Saturday, November 11, 2017

RIP Chiquito de la Calzada

The humorist Chiquito de la Calzada dies in Málaga at 85

Cantaor for half a century, Gregorio Sánchez achieved enormous popularity thanks to a program of jokes on television

El País
By Manuel Morales
November 11, 2017

The humorist Gregorio Esteban Sánchez Fernández, better known as Chiquito de la Calzada, died early this Saturday at age 85 in Malaga, Efe health sources have been informed by the Regional Hospital of Malaga, after being subjected to a cardiac catheterization on Friday. Chiquito de la Calzada had suffered an angina that motivated his admission two weeks ago.

Decades before Chiquito de la Calzada popularized, in the summer of 1994, with 62 years, discarding expressions like "¡Fistro!", "Pecador de la pradera", "¿Da da da Cuen?" Or "Jaarl" ... in their interventions in the television program Genius and figure, Antena 3, Gregorio Sanchez (Malaga, 1932) was a day laborer of cante jondo that had started in the tablaos with eight years (hence the Chiquito). Fernández was born "after the pain", as he used to say, in an area of ​​the city of Málaga called La Calzada de la Trinidad. Son of an electrician, he was the second of three brothers. Chiquito went on, "with many fatiguitas", at the time when the flamenco paintings gave taste to the Andalusian gentlemen in endless nights of revelry. He came to accompany Camarón de palmero and as a cantaor he performed in some of the main theaters in Madrid. He played bolos abroad, even in Japan, where he lived for two years accompanying flamenco figures. "I had a very bad time," he had declared. "I slept with a knife because once my wallet was stolen, and it was very expensive, a loaf of bread cost like a filling", had the same grace that showed on the sets.

However, it had to be television that catapulted him to fame in Genio and figure. It was the producer and director Tomás Summers who discovered it during a meal in which he heard someone else telling jokes at another table without stopping. Chiquito de la Calzada starred in funny performances in which joking joke after joke as he walked taking long steps and jumping from one side of the stage to the other. His movements, guttural sounds and difficult-to-understand word games caught the spectators. A comic that was more in how he told the jokes, stretched to the extreme. The viewers loved that phenomenon with a nice face, bald and with long sideburns, that shed a style between the surreal and the casposo. Immediately many imitators came to him, in public and in private, including King Juan Carlos, as he assured in an interview. He admired Cantinflas, who liked "how he moved the culillo," he said. In his staging, Chiquito pulled a lot of improvisation. His sayings and jokes came to mind while walking and spoke only in the mornings in his house on the seafront of Malaga. Then he wrote down in a small notebook those phrases that served him as the start of his gags.

Months after the ball of Genius and figure, which in a broadcast came to gather five million viewers, a video was released with his best jokes that generated three million euros in sales. The showman Andreu Buenafuente stressed that, "after the freak moment, came the love and respect for Chiquito." It was what is often called a sociological phenomenon, which he experienced as "a wonderful experience," he said. "It has given me in a very short time the fame that the scenarios denied me in 50 years".


At the gallop of that popularity, Chiquito participated in radio programs, was town crier and multiplied in galas and performances in town and private parties. Beyond the stage, Chiquito would sneak into any friends meeting with a desire for fun, in which they would tell their jokes: "I have eaten a sirloin harder than the wonder bra of the Lady of Elche". So, he got the offer to make movies. In 1996, he starred in the infumable but successful Aquí llega Condemor, by Álvaro Sáenz de Heredia, set in the West. With the same director he repeated the following year in Brácula: Condemor II and Papá Piquillo (1998). Later he made cameos in Franky Banderas (2004), by José Luis García Sánchez, and El oro de Moscú (2003), by Jesús Bonilla; He also participated in Torrente 5 (2014), by Santiago Segura, another of his followers.

In addition to entertainment programs, on television he was seen in the series Señor alcalde (1998), by Telecinco, and ¡Ala ... Dina !, by TVE, broadcast in 2000. Although, as a curiosity, his first and very brief presence television was a palmero in an episode of the popular American series Vacations in the Sea (The Love Boat), in 1985.

Chiquito, who had been retired for years, lived alone and saddened since, in March 2012, his wife, Josefa García Gómez, had died with whom he had been for more than 50 years. "Pepita was my feet and my hands, it was everything, I lost everything," he confessed excitedly. The marriage did not have children.

On October 14, he was admitted to the Regional Hospital of Malaga, after being rescued by firefighters, who had entered his home, alerted by the family, who coul not locate him. The humorist was on the floor unable to move because of a fall. In a Twitter account attributed to the comedian, he published that he had "a little bump on his head, but things look good". After receiving discharge, he relapsed two weeks later for an angina pectoris, until his death, which occurred this Saturday. With Chiquito de la Calzada and his white and popular humor a man leaves for whom the important thing was "Make you happy!".

de la CALZADA, Chiquito (Gregorio Esteban Sánchez Fernández)
Born: 5/28//1932, Málaga, Málaga, Andalucía, Spain
Died: 11/11/2017, Málaga, Málaga Spain

Chiquito de la Calzada’s western – actor:
Here Comes Condemor (The Sinner of the Plains) – 1996 (Condemor)

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