‘Sabado Gigante’ To End Record 53-Year Run On Television

Sabado Gigante, the venerable television show that has been on air for 53 years, will sign off this year.

According to Miami Herald, Sabado Gigante (or Gigantic Saturday) offers a series of skits, jokes, sing-alongs for commercials, music and interviews. Hosted by Don Francisco, the three-hour weekly show was a staple for many families, both in Central America and the spanish-speaking United States.

Sabado Gigante is currently seen in 42 countries in the Americas and Europe. Sabado Gigante is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running television show, now at 2,600 weeks. Don Francisco has been there for all but one episode, in 1974 after his mother had passed away.

Don Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, was a child of Jewish parents who fled Nazi Germany to safety in Chile. He first saw television at 19, and knew that was what he wanted to do with his life. He became a stand-up comedian, and worked his way into the television spotlight. His claim to fame is giving the viewers what they want. He has included reuniting long-lost family members and a “kids say the darnedest things” segment. He also added a social media anchor to accomodate Facebook and Twitter users who watch Sabado Gigante.

Don Francisco has also started a yearly benefit, raising money for disabled children. The event has raised tens of millions of dollars annually.

NBC is reporting that Don Francisco, 75, will stay on the Univision network, doing specials and continuing his charity fundraiser event. His ability to allow the audience to participate, while his interviewing ability with both entertainers and politicians made both interviewer and viewer comfortable. His greatest gift perhaps, would be longevity, staying at Sabado Gigante for over five decades.

Many are remembering parts of Sabado Gigante, such as “El Chacal De La Trompeta.” Six people were selected from the studio audience for a karaoke-style competition. Some singers, however, wouldn’t even get one note out when El Chacal, the judge, would trumpet their exit. Another segment, “Los Ninos De Sabado Gigante,” is a segment where Don Francisco would be surrounded by children, and would be asked questions. Some were hilarious, some poignant, some elicited powerful emotions.

Another segment, “El Detector De Mentiras,” introduced lie detector runner Joe Harper, asking subjects in broken spanish to answer questions about alleged infidelities, creating some rather tense, and sometimes funny, situations. And, who can forget the beautiful models working alongside Don Francisco on Sabado Gigante. Women like Lily Estefan, Rachel Diaz, Sissi Fleitas, and Claudia Molina would add a touch of beauty to the show. Most of the models went on to host their own shows, or become staples in the entertainment industry.

The last Sabado Gigante is scheduled for September 19 of this year.

[Image courtesy of Just Jared]