Sunday, April 24, 2011

Popular Cuban comedy team was 'absorbed into the orbit of baseball'

A Colgate shaving cream ad in the 1950-51 Cuban League official program, featuring the popular Cuban comedy team of Alberto Garrido and Federico Piñero, known as "Chicharito y Sopeira."

They appear in this ad as "managers honorarios," honorary managers of Habana and Almendares.
As part of their stage, radio and television vaudeville act, Garrido appeared in blackface.

In his book, The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball, Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria describes them like this:
one portraying a Galician who pulled for Almendares, the other a black who favored Habana, stoked the fires of fandom throughout the island. The negrito and the gallego were stock figures in Cuban theater and vaudeville, who in "Garrido y Piñero" were absorbed into the orbit of baseball.
My dad once described them as sort of Cuba's Abbott and Costello.
Who's On First with blackface? Yikes.

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