Thursday, February 21, 2019

Brian Glover vs Les Kellett in the wrestling ring

Sometimes you don't realise how much you liked a public figure until they die.

I remember being on a walking holiday in the West Country in 1997 when Brian Glover died and borrowing someone's newspaper in the pub so I could read his obituary.

Before he was an actor, Glover was a wrestler and British Wrestlers Reunion explains the genesis of Leon Arras:
At the start of his career Glover took the ring name of Erik Tanberg from Sweden but he was struggling to make any impact and despite his best efforts did not seem to climb the wrestling ladder. Glover having completed his studies as a student proceeded to become a schoolteacher and supplemented his income by wrestling in the evenings. However, fate was about to take a turn that would catapult Glover into the public eye. 
One night whilst appearing on a show a wrestler from France by the name of Leon Arras had not arrived leaving the Promoters with a headache. The solution was to put Glover in the match as Leon Arras, the man from Paris with the promoter saying 'Nobody knows what Arras looks like so they won't know it's not you.' As a result of this Glover made his debut as Leon Arras and the rest is history.
Les Kellett was the absent hero of Simon Garfield's book The Wrestling.

If he doesn't look much of an athlete here, he looked even less of one when I saw him wrestle at the Hemel Hempstead Pavilion in 1972. (I was on World of Sport, sitting in the front row, two weeks running.)

Many of the British wrestlers of those days had been on the circuit since the end of World War II and were looking their age by then.

Anyway, this video is great fun - there are two more parts if you want them - so thanks to Keith Frankish for tweeting it.

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