For the past 50 years, Mario Kreutzberger, better known to millions of fans around the world as Don Francisco, has been hosting “Sábado Gigante,” the longest running variety show in television history. The length of the show has even made it to the Guinness World Records.
Don Francisco created and started the show in his native Chile in August of 1962 on Canal 13… although it first aired on Sundays as “Show Dominical” before moving to Saturday nights a year later and changed its name to “Sábados Gigantes.”
When it premiered on Univision April 12, 1986, the title of the show was changed to the singular Sábado Gigante.” At the time, the network was still SIN (Spanish International Network). This year, it marks the show’s 26th anniversary in the U.S.
While in Chile the show was sometimes 8 hours long during the 1970s and 1980s, here in the U.S. it only airs on Saturdays from 8 to 11 pm.
Last Wednesday, October 3, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY, celebrated his 50th anniversary as the host of Sábado Gigante” with a special event scheduled to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month. More than 200 fans had the opportunity to see highlights of the show and to listen to Don Francisco answer questions about his life and career.
Univision has scheduled a special anniversary celebration episode to air on Saturday, October 27, 2012.