Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Paquito Cordero, Puertorrican TV Pioneer, 1932-2009

We have been informed of death of another of our pioneers of the golden age of Puertorrican TV.

Francisco Cordero Baez, also known as Paquito Cordero, a tv comedian turned successful producer died today in San Juan, he was 73.
Cordero was born to Don Paco and Doña Berta Cordero in Santurce, Puerto Rico). Cordero attended Santurce Central High School upon finishing his primary and secondary education. He was a member of his high school's drama club and participated in its plays, where he discovered the art of comedy. Cordero was geatly influenced by his aunt on his father's side, Mapy Cortés. Mapy Cortés had moved to Mexico from Puerto Rico, where she became an actress. There she met and married Mexican actor, "Fernando Cortés". After Cordero graduated from high school, he enrolled and attended the University of Puerto Rico and married his childhood sweetheart, a hairdresser whom everyone knew as "Cuqui". With Cuqui he had three children, two girls and one boy.

Cordero auditioned for a role in a comedy skit which was transmitted through Radio El Mundo and was subsequently hired. He did this in his spare time. His aunt Mapy and her husband Fernando returned to the island and presented an idea for a comedy show to Mr. Angel Ramos, owner of El Mundo Enterprises. On March 28, 1954, Puerto Rico received its first television transmission from Angel Ramos' WKAQ-TV Telemundo Channel 2. Among the first comedy shows to go on the air was "Mapy Y Papi" with Mapy and Fernando Cortés, María Judith Franco and Paquito Cordero.

In order for Paquito to get "into" character, he had to smear black makeup on his face and hands. During this period in his life, he fell in love with one of the show's dancers, a young girl by the name of Nora. He soon divorced his first wife and asked Nora to marry him. She accepted and together they had a son, Santiago. Paquito and Nora remained happily married.

In the 1960s, Cordero formed his own production company which he named Paquito Cordero Productions, Inc. His younger sister, Bertita, became his assistant and eventually his younger brother, Jorge, would also join the company as a future co-producer. On January 11, 1965, Telemundo transmitted the first program produced by Paquito called "El Show de las 12" (The 12 O'Clock Show). The first show included appearances by El Gran Combo, Tito Lara, Los Hispanos, and Olga y Tony. It also included a section within the show, dedicated to the teenage crowd, called "Canta la Juventud" (Youth Sings). Among those taking part in this section were Alfred D. Herger and Puerto Rican teen idols Lucecita Benítez and Chucho Avellanet. "El Show de Las 12" was presented by Miguel Ángel Álvarez and Eddie Miró was the scriptwriter. The show was a success and was watched by over 80% of the population, becoming one of Puerto Rico's most beloved programs for over 40 years.

Cordero also produced the following shows which were popular in Puerto Rico:
"El Show de las 12" with "Los Alegres Tres", Silvia, Chapuseaux y Damiron with Clarissa, Militza and Mary Stull.
"El Show Sultana", with "Los Hispanos", and Tito Lara
"2 a Go Go", with "Julio Angel" & "Tammy"
"Walter, las Estrellas Y Usted" (Walter, the Stars and You), with Walter Mercado
"Mi Hippie Me Encanta" (I love my hippie) with Luis Antonio Rivera: Yoyo Boing, Rosita Velazquez, Johanna Ferrán and Myrna de Casenave
"En Broma y en Serio" (Joking and Seriously), with Lou Briel, and Dagmar
"Su Estrella Favorita" (Your Favorite Star)
"El Show de Chucho", (Chucho's Show), with Chucho Avellanet"
"En Casa de Juanma y Wiwi", (In Juanma & Wiwis' Home), with Awilda Carbia, and Juan Manuel Lebron
"Estudio Alegre & Musicomedia", (Cheerful Studio & Musicomedy), with Otilio Warrington, Awilda Carbia, and Juan Manuel Lebron
"La Gente Joven de Menudo/Menudomania"
"Los Kakucómicos", with Adalberto Rodriguez, Machuchal, and Shorty Castro, among many others
"La Pensión de Doña Tere", (Lady Tere's Guesthouse), with Norma Candal, and
"Noche de Gala", (Gala Night Ball), with Eddie Miró, and in different periods of time co-hosted by, Marisol Malaret, Deborah Carthy-Deu, "Marilyn Pupo" and "Gilda Haddock".
On April 14, 1983, Telemundo was sold to John Blair and Co. and finally, in 2004 became part of the NBC Universal network. This led to many changes and one of the changes was the substitution of locally produced programs with programs produced in other countries such as Mexico.
On May 6, 2004, television producers Paquito Cordero and Tommy Muñiz received a special recognition on behalf of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico as part of the celebration of the 50 years of uninterrupted transmisión on the Telemundo and Televicentro channels.

On February 25, 2005, Telemundo canceled Paquito Cordero's "El Show de las 12", the longest running television show in Puerto Rico. Telemundo no longer transmits locally produced television programs and thus, is no longer a source of income to the local artistic class.
On the last airing of the show, Eddie Miró took the microphone and said these words:
"Señoras y Señores..., "El Show de las 12" ha muerto"
("Ladies and Gentlemen..., "The 12 O'Clock Show" has died.")
"Señoras y Señores..., reflexionemos ante su deceso"
("Ladies and Gentlemen..., a moment of silence for the deceased")

In 2007, Paquito Cordero, began producing a remake of "Noche de Gala", (Gala Night Ball), broadcasted by WIPR-TV, Tu Universo Television, channel 6, with Deborah Carthy-Deu, as the host.

And so this bitter-sweet chapter in Puertorrican TV is closed forever.

Rest in Peace, Paquito.

Say hello to Vigoreaux, Tommy Muñiz and Don Cholito while you're at it!


Sings-With-Spirits said...

Now, there goes oe of the true Greats of Puertorrican TV.

Excellent obit, Max. He will be missed.

e5d5i5e52002 said...

ow, my heart broke to pieces, for the Puerto Ricans in St. Croix, grew up with Paquito Cordero and his wided arary of singers, actors, comedians etc., I shed a tear for Boriquen, and state as a Puerto Rican born 100 miles away to the east, by plane, "Puerto rico, de mi alma, de mis padres, de mi sangre, hoy ti pide, aqui tu hijo, un Gautier, Que a tus playas, dejes volver"
Mi corazon se muere en mil cantitos, al oir que este gran Senior, Paquito cordero murio, Pues lo boriquas nacido en Santa Cruz, a 100 millas al estes de Puerto Rico por avion, crecimos con las alegrias que nos brindaba Paquito Cordero y sus cantantes, comediantes y, actores etc., hoy entonces digo "Puerto rico, de mi alma, de mis padres, de mi sangre, hoy ti pide, aqui tu hijo, un Gautier, Que a tus playas, dejes volver" "Que descance en paz"
Edwin Gautier Vega