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Good Riddance, Sábado Gigante

"There were songs. There were silly hats. Confetti and El Chacal, even. But the man of the three-plus hours did not cry," Yvonne Villarreal writes for the Los Angeles Times.

"Mario Kreutzberger, better known under his stage name Don Francisco, closed the decades-long book on Spanish-language mainstay Sábado Gigante with an emotional send-off celebration Saturday night at Univision studios in Miami.

"After 53 years of being a familiar glow - lit up by zany sketches, scantily-clad women, bizarre TV characters such as El Chacal, and Kreutzberger's raucous stage persona - that had been a fixture inside millions of Latino homes on Saturday nights, Sábado Gigante will beam no more."

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From Wikipedia:

"A new episode was produced every week throughout the show's history, with no reruns and only rare pre-emptions due to special programming (most notably by Teletón USA, an annual 24-hour telethon held each December, which Kreutzberger has hosted since its inception in 2012). On April 17, 2015, Univision announced that Sábado Gigante would be cancelled after 53 years, with its final episode (titled Sábado Gigante: Hasta Siempre) airing on September 19, 2015. For the first time during the show's run, the final episode aired live in Chile, Mexico and the U.S."

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From the San Antonio Current:

"For over half a century, tens of millions U.S. and Latin American viewers tuned in each week to watch Don Francisco host the three-hour Univision program. The show features a high-energy mix of music and comedy performances, contests, games, pageants and celebrity guests. At the center of the mayhem is Francisco, a television titan on par with Oprah Winfrey or Johnny Carson.

"Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger - his parents are German-Jewish holocaust survivors - created the show 1962 in his native Chile. The show was first known as Show Dominical and aired on Sundays, before moving to its permanent Saturday home in 1963 where it became a sensation first in Chile then throughout Latin America.

"Though Sábado Gigante has waned in popularity in recent years, the show attracts nearly 2 million viewers each week in the United States and over 40 million viewers each week across Latin America."

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But Aura Bogado writes in the Guardian that "Latinos outgrew Sábado Gigante's racism and misogyny long before it ended."

[C]oupled with a certain willing silence over the show's problematic themes, sketches and host, that melancholy illustrates how Latino misogyny and racism is perpetuated in the US. Sábado Gigante and its host are representative of some of the worst supposed Latino culture, and both should have been rejected ages ago.

This is really the must-read of all Gigante pieces.

To wit:

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And yet:

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on September 22, 2015


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