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Don Francisco

Don Francisco is the artistic name of a Chilean television host. Mario Kreutzberger (his real name) was born in Talca[?], Chile in 1940 to a German Jewish family. His parents had fled to Chile escaping from Nazi persecution.

As a youth, he traveled to New York to study to be a tailor[?], but he spent most of the time watching TV. Back in Chile, where TV was just beginning, Don Francisco started a tv show in 1962, and he named it Sabados Gigantes. In it, he adapted many of the formulas he had seen in American TV to the Chilean public. The show became an instant hit that has lasted 40 years as the #1 viewed show in Chile. In 1985, the show began to be produced in Miami, Florida, with the same formula used in Chile, with the slightly different name of Sabado Gigante. Don Francisco immediately became a household name among Latino families across the United States, and in the following five years, television networks from all over Latin America started buying the show. Spain also became a show customer during that period, and with that, 99 percent of Spanish language speaking people knew who Don Francisco was. For a few year, he continued flying weekly to Chile to tape the Chilean Sabados Gigantes, and back to Miami to do the international show.

His is a four hour long variety show, including contests, comedy, interviews and a traveling camera section. The traveling camera section, or Camara Viajera (originally La Pelicula Extranjera, The foreign film), has taken Don Francisco to over 185 countries world-wide, many of them more than once.

He not only imported from USA TV some of the ideas for his show, but also the idea of doing a Telethon[?], similar to the one Jerry Lewis has done for years in the USA. Don Francisco has done many telethons to raise money for disaster relief and to fight diseases.

Don Francisco in his show has interviewed many celebrities, including Roberto Duran, Cristina Saralegui, Charytin and many others. In addition, his show has launched the careers of many famous entertainers, such as Sissy and many others

In 1992, Don Francisco was accused by one of his models of sexual harassment, but the charges were dismissed.

Nowadays, he has stopped flying back and forth between Miami and Chile each week to tape both the Chilean show and the international show, and his daughter is becoming quite famous as the host of the Chilean show. Apparently, having to travel so much between Miami and his home country each week, plus having to travel to worldwide locations to tape La Camara Viajera, was becoming too strenuous for him.

As of 2002, Don Francisco's show has completed 40 years, and its host has said he has no plans to retire until the day he dies.

On April's fools' day, 2003, a strong rumor that Don Francisco had passed away surfaced around the New York and New Jersey area. The rumor proved false, however.

see also: Sabado Gigante

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