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Titans in the Ring, the power of their unparalleled strength

In the year of the seventieth anniversary of Argentine television, we began remembering this program that led “victory and honor” to beat audience rating. And of unconditional love for Martin Karadagian's fighters.

Titanes en el ring

 In early 1972 Martin Karadagian looked like a finished man. Eight months in prison for injuries, and collapse of the titan catch empire in the ring, which he had lifted over the previous twenty years.    Former titans competed on other channels and publicly defamed him. It looked like a lot. Few bet on this 50 who had invented a massive television entertainment, a family fantasy of double Nelson, scissors and flying kicks, with a hint of general culture in the strambotic fighters, and that in the previous decade filled the Luna Park at will “There is only catch on the Moon by Karadagian,” admitted its owner, Tito Lectoure.  At the end of the season on   Canal 13 started on April 9, 36,000 spectators exploited the Palace of Bouchard and Sarmiento to witness the battle final for the world title, between Martín and La Mumia. Karadagian had been on track for a while, “the success of Titans is because every man is a child, and in these moments of crisis, people need evasion programs,” he pointed to Panorama magazine Karadagian, which would have other big peaks in popularity in the ntilde; you also difficult, in 1962, coup to President Frondizi, and 1982, Falkland War, “ ours offers it healthily. We make laugh without resorting to bad words... our is silent art, like Carlitos Chaplin,” closed the creator of the lethal Cortito. And millions of smiles.

Titans in the ring

 “ The 72 was the best season of all,” said Luis Borges, the unforgettable Mercenary Joe to Leandro D'Ambrosio, “Titans in the ring in all its years of validity had a very good rating, but the boom was there, something that surpassed us all. The program had been imposed in such a way that it was no longer a question of which channel to go because where it did it was a success. Karadagian, an intellectually limited but enlightened man for creation and business, had to see it. He was born with that gift and had the vision of knowing how to choose men, among them -Rodolfo- Di Sarli, who also created characters .  Rodolfo was the intellectual of Titans,” he would say of this announcer that he was half the show with his witty phrases and that remained in the popular language, “guys don't do this in their homes” or “They attend gyms to cultivate their physique and be the future titans”  Di Sarli accompanied Karadagian from the beginning in 1962, on Canal 9, until the end in 1988, on Canal 11.

“I included wrestlers like Sancho and Don Quixote, and I made them read the novel,” said Martín, known for his iron hand in the troupe of almost 70 athletes in the best series, “ so that they perform a literary and educational function... I am very concerned about that aspect, to such an extent that I force many to be so wad that they seem castrated: the family must give uplifting shows ,” remanted Karadagian, who completed the first Titan film and a millionaire contract with the competition. In November of that year he would debut with “La carpa de Martín” of Canal 11, more child-oriented and where the titans were track talents, for example the beloved “Ancho” Rubén Peucelle was the forcible, and was preparing for another successful season (La Mumia Negra debut!) while he was doing apotheotic tours around Latin America, who knew him for some tapes that he patiently distributed — as a good visionary, Karadagian was among the first in these shipments to the continent, and then in 1978, the first to record television on colors to export to Central America and the United States.  

 1972 was the year of the Mummy among the characters of the year of the magazine Gente, to de facto president Lanusse requesting tickets between the two thousand lucky people who entered Studio 1 on avenue San Juan, the album with the songs that will remember several generations of Argentines, “ Caballero, Red Knight, he is fearless and loyal, he is brave and great, Red Knight” or “Deaf and mute fighter, protects the good, punishes the bad, and loves children very tenderly, The Mummy is justiciera” , and the famous -and incunabables today- dolls of the chocolatiín Oh, Jack .

With such social repercussions, criticism once made from El Gráfico magazine, dean of vernacular sport, “¿Madness? Stupidity? Sport? Theater? -quote D'Ambrosio- a show that is not sports or theatrical, in which people do not believe but achieve gullible. The regrettable: the interest of children. Myth and myths: Karadagian, the patron of the troupe, but... are they really fighting? The Kingdom of Lie”, which added to the criticism of mother's leagues for violence -memorable Martin's courts before Rocky- or the sinister figure of a mummy that captivated the little ones.  Although Karadagian did not like tirades, and was able to challenge the frightened journalists against the ring, in his head he thought of eternal titans “The tree broke a branch but still stands,” Martin said throwing the cane, on the last lap of his titans in 1988, with him already on jury after amputation of one leg. The Champion was still standing.  

