The above clip was posted here a while ago to commemorate Captain Lou Albano’s 76th birthday. Sadly, that’s the last one he’ll celebrate, as the legendary wrester, heel manager and Col. Tom to NRBQ‘s Elvis shuffled off this mortal coil yesterday. “People may remember him from the Cyndi Lauper videos and Super Mario television show,” eulogized The Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer, “but he was the key manager in the (WWF) promotion and was very often as important as anyone in some of the big crowds the company drew.”

During the period after Bruno Sammartino stopped being a regular, there are people within the organization who felt the heat Albano brought as manger of the top heels was the biggest factor in drawing crowds during the Bob Backlund run. Albano generally was put with the nutty types of contenders, and almost always with the tag team champions.

He would dress like his proteges to a degree, and eventually became known for the rubber bands all over his face. He was a major part of the wheel of success for Vince McMahon Sr., far more important than anyone who didn’t closely follow the promotion would be able to understand. Albano was the key component in making Jimmy Snuka into the hottest wrestler in that part of the country when the two split up and Snuka went babyface.