October 26, 2012
Posted by orrinj at 5:07 AM
'Sábado Gigante' Celebrates 50 With Lots Of Variety (MANDALIT DEL BARCO, October 26, 2012, NPR)
For half a century, Sábado Gigante has been a raucous romp, with hours and hours of musical guests and dancers. It's a variety show; it's a talk show; it's a game show. Think Price Is Right meets American Idol meets The Gong Show. Francisco has his regular sidekicks, like "La Cuatro," who gets slapped for being naughty and sings very badly, and a masked character known as "El Chacal," the jackal. Whenever there's a really awful singer, he blows his trumpet and gets the audience to boo.The show includes cheesy skits and corny audience sing-alongs, and the risque "Miss Colita" contest, with close-up shots of women dancing around in string bikinis.A younger generation of Sábado Gigante fans say they grew up watching the show with their families. At a street festival in Whittier, east of Los Angeles, Ray Marquez, 33, says he still tries to sneak a peek when his wife isn't looking."I love that show, even though I don't speak Spanish," he says with a laugh. "It's the women. ... Those dances where they had 15 girls dancing at the same time. Sorry ... I'm a dude."
When we were kids, NYC used to get two Spanish-language stations, channel 41 and channel 47. We watched four shows--The Thunderbirds, the bull fights, Sabado Gigante, and El Show de Iris Chacon. Likewise, all because we were male.