The Original Mario, Lou Albano, Passes Away


Those who did not grow up in the late ’80s, or at least after Nintendo took over, will probably not realize what Lou Albano gave the gaming industry.

Back when Mario was a mash-up of pixels, Lou Albano gave Mario a face and a voice on Saturday morning. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show ran for one syndicated season, totaling 68 episodes in 1989 to 1991.

In it, Lou Albano played a real world Mario, a lasagna loving Italian plumber. His brother Luigi was played by Danny Wells. They usually had a guest star come visit them at their plumbing shop for painfully pun-filled skits, but it still had a charm. Sound effects from the game would play over the action, adding in that special piece that made it seem to a child that yes, Mario is real. Albano had a charisma that brought Mario to life before digital technology was finally able to give the character a personality inside the game world.

Albano would also have a long pro wrestling career as a manager in the WWF, arguably what most of the pop culture scene will remember him for. Still, for that otherwise small little forgettable cartoon show, Albano made it special. He gave it his all so kids could see one of their heroes on TV. For that, we tip our red hats in honor.

Lou Albano: July 29, 1933 – October 14th, 2009

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