disreputable career as wrestling but if Reg Gutteridge was to be recognized eventually as one of the most knowledgeable of TV boxing pundits it was Jackie Pallo who would come to be known as Mr TV. How we loved Jack's appearances on the box, especially if he was matched against his arch rival Mick McManus. Pallo was not a skilled wrestler, in fact I think I'm right in saying that he had very little background in competitive wrestling, but when it came to selling himself as a tough, competent grappler who was the archetypal cheeky cockney Jack had no rival. A typical Pallo match would see him in a series of lucky escapes and outrageous rule bending all accompanied by a stream of banter with the crowd.
Toward the end of his career I had the privilege of sharing a dressing room with Jackie Pallo (it's a long story) and amongst the many pearls of wisdom he shared was the following comment on McManus, "Miserable bastard. Lovely worker though." No higher praise could be given to one old pro by another. Jack was also a lovely worker who enlivened many an otherwise dull Saturday afternoon by his appearances on ITV World Of Sport. A great performer in a more innocent age.

1 comment:

Gitane said...

Was it Pallo or McManus who complained about cursing old ladies sticking hat pins in his arse when he was wrestled out of the ring and trying to climb back in?
I remember Pallo taunting the crowd and offering hecklers out. My Gran , in her three roomed flat in Norland Market Shephers Bush, Mackeson in hand screaming "you dirty fucking bastard"; she once burnt a hole in my uncle's shirt because she had left the ironing to scream abuse at the wrestlers on the telly. She died because of high blood pressure complications we were never sure whether it was the wrestling, caring or Mackeson that done for her.