Two passings to report in the FPU wheelhouse.
German Robles, the definitive Mexican vampire, passed away on Friday. His work in the “Vampiro” and “Nostradamus” films was said to have influenced Christopher Lee’s later genre work. Robles was not only a staple of Golden Age Mexican horror, appearing in The Brainiac, Castle of Monsters and The Living Head among other non-bloodsucker flicks, he was a prolific voice-over actor for Spanish dubbing of American media — providing voices in Mexican syndications of MASH and most notably the voice of KITT on Knight Rider.
Robles remains one of the most recognizable and iconic figures of Mexican horror, being the first Mexican star featured on the cover of an American genre magazine. Ken Kelley’s oft-imitated portrait of Robles for Famous Monsters is below, alongside the publicity still from El Vampiro that inspired it.
Another passing hits us more close to home. News of the sudden, unexpected death of Southern California indie ring high-flyer James “Rising Son” Itow came the way the worst of news reaches us in this day and age — unsubstantiated posts on social media. The hours one spends hoping the reports are just more internet bullshit end with the heartbreak of confirmation, in this case responses from family. We had indeed lost a staple superstar of early-2000s SoCal wrestling.
I moved to L.A. in 2000, one significant reason being access to local lucha libre and a burgeoning indie circuit. I was immediately drawn to the phenom that was Revolution Pro, having been an avid follower of Japan’s Michinoku Pro. I immediately ‘got’ the fusion of lucha and Japanese ‘strong style’ they were doing, and kids like Rising Son and Super Dragon were adding some jaw dropping high flying like I’d never seen.
I didn’t know Son well, but we co-presented some imported ring flavor at the Cinema Wasteland convention in Cleveland one year, and he wowed that crowd with personality and footage alone. As testament to the talent that was there, and memorial to the man we’ve lost, check out one of those jaw dropping matches below.