Mexico bids farewell to El Chavo del 8
On Sunday November 30th, Mexicans gathered at the Estadio Azteca –one of the largest football stadiums in Mexico City- to bid farewell and pay their respects to an icon of Mexico, a master in the art of comedy and one of the nation’s most charming characters: Roberto Gomez Bolaños, the man responsible for some of the most emblematic characters of Mexico’s pop culture.
Ever since Friday November 28th, Mexico has mourned his death. His memorial service was carried out in Mexico City. Televisa’s Studio 2, the stage where he would broadcast the adventures of El Chapulin Colorado (The Crimson Grasshopper) for over 25 years, became the place where friends and family paid their respects and farewells to Roberto Gomez Bolaños.
To honor this Mexican icon, a huge mass was prepared in the Estadio Azteca. Even though some people weren’t able to get into the memorial, it didn’t stop them from seeing the funeral procession and therefore be able to see him off.
Over 40,000 fans said their goodbyes and celebrated his life with cheers, flowers and music… They gathered and paid their tribute to the genius and iconic Chespirito, Mexico’s little Shakespeare.
His work will never be forgotten, his characters are a reflection of the Latin American society. Even the press in the south of the continent has classified his comic work as a clever way to expose the reality.
Ironic or not, the truth about Chespirito’s work can be found in his life, according to the book Sin Querer Queriendo. His inspiration came from many moments, for example one of his characters, Don Ramon, was based on his mother’s brother, a man that went from job to job and had a very hard time keeping one! Some would say it was his bad luck –if you believe in those things-, nonetheless after having worked as a boxer, jockey, poet, inspector and even politician, he never caught a break and always found himself without a cent!
Everything inspired him! The book also reveals that the character El Chavo was taken from a real kid that once offered to clean his shoes, and started jumping of happiness when Don Roberto paid him more than the kid asked for.
The red color and even the last name of El Chapulin Colorado was a kind of accident. Gomez Bolaños had decided that his new character would be called El Chapulin Justiciero! (The justice Grasshopper) and his costume would obviously be green, but there was a problem with the chroma key, which forced him to change the color of his suit to red and the word justice to crimson.
So as the Chapulin Colorado would say: No Contaban con mi Astucia! (You weren’t counting on my cleverness, were you?, translated in English) Roberto Gomez Bolaños was a true genius that could build strong comic characters –in spite of them all having a tragic story behind them- but he always found a way to project strength, courage and determination in each storyline.
That was Roberto Gomez Bolaños… An incredible writer, director, actor and comedian that will always be remembered as the number one Mexican hero!
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