Did You Know ‘Sabado Gigante’ Host Don Francisco Is Actually German?
While growing up watching Don Francisco on the classic Univision variety show “Sabado Gigante” might have made you think you knew the host inside and out — a TikToker just resurfaced a whole new side to the 81-year-old. Let’s get into it.
Don Francisco is practically synonymous with Latino culture, bringing together elements in his show that became ingrained in our culture.
While the show hosted megawatt stars like Shakira and Selena, who could forget that iconic singing competition where “El Chacal” would come out to eliminate contestants, feeding them to lions? We still hear the crowd yelling, “Fuera!” and we might have had a few nightmares about that happening to us once or twice.
Then there was “El Detector De Las Mentiras,” where people were put under a lie detector test to find out if they were cheating or not, and even a beauty pageant called “Miss Colita” (really).
The 53-season show was pretty all over the place, but there’s no doubt it was a Latino tradition up until its end in 2015 — and brought together la familia completa every Saturday.
That said, while Don Francisco did a lot for la cultura, fans have recently learned a big detail about his own heritage no one was expecting
As TikToker @giomars_ recently posted, Don Francisco is not the host’s name at all — it’s actually Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld. And while the icon was born in Talca, Chile back in 1940, he is actually 100% German by blood.
The TikTok video is hilarious and worth a watch, and incredibly enough, it is completely accurate.
As the host himself explained to CBS News, his parents “were German Jews.” He continued, “they fled during the Second World War, during the Holocaust, to Chile. Not because they choose Chile. That was the only option that they had.”
Meanwhile, Don Francisco wrote in his 2001 autobiography “Don Francisco: Entre la Espada y la TV,” “German is my first language… I only learned Spanish when I started to go to school.” Yep, we’re shook.
The host’s upbringing wasn’t easy, reportedly filled with anti-Semitism and the difficulties that come with being an immigrant in a new land.
He told CBS, “I was a kid in the middle of the war — even in my country, in Chile, half of the population, they were with the Germans. It was not easy to grow up in an environment like this.” So, to be “accepted” by his peers, he “found an opportunity making jokes, doing shows for the school.”
Later on, he was sent to New York City at 19 years old to learn to be a tailor like his father, only knowing “20 words” in English. He soon became enamored with American TV culture, and eventually got the opportunity to host a show back in Chile. The rest was history, leading up to “Sabado Gigante” becoming the world’s longest-running television variety show.
So where did Don Francisco’s stage name come from?
The host explained in his autobiography that as a teenager, he would act out a character he invented named Don Francisco Ziziguen González.
The character was actually based off of the soon-to-be icon’s own parents and their German friends. Why the name change, though? Chilean producers said his real name was “too difficult to pronounce and not easy to remember.” So he decided to “resurrect” Don Francisco.
As you can expect, fans on social media are in disbelief. TikToker Gio Mars commented on his own video, and we can’t stop laughing: “You couldn’t tell from his last name?” BRO i thought his last name was Francisco 💀.” LOL.
Another user commented, “NAH NOT ME THINKING HIS NAME WAS DON FRANCISCO” while another chimed in, “HE WAS HISPANIC TO MEEE.”
Yet another TikToker wrote, “I know you did not just say that the Don Francisco that raised me is German,” and yes, we can’t believe it, either.