Saturday, December 8, 2012

Azteca History Written on Walls

Azteca Theater performers left their mark - literally!

By David Owens
Azteca Theater     Like and follow:   Facebook   Twitter

Back in the 1970s the Azteca Theater was fully engaged in the presentation of movies and talent from Mexico. Azteca  Impresario Arturo Tirado was well known around California and often escorted top acts around the state.
Arturo Tirado, Azteca Theater Manager

Back behind the stage there is a staircases to  rooms where singers and actors could rest and prepare for their performances. They are odd rooms, about 20-feet long and tapering from 10-foot wide to a five-foot wide trapezoid space.

Some performers used it as a dressing room, others for a green room, and over the years many visitors signed their names on the walls.  At first glance it seems simple graffiti, but then you start to recognize names and dates of the people who came there. 

Wall art of  F. F. 1974
The best drawing is F. F. in 1974. A handsome dude with moustache smoking a cigar.

Listen to Fernando Fernandez

Many names are scrawled on the wall, often very lightly in pencil. I have increased legibility where possible by adding some contrast.

I appreciate anyone in the audience who can recognize or correct my transcriptions. Click on images to enlarge and leave comments with you thoughts and additions.

Listen to Valente del Campo  
Some signatures appear to be:
Valente del Campo, Celia Nieto, Sahol Esqueda, 3-31-1979
Hector Montemayor, Recuer Dos De Su Amiga, Olga Martinez, La Sinaolense, 7-8-1079
Listen to Hector Montemayor

Hugo Karman
Y Mr. Tirado
Mundo Armenta

Show Man Hugo Karman
Show Man La Pacaha     Flores
Toto Y Tito
Estrellita    Mary Irene Consuelo
Y Mr. Tirado                        Listen to Maclovio Contreras video
Oscar Y Carolina
Recuerdo de sus Amiga

 A big heart for:
Recuerdo de sus Amiga
Maclovis Contreras
Yolanda Hernandez
Jose del Monte

Arturo Tirado poses with Ana Berte Lepe, 1960

The top actresses and actors from Mexico packed the 700+ seats at the Azteca Theater.  Even Cantinflas (Mario Moreno)  stopped in Fresno. Watch Cantinflas in "Soy Un Profugo" from 1946. (100 minutes)

See song and dance from  Ana Berte Lepe
La Fronteriza1978
Rafael Hernandez Presenta
Rafael -Buendia    
"La Fronteriza" 1978
Dueto Frontera
Maclovio Contreras
See Maria Elena Jassa perform  "La Fronteriza" at the Mexico Theater in Los Angeles,   it looks exactly like the Teatro Azteca in Fresno inside.

Jose A. Jimemez
Manuel Ceja 78

Jose Luiz Gonzales
El Avileno

Maclovio Contreras
Listen to Maclovio Contreras

Manuel Ceja
El Arabe
Julio Fileman 1970

Jose A Jimenez    Alicia Juarez    Yolanda Oropeza  Oct. 6, 1972
Jose A Jimenez y Alicia Juarez perform "Tu Solo Tu"
Listen to Jose A. Jimenez "Las llaves de la Casa"

Alvaro Zermeno  Marina Padilla   Alvaro Lara  Palomo y Paloma   6-26-1975
Listen to El sauce y la Palma by Alvaro Zermeno

Song Palomo y Paloma      

7-29-1978   Un recuerdo de sus amiga Yolanda  Hernandez
Sep. 17, 1976  "Chelilo"  Yolanda Hernandez
Elise Carrera
Los Carpentidos
Listen to  Valente del Campo, Celia Nieto, Sahol Esqeuda, 3-31-1979


I.Oe disiembre
Jose Luis

Rosenda  Bernal

Rosenda  Bernal

Joe Flores
El Avileno

Maybe this song !

Ah, the golden age of Mexican cinema and music!

 Let me paraphrase a little from "Arturo Tirado and the Teatro Azteca: Mexican popular culture in the central San Joaquin Valley," by
Manuel G. Gonzales.
"Imagine going to a theater in a small town in the 1940s thru 1970s and seeing top movie and musical stars performing live before packed audiences.  This was the experience of many Mexican workers in the San Joaquin Valley at the Teatro Azteca in Fresno. 
The performers were not from Hollywood. To these audiences, first- and second-generation immigrants from Mexico, they were even bigger celebrities--Cantinflas, Pedro Infante, Maria Felix, and the other great actors and actresses of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. "

See a few more examples of golden age performers on our Azteca Theater Channel

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