THE FABULOUS KANGAROOS
ROY HEFFERNAN & AL COSTELLO W/MGR. WILD RED BERRY
1957 to 1967
The Fabulous Kangaroos tag team was the brainchild of Al Costello who was born in Australia of Italian descent. In 1957 he and ethnic Australian, Roy Heffernan, teamed up to form what became the most unique tag team in wrestling history.
They began the 'Roo's legacy in Canada and then performed in most of the NWA territories in the United States. The 'Roos became the most hated tag team heels in wrestling and literally caused riots whereever they went. In Canada a mob of fans attacked them, and Heffernan and Costello took refuge under the ring. At that point a chant went up, "Smoke them out, smoke them out!" The Canadian fans started burning rubbish and chairs in an effort to "smoke out the 'Roos." Talk about getting heat!
While Heffernan and Costello didn't invent tag team wrestling which has been around since the 1930s, they were responsible for its rapid rise in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. The team which included manager and former wrestler Wild Red Berry, would enter the ring dressed in Australian Army jackets and hats carrying genuine wooden Australian Aborignal boomerangs, a huge banner with the map of Australia. They would walk around the ring tossing cardboard boomerangs to the fans in the stands.
Just before the match Heffernan, Costello, and Berry would grab hands and go through a ritual shifting to the left, right, left and then breaking the circle after working themselves into a frenzy. These guys were great and replaced Eddie and Dr. Jerry Graham as my favorite tag team back in the day!
Tag team wrestling gives the participants a chance to really exploit their imaginations to the fullest regarding the creation of a gimmick. Just throwing two guys together is not what it's all about. There has to be chemistry between the partners or else the whole thing just falls flat.
THE FABULOUS KANGAROOS had that gimmick and that chemistry, and were the classic iconic tag team!
Al Costello was a marketing genius as well as a great wrestler. He was the one who came up with the idea of creating cardboard boomerangs and tossing them to the crowd
From my collection: two cardboard boomerangs - the one on top was from the original team (1957-1967) and the bottom boomerang was used by the second most popular incarnation of the 'Roos - Al Costello and Don Kent (1967-1973. Both are autographed by Al Costello.
From my collection: 1960 large format cardboard poster advertising two tag team matches in the Island Garden arena in NY. All the teams listed had a gimmick and the chemistry. Rogers/Eddie Graham - blond, snarling, heels; Bastien Brothers - cleancut, scientific wrestling brother team; Prince Maiava & Johnny Walker - Samoan gimmick; and The Fabulous Kangaroos!