‘Sábado Gigante’
12 Images

‘Sabado Gigante’

Dancers, wide-eyed spectators and loud, thumping music are all part of the three-hour “Sábado Gigante” spectacle. This episode, taped in late June 2007, featured a soccer theme in honor of a Gold Cup game between Mexico and the U.S.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

A cameraman gets a provocative angle before a commercial break on the weekly Spanish-language variety show “Sábado Gigante” (Giant Saturday), which set a Guinness World Record in 2012 for the longest running television show without a repeat. Don Francisco is the enduring host of the variety show that shuns all political correctness in catering to a largely Latino audience in the U.S. and international viewership spread throughout 42 countries.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

“Sábado Gigante” host Don Francisco will end his show in September.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Adonis Losada, left, gets into character as La Abuelita, or the Little Grandmother, backstage before the taping of a skit. The backstage scene is sometimes as wild as what happens on stage. Young men dressing up in drag à la Tim Conway from the old “Carol Burnett Show” can give the impression that one has entered a television time warp.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

“Sábado Gigante” includes a running-gag skit that parodies Spanish-language soap operas, the much-beloved telenovelas. Here, the cast of the skit prepares to open the show.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / LAT)
Gloria Benavides, who plays the recurring character of La Cuatro, gets ready to hit the stage. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
“Sábado Gigante” host Don Francisco, who holds court each week before a raucous live audience of about 200 people in Miami, waits for his cue after returning from a commercial break. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
“Sábado Gigante’s” Don Francisco isn’t above going down on his knees to help sell a comedy bit with a guest complaining about his romantic relationship with his wife. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Young couples dressed as brides and grooms prepare for a “Newlywed Game"-type of contest as a production assistant scribbles down their names on cue cards for host Don Francisco. Silly game-show segments are a big part of “Sábado Gigante,” and they are usually done live in front of the audience. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Audience members go wild as host Don Francisco enters the studio to get another “Sábado Gigante” extravaganza under way. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Mexican singer Ernesto Perez gets encouragement from a stage manager before performing. The live-music acts are one of the most popular features of “Sábado Gigante,” and the spots are much coveted by recording artists because of the massive exposure the show receives around the Spanish-speaking world.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
After wrapping up another marathon show, Don Francisco bids the audience goodbye.  (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
1/12