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Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

The death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco during Saturday Night Live's first season in 1975 served as the source of one of the first catchphrases from SNL to enter the general populace.

Franco lingered near death for weeks before dying. On slow news days, United States network television news casters sometimes noted that Franco was still alive, or not yet dead. The imminent death of Franco was the headline story on the NBC news for a number of weeks previous.

After Franco's death, Chevy Chase, reader of the news on Saturday Night Live's comedic news segment, announced the fascist dictator's death and read a quote from Richard Nixon praising Franco as a good friend of the United States; as an ironic counterpoint to this, a picture was displayed behind Chase, showing Franco standing alongside Adolf Hitler.

From that point on, Chase made it clear that SNL would get the last laugh at Franco's expense. "This breaking news just in", Chase would announce-- "Generalísimo Francisco Franco is still dead!" The top story of the news segment for several weeks running was that Generalísimo Francisco Franco was still dead. Chase would repeat the story at the end of the news segment, aided by Garrett Morris, "head of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing", whose "aid" in repeating the story involved cupping his hands around his mouth and shouting the headline.

See also : Saturday Night Live



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