Curtains down for Comedy King Dolphy at 83

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Comedy King Dolphy has passed away at 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, according to a close family member.

Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Sr., known to all as "Dolphy", the one and only King of Filipino Comedy have left so many wonderful movies and memories.  He left a rare legacy to all of us.

Over the past two weeks, we have heard many of today’s celebrities say, “Nag-iisa lang si Dolphy” (Dolphy’s the only one) —a statement that the Philippine entertainment industry uses to sum up the 83-year-old’s contribution to Philippine comedy as we know it.
In his blog, director Jose Javier Reyes said: “To trace the history of Dolphy’s career is to create a map of what Philippine entertainment was through decades of the 20th and the early 21st century.”
“From the bit player of stage shows called ‘bodabil’, where the likes of Mary Walter, Bayani Casimiro, Katy de la Cruz, German Moreno, Pugo, Tugo, Lupito, and Patsy —and yes, the young Gloria Romero— found their footing in the world of music, applause, and laughter, Dolphy evolved into more than just an icon [and became] a personification of the Filipino immortalized by stage, television, and films,” Reyes wrote.
Joyce Arriola, a film critic teaching at the University of Santo Tomas literature program, echoed Reyes’ views, saying that Dolphy as an actor “is classic.”
“If you think of an actor who has seen all generations in recent times, it is Dolphy —before the war, the 1950s, until most recently,” said Arriola, a professor on Popular Culture. “He experimented with genres… In fact, he did some action movies and melodramas. It is not fair to just consider him a comedian. An actor, plain and simple, would be more accurate.”

Raised amid the difficulties of the second World War, Dolphy entered acting at an auspicious time, the 1950s, which was considered the “golden age” of the Philippine movie industry. From there, and eventually with his own RVQ Productions (RVQ meaning Rodolfo Vera Quizon, his real name), Dolphy starred in some 300 films and in some top-rated television sitcoms. Before taking on the everyday Filipino family man, the Comedy King’s claim to fame was his portrayal of gay roles, which began when he was cast in Jack en Jill (1954) with Rogelio de la Rosa and Lolita Rodriguez. He would play similar roles in Facifica Falayfay (1969), Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (1978), and Markova: Comfort Gay (2000), where his sons Eric and Epi played the younger versions of his character.
But his portrayal of the “everyday Filipino family man” would be most remembered, especially the iconic John Purungtong from the sitcom John en Marsha and this character’s contemporary counterpart Kevin Cosme in Home Along Da Riles.
In her paper The ‘King’ of Philippine Comedy: Some Notes on Dolphy and the Functions of Philippine Cinematic Humor as Discourse, University of the Philippines professor Maria Rhodora Ancheta acknowledged the Comedy King’s footing in the entertainment industry and credited him for “opening comic spaces for transgression/aggression in Philippine life.”
However, citing Dolphy’s reputation as the “Filipino Everyman,” she wrote that Dolphy’s “predictability petrifies him and ultimately limits the possible transformative value of his comedy”.
This “specialty,” Ancheta said, also poses a problem to the viewer who relates to the actor since it “encourages an adherence to traditional views, which is undergirded by resignation to, and acceptance of, the difficulty and impossibility of moving into spheres of power in Filipino life.”
Arriola countered Ancheta’s claim, saying that “genre artists” —like Dolphy— “are predictable” because they have a trademark, as shown by Charlie Chaplin, who “we consider ‘classic’ because he has had distance from us, the contemporary generation.”

Amid the arguments among experts, one thing is undeniable: Dolphy has charmed his way through generations of Filipino audiences who identify with the characters he portrayed. Perhaps what makes him effective in this role-play is the fact that he, too, had gone through these hardships and had stuck around long enough to portray it on the screen.
A son of a ship mechanic and a house-based tailor, the comedian who’s second to a brood of 10 had to work odd jobs at the onset of the second World War, a period of his life that he described as “napakahirap” (very hard).
“Kailangan kumayod ka talaga” (You need to work extra hard), Dolphy told broadcast journalist Cheche Lazaro in a Probe interview in 2009. “Puwedeng manganib ang buhay mo kasi sa Hapon ka nagtatrabaho” (Your life can be put in danger since you work for the Japanese).
Despite the difficult living conditions, the young Quizon was still mischievous and cheerful —a mood cultivated at the jolly, albeit religious, household he grew up in. This translated into his movies and sitcoms and has been dubbed by people he had worked with as his “magic.”
“Kaya tumagal [si Dolphy] kasi ‘di ba lagi nating sinasabi ‘yung kung alam mo kung saan ka nanggaling, alam mo kung saan ka pupunta at kung paano ka pupunta roon” (If you know where you came from and know where will you go, that will make a person more enduring, like Dolphy), said actress-director Bibeth Orteza, who wrote the Comedy King’s biography. “Palibhasa nanggaling siya sa pinakamababang antas, hindi siya nakalimot kung saan siya nanggaling” (Dolphy didn’t forget his roots: from the lower rungs of society).
The magic translated into the television screens and even in films. Purungtong was “one of the longest running characters of a sitcom in Philippine television,” while Cosme enjoyed patronage from the younger generation. Both of these characters were, as Reyes noted, the “image of the Pinoy tatay (father) who dealt with fate with an open heart and who never lost his humanity amid the foible and complexities offered by life.”

Asked how Dolphy succeeded in winning over the masa, Arriola said it is “because he presents them.” “He has played roles that they could identify with and could ‘escape’ into. People think that escape and a good laugh are bad… [But] is it not Filipino of us to be resilient? And the twin sister of that resilience is the ability to laugh at even the most painful truths?”
For this, she added that Dolphy “deserves the National Artist Award” —a “positive development that will open the doors for “similarly situated artists who have not been given recognition yet because their forms are too popular or pang-masa.”
“It is time to have a shift in paradigm,” Arriola added, “and to consider that great artists become great… because they made an impact on the memory of several generations who have watched and followed artists, who have made life their art and art their life.”

Source from: thefilipinoconnection  

Prayers & love for the Quizons, respect & gratitude for our King of Comedy.  

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