A: L'ANGE BLANC
L' Ange Blanc
An international star of repute, both with and without the mask. L'Ange Blanc was the original Spanish White Angel who wrestled in Britain in the early sixties. His iconic trademark of white mask, boots and tights made it clear from the outset that here was one of the good guys. An Anglicised version, The White Angel, was based on this original, with both eventually losing and unmasking to their villainous masked nemeses.
In France, where he was billed as South American, L'Ange Blanc was one of the most famous French wrestlers of the 1960s, a man renowned for his breathtaking aerial manoeuvres. His role was to avenge the evil villains of French wrestling, the likes of Robert Duranton, Roger Delaporte and Gilbert Leduc. After his first televised bout against the "Village Butcher" Paul Villard, French television switchboards were jammed with over a thousand callers.
James Morton was one of those who watched the popular masked man on his home turf, "I have always thought that one of the prettiest buildings in Paris is the grey and white circular Cirque d’Hiver (once Cirque Napoléon) in the Marais not far from Republique. It was there that in scenes of hysteria and disbelief the great L’Ange Blanc was defeated by L’Homme Masqué, a man enormously popular, that is enormously hated. I believe there was even a report of the match in the Daily Telegraph which reported women weeping that their hero had been defeated."
Defeat for L'Ange Blanc but certainly not the end. The man who removed the hood was a Spaniard, Francisco Pina Farina. He had been born in Valencia, on 2nd November, 1930. Turning professional, maskless and using the name Francisco Pina, in the early 1950s he worked in Spain for a couple of years before travelling to Brazil.
Wrestling historian Phil Lyons told Heritage that Francisco Pino Farina made his debut in France either in late 1958 or right at the beginning of 1959, having wrestled in Spain, extensively around South America and the United States from his early 1950s debut.
National recognition came in France in 1959 when L'Ange Blanc wrestled a villain in each stopover town of the Tour DeFrance. In celebrity terms L'Ange Blanc, despite his short run of anonymity, was unequalled – even featuring in the pages of Paris Match and promoting numerous products.
In the early 1960s top masked men in British rings were Count Bartelli, The Mask, Black Mask and The Monster. A new figure appeared in 1961, said to be Europe's top masked man. Yes Francisco Pina Farina, previously unmasked, came to Britain with his identity hidden. The plan from the outset was no doubt to enhance our own masked villain, The Mask. On 29th January, 1962, The Mask and L'Ange Blanc clashed at the Queens Hall, Leeds. The identity of Sandy Orford was to remain intact as an injured L'Ange Blanc was forced to ceremoniously unmask and once again reveal the features of Francisco Pina Farina.
The White Angel name continued with Judo Al Hayes taking on the persona to feud with Doctor Death followed by numerous others that included Tony Cassio, Bob Kirkwood, Dave Larsen, Ian Glasper, Bob Taylor, Gypsy Joe Smith, Len Hurst and no doubt a few others.
Page added 23/01/2022