Two things that struck me from last night's viewing:
First would be how good Gorgeous George's angle worked. He drew an amazing reaction from the crowd, not to mention form an audience 50 years in the future. It's impressive how he just seemed to master performing for the crowd and the camera even in the infancy of not just televised wrestling, but television. Archetype hardly does it justice. For those who remember the John Cena v. Kevin Federline match earlier this year, K-Fed's act was a modest replica of George's act, right down to the reluctance to remove the robe.
The second part was during the Buddy Rogers v Pat O'Connor match. Rogers was the egotistical heel and O'Connor the champion. When Rogers got the first pinfall, I was surprised to see a handful of people get up and applaud him, the bad guy. This was the early 60's! This is I love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, and pre-psychedelic Beatles songs! Movies had scarcely begun to portray anti-heroes as people you could root for, people would hardly know the inner workings and back story of the business, and wrestling was still far away from its "sports entertainment" era. Yet there in the front row stood three smart marks giving the heel a standing ovation. This - frankly - amazed me. I had largely thought that going against the pre-determined face/heel alignment was something native only to the most recent decades, when it was more obviously entertainment, you had a growing culture of die-hards, and people were used to rooting for morally ambiguous heroes. But I'm wrong. I guess regardless of the time, people like to root for the better performers.