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There Has Never Been A Better Show Than ‘Sabado Gigante’


If God were Hispanic, the first chapter of Genesis would read, “On on the 7th day God created Sabado Gigante.” This perennial Saturday extravaganza–a 5-hour marathon of singing, dancing, and plain old goofiness– has been on air longer than any other Spanish language show in the history of television.

Sabado Gigante is hosted by Chilean ham sandwich Don Francisco (real name: Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld). Don Panchito (that’s what our grandma calls him) started the show in Chile in 1962, and later brought it over to Univision in Miami. The program is the definition of the variety show. A normal episode of the popular show always includes the following: a crazy intro where his fans cheer him on, Don Francisco wearing a crazy hat and mugging for the camera every thirty minutes, a singing competition where contestants are trumpeted off by El Chacal (a grim reaper-like character), and several non-hilarious sketches involving dirty old men and big breasted women in bikinis (as seen in the clip below). Oh yeah, and as a throwback to the way advertising was done in the early days of TV, Don Panchito will shill a bazillion products during the actual program. So, instead of cutting to a commercial for Tide, he’ll have a dancing box of laundry detergent come out and sing the Ultra-Tide song with a gorgeous bombshell.

Filling 5 hours of airtime is no easy feat, especially given people’s limited attention spans. This author’s father was once on Sabado Gigante to talk about the importance of breast cancer screening. His serious message was wedged between a sketch involving a parrot and a slutty zookeeper and a song about Goya rice. If aliens really are monitoring our media, we hope they are watching Sabado Gigante. Hopefully, the weirdness of the show will discourage any invasion plans.

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