It was hard to be a child of the ’80s and not encounter “Captain” Lou Albano in some form. He was one of the most charismatic managers in World Wrestling Federation history, appeared in numerous videos with pop star Cyndi Lauper and to a generation of gamers he was Mario in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
Albano died Wednesday (October 14, 2009) at 76, never completely recovering from a 2005 heart attack. During an iconic career that saw him inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Albano managed more than 50 pro wrestlers to more than two dozen world championships. His on-camera antics with Lauper were a major component of the “rock n’ wrestling” connection that made sports entertainment wildly popular.
His portly, mustachioed countenance led to his casting as every gamer’s favorite plumber in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, which had a 52 episode run (Editor’s Note: He even shaved his trademark beard for the role).
At the height of Nintendo’s popularity, the brand had a number of TV show forays including Captain N: The Game Master and a Legend of Zelda cartoon. The live action Mario and Luigi did comedy skits and introduced cartoons based on the Mushroom Kingdom adventures of the duo. They laughed, they did slapstick and they did “The Mario,” which joins the Bartman and the Batusi as one of the best dances based on a fictional character. Ever.
I defy you to watch this Super Mario Bros. video and not have a chuckle. We enjoyed his work because we could see just how much he was enjoying it. Come on paisanos, Do “The Mario.”