Thirty years ago, on 9 December, the great Palermo actor Franco Franchi died. An unforgettable character to whom today – Friday 9 December, the day of the anniversary – Rai Storia and Rai Teche are dedicating a special tribute.
On Rai Storia, at 12, the episode of Yesterday and today of 7 June 1980, presented by Luciano Salce, with Franco Franchi and his almost inseparable cinema and TV companion, fellow citizen Ciccio Ingrassia. It wasn’t the first time that the two had participated in that historic broadcast, where they had already reconciled in 1976, after a period of misunderstanding, in front of the spectators.
In the broadcast, Franchi and Ingrassia meet again in their historic TV appearances: the beginnings of the programme The Cantatutto of 1964, as Cat and Fox in Pinocchio of 1972, in vaudeville numbers in Milleluci ’74in a parody of Two incorrigible boys of ’76, and in the musical comedy by Garinei and Giovannini The Grand Duchess and the waiters, in the ’77 adaptation with Valentina Cortese. The two also see each other again in single appearances: Ciccio Ingrassia in Much Pleasurewhere it parodies So much for singingand Franco Franchi in Theater 11 of 1972. Theater 11 is reproduced in full by Rai Teche on RaiPlay.
In this brilliant parody of the famous Theater 10 by Antonello Falqui, which aired on January 18, 1972, Franchi for the first time ventured into a television show without Ciccio Ingrassia, with whom he had already made a couple of broadcasts on the wave of the extraordinary popular success of their cinema, more than one hundred films released starting from 1960. One of the first solo occasions for Franchi was precisely the special that Enzo Trapani sewed for him, together with the authors Giancarlo Guardabassi and Riccardo Pazzaglia, in the wake of the variety of Alberto Lupo and Mina which closed its doors on May 14, 1972: only four days later, in the same scenography of the Teatro delle Vittorie, this “forbidden dream” by Franchi was broadcast, which ironically presented itself to the public as the new “beautiful” of television, after the glories of the seducer Lupo. At her side, in a role analogous to the one held by Mina, a young woman who was exploding in that same period, Loretta Goggi, who with her singing and imitative skills offered an incredible interpretation of the Tiger of Cremona and the her Big, big, big. The unprecedented pair of presenters concocted a series of numbers between comedy and music, aided by the orchestra of maestro Mario Bertolazzi and by guests such as the singer Rosanna Fratello and the Sicilian folk choir of the Canterini Peloritani.
But Franchi was still the giant, amazing in his execution of the instrumental piece from the film Luci della limelight, with a simple leaf vibrated between his lips, or when he takes lessons on the art of conquering women from Alberto Lupo himself, preparing to woo the legendary Anita Ekberg. Rai Teche’s tribute to Franco Franchi is also enriched by other titles already present on RaiPlay, from the television versions of The Adventures of Pinocchio (1972) and Kaos (1984) to the transmission paired with Ciccio Ingrassia Two incorrigible boys (1976/77 ).
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