Phillipe and Jorge’s movie of the week has to be Andre the Giant, now running on HBO stations. Andre Roussimoff was the famously huge French wrestler who became a cult figure and huge draw in the wrestling world (and The Princess Bride) in the 1980s, but who eventually fell victim to the gigantism that saw him reach over 7 feet tall and 400 pounds.
Phillipe actually had a chance to interview Andre the Giant when he came to wrestle at the old Rocky Hill Fairgrounds in East Greenwich, a time when P was doing his sports column, “On the Ball and Off the Wall.” This was back before the glitz, light shows, blaring rock music and packed arenas arrived with the WWF and “Wrestlemania,” and even the biggest stars regularly did barnstorming tours to such glamorous sites as Rocky Hill. On this occasion he was headlining along with the legendary Fabulous Moolah, who, while a pioneer in women’s wrestling, had to be in her 40s at the time. But she, like Andre, could put asses in seats.
At any rate, in a scene resembling something out of a Marx Brothers movie, P ended up crammed into a single-wide trailer that was like a hothouse along with the massive Andre, Moolah and another wrestler, Pat Patterson, who spent the entire time of P’s interviews with Andre and Moolah bumming cigarettes off of him. But Andre was a gentle giant — pardon the cliché — and was sucking down beers and politely answering questions, until P asked about the matches being scripted, and did he enjoy the theater aspect? At this, Andre glared down at him (and P is 6’3” on his own) and said, “There is nothing funny about wrestling.” This signaled the end of the interview, but Moolah graciously said we could do her interview outside.
Andre went on to do some acting jobs in Hollywood (The Princess Bride, notably), but his body was breaking down due to the gigantism and he died at age 47 when his heart gave out. But the documentary provides an incredible look at an amazing man.
The bad taste bell started ringing at Casa Diablo as soon as the special NFL draft double issue of Sports Illustrated came through the mail slot recently.
On the cover was a photo of a shirtless Penn State star running back Saquon Barkley, augmented by a photo inside of Barkley leaping with a football wearing only football pants and cleats. Sort of like SI’s version of their notorious swimsuit issue, but this for the ladies and the superior behavior crowd. Barkley deserved the exposure, so to speak, as he was the second overall pick in the eventual draft a week later.
But it seemed a bit offensive to have a Penn State player a-flexing and a-swinging in a national magazine given Penn State’s recent horrific sex scandal regarding assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s having abused and raped young men at PSU, which was shamefully covered up for years. That led to time in prison for him, and the cover-up cost previously revered head coach Joe Paterno his job and his legacy. We hope Sandusky isn’t allowed Sports Illustrated while in chokey.
How any editor at SI could be that clueless and tone deaf about this layout boggles the mind. But that’s why they call sports the toy section at newspapers.
So New York developer Jason Fanes’ hideous proposed 46-story residential tower on the old I-195 land next to the Providence River is going to be Our Little Towne’s Eiffel Tower? Not bloody likely, and P & J can’t believe he had the audacity to claim that at a recent public hearing. Might P & J suggest Eyeful Tower? Or even better, Awful Tower? Then again, selling any blind pig in La Prov always will have takers.