Dolphy and ACJ: End of two eras

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Posted at Aug 03 2012 04:44 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2013 12:43 AM

From Makati Med to Heritage Park, they did not end. The ordinary and the famed both came to pay their respects to this great. And when time or distance prevented, Filipinos tipped their hats to Dolphy all the way to cyberspace.

The King of Comedy’s final days saw a nostalgia trip in pop culture as his past performances made a comeback on TV.

With that, the tributes on Twitter and Facebook recalled Dolphy’s unforgettable characters and their impact on generations of viewers.

Similar sentiments echoed as our reporters took the pulse of those who showed up at the hospital and the memorial park.

It was no different back in April when another TV luminary, anchorman Angelo Castro, Jr. passed away.

The physical line was shorter, the media noise less, but the collective recollection streamed nonetheless—especially online.

Viewers old enough to remember revisited the days when newscasts in English were still the norm for late-night.

In Dolphy’s wake, Filipinos resurrected John Puruntong and Pacifica Falayfay.

The deaths of famous people conjure up not just personal memories of them, but also the zeitgeist (the spirit of the times) during their heyday in the public eye.

And now in this age of the digital village, we have realized all the more a shared loss of one less character who embodied our hopes and experiences.

With the loss of figures like Dolphy and Angelo Castro, we are also nudged to look back to their times and reflect how things have differed since.

Lines for Dolphy at Heritage. (Shots by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Comedy King

Dolphy became a surrogate grandparent for Rose-An Dioquino, one of my contemporaries in media.

To her, he was “Lolo Kevin” Kosme, the widower from Home Along Da Riles, lead primetime sitcom in the 1990s, when Rose-An’s real grandfather died.

As Ro-Ann lined up with her boyfriend at the Heritage Park to view Dolphy’s remains, she met others who grew up with the comedian’s other performing personas.

One lola in a wheelchair had watched Dolphy on the vaudeville stage at the Manila Opera House.

Ro-Ann and her partner were surprised to learn how children in their line knew Dolphy: from the grainy, black-and-white Sampaguita films now getting a second life on free TV.

The lines for Dolphy from July 12 to 14 breached 36,000, according to police. They were not as long as the half million who lined up for his friend, movie action king Fernando Poe, Jr. when he died in 2004.

While other factors could count for the shorter lines, it was more than enough homage to the Comedy King for an entire nation to relive the performances that brought it laughs for more than half a century.

Dolphy’s comedy was old-school–wholesome with a few winks–starring everyday men whom the masa family could relate with.

Classic slapstick, it carried on the rolled-paper smacks, drink-spews, and contorted faces that descended from the bodabil stage.

This brand of Dolphy and his sidekicks influenced younger entertainers who have gone to other lengths in comedy but owe their careers to the King.

“(Dolphy) did not only revolutionize the entertainment industry; he also changed our national consciousness for the better,” President Benigno Aquino III said in a statement after Dolphy died.

“Through his art, (Dolphy) extended our worldviews, and gave us the ability to reflect on, value, and find joy in the daily realities of Filipino life.”

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.