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Jackie "Mr TV" Pallo (born Jack Ernest Gutteridge; 12 January 1926 – 11 February 2006) was an English professional wrestler, a star of British televised wrestling in its 1960s and 1970s heyday, when the sport had a regular 40-minute slot before the Saturday afternoon football results on ITV.
The Islington-born Gutteridge was billed from Highbury, North London and was regarded as one of the first stars of British professional wrestling. During his career, his most famous rivalry was an 11-year-long battle with perhaps the greatest villain in British wrestling history, Mick McManus. At the height of the feud Pallo and McManus drew a record TV audience of 22 million. In 1973, Pallo made two unsuccessful attempts to beat McManus for the European Middleweight Championship.
Pallo was a risk-taking athlete on the one hand but pushed credibility to the limits at other times owing to his over-the-top cockiness. Fans rejoiced in his sit-on back breaker and arm lever, his aeroplane spin, and his cross-shoulder backbreaker. Pallo's star was further affirmed when a 1964 date in Bishop's Stortford sold out in only 3 hours. His sole major accolade during his career was a short 1969 run as the British Heavy Middleweight Champion, having defeated Bert Royal on 21 April before dropping the title back to Royal the following month. His feud with McManus was featured in the 2012 BBC documentary When Wrestling Was Golden: Grapples, Grunts and Grannies.
Even before the publication of his 1985 autobiography "You Grunt, I'll Groan" (ISBN 0-7088-3228-8), where he revealed the secrets of the wrestling entertainment business (including referees carrying razor blades to nick fighters' earlobes in order to produce the necessary blood to satisfy the bloodlust of the frenzied crowd of mostly elderly women – Pallo preferred to bite his lip to produce the same effect) crowds argued about whether wrestling bouts were staged or not. "Of course it was, it was pure showbiz right from the start", Pallo wrote in his autobiography.
Away from wrestling
Apart from wrestling, Pallo also had a mainstream show business career – appearing in pantomime with celebrities such as Lionel Blair and Dick Emery. He also appeared in episodes of The Avengers and Are You Being Served?. Playing a gravedigger in an episode of The Avengers, he was accidentally knocked unconscious during a fight with Honor Blackman's judo champion character, Cathy Gale – striking his head as he fell into the grave. "I want it to be made perfectly clear that this was an accident ... I have never been beaten by a woman and never intend to be", Pallo said afterward.
Personal life and death
Pallo died from cancer, aged 80, and is survived by his wife Georgina and his son Jackie Jr, himself a former wrestler and frequent tag team partner of Pallo under the teamname Pallo and Son. He was a first cousin of TV sports commentator Reg Gutteridge.
Championships and accomplishments
- "The Golden Age of Grunt'n'Groan", The Independent, 18 February 2006
- Interview with Dukes of Stratosphere drummer EIEI Owen, who reveals that the song Have You Seen Jackie was inspired by Pallo, optimismsflames.com; accessed 10 November 2014.