the continental

Every now and then, I come across a gem of knowledge while editing. I trim down a syndicated TV Q&A column every week. One question, in particular, stood out:

Q: I am trying to remember an old TV program back around the early '70s where some lover-type guy dressed in a smoking jacket and a white silk scarf would come onscreen and just talk sexy to the ladies. All the females loved this guy, but I can’t remember the name of the show.

A: It goes back further than the '70s, bub. The show was "The Continental," and it ran on CBS in 1952 and then on ABC from 1952 to '53. Renzo Cesana played the guy, and he was the whole show. He spent the entire 15 minutes cooing sweet nothings to the camera. The show’s sponsor was a stocking company, which led to a funny incident one night (the show was live) when Cesana was telling the ladies that nice stockings were just as important as good makeup. He got mixed up, though, and ended up saying, "What the powder does for your legs, the stockings do for your face."

Holy fuck! I didn't know that Saturday Night Live sketch was based on a real show from the '50s. This one shouldn't have surprised me so much, given that SNL has always satirized shows and world events. But "The Continental"? The sketch always seemed too bizarre to be based on something real. A photo I found of the original romeo had a network-supplied caption warning men that if they came home from work and found their wives swooning or fainted on the couch, never fear for their health, it was probably just due to those 15 minutes of The Continental that just aired. And in the photo itself: Mr. Cesana was decked out in his best martini-swilling, silk paisley robe (with said martini in hand). Wow.

1 comment:

Georgia Lyle said...

I would love to see the original show. Though nothing could replace Mr. Walken in my heart!