Titans in the ring


 The huge Martin Karadagian 

Among the desopilating moments of Karadagian's career with his titans are having faced an invisible man and a bear. Or organize ring fights full of sardines.  His childhood had been less colorful in the butcher's shop of his father Hamparzún Karadayijan, where he learned the rudeness of the trade, little Martin, born on April 30, 1922 in a conventillo in San Telmo. With only first degree he entered the family business in the old Mercado del Sur de Constitución, a few meters from what would be Channel 13 that would see it winner much later, but silver did not reach and Martín had his terrible sense of entrepreneur, “as a child I was an entrepreneur Shoeshine, bought the drawers and gave them to other kids to work for me. And with the rengo Media Gamba we handed out packages of candy on the trams, which first stained with mud. So, together with coins, they returned candy to us”, confessed the fighter, who was very big vilified by his excessive advertising and commercial eagerness, which sometimes resulted in the low quality of his titans (pe. Frutolino Bear...), Karadagian who ended up also owning jewelry stores, buildings and garages.

“Once Tita Merello was in the front row,” Paulina told Julio Lagos, “A girlfriend of my dad at that time sat next to him. Suddenly, a light moth appeared. He was spinning around Dad, bothered him. Over and over again. Dad scared her while she was fighting, but the moth kept flying over it. Until he spit on him to get it off him, with such aim he hit him! And Tita said to the girl: “Look what a torrant Turk, brought a trained moth,” were the memories of the times of glory of the cachacascan ( catch as catch can , hold on as you can in English, translated into Buenos Aires) with the Mountain Man - Ivan Zelezniak- and William Boo (Hector Brea, then the hated titans referee) filling the Luna Park in several weekly performances. By the end of the next decade, the popularity of this variant of the catch, which Polish Karol Norwina introduced in the forties, went out. Karadagian entered there, who learned the tricks and techniques of the specialty of foreigners despite his short stature.  In the mists of the legend, Karadagian claimed that he had been a Pan American children's champion in Detroit - representing the Christian Association of Young People in Greco-Roman Wrestling, where he trained with Juan Reisig also boxing - a world cadet tournament in England, with a trophy given by “Queen Elizabeth herself,” and a fight to the death with the future Pope John XXIII on the island of Crete. From that moment on he would be the eternal world champion uncontrastable but unquestionable.    

Amid the decline of catch in popular taste, and proof of Karadagian's future rimbombastic style with masked fighters in the old   Canal 7, or improbable fights like the failed fighter José María “Mono” Gatica on the court of Boca Juniors, the athlete expands the show with performances -and learning- his in theatre and cinema.  It would be Alberto Olmedo's Captain Piluso in 1961 who opened the definitive doors of television, with a massive fight, and on March 3, 1962 he would debut on Canal 9 at 22.40, “Titans in the Ring”, and with 300 people in the studio.  The first fight of this cycle was between Canadian Boby Olson -actually Peruvian - and local credit Bugallo, although the big figure of this release was Indio Comanche, Antonio Reboredo Aguilar, who walked along Santa Fe Avenue on horseback.  For seven seasons he remained on the screen, between 9, 11 and 7, borrowing on average the 30 rating points, with his world of good, good, and bad, and sometimes physically repudiated by the same stall of parents and children. While Karadagian was the undisputed champion still retained the image of one of the bad guys, something that over the years became softened to become the idol of childhood -more in the seventies, perhaps by the birth of his daughter Paulina, who would try in 1997, 2001 and 2019 a return from the franchise. Such turned out from the first programs the event of the titans that there were imitators immediately, and all the channels had their similes, the first “Lucha Libre” led by Roberto Galán on Canal 13, and from the stadium of San Lorenzo, to the last rival incarnations with “Lucha Fuerte”, animated by Ancho Peucelle and recovering the historic titan coach, Tobías Giordano, or “100% fight” in the two thousand for telefe, with stories by Osvaldo Principi .  However, “without Martin Karadagian there are no Titans,” said Di Sarli, and something was true because popular passion remained in memory on the day of the death of the wrestler and performer, August 27, 1991 . Telma Membri, the actress who played the enamored widudite of red flowers, according to Karadagian inspired by a real fanatic who awaited him at the rise of Luna Park in her youth, performed a tribute bust, and found on Pacheco de Melo Street in 1800.


 I return with glory. Part II 

 On April 2, 1982, the day of the recovery of the Falkland Islands, the new season of “Titans in the Ring” was debuted on Channel 11, after four years of absence on the screens, partly because the military in power considered the figure of Karadagian “pernicious”.   With a gallery of characters that sow the memory, such as El Android, El Diábolo, Mr. Moto, La Mafia, the Executive or the Pibe 10, it was the swan song of the cycle with the powerful presentation in the ring of Jorge Bocacci. Again it meant an unlimited commercial boom, full of “goats” in the air and crowded tents on tour, and that Karadagian was concerned to complement with another facet, “Titans in the ring is the only program that passes donations to the 30,000 institutions of good pu said Karadagian to Profile, “who saved a nursing home and an orphaned children's home with the auction flag in Lanús... we gave away more than 5700 flags all over the country. Silver donations are not good because I saw how they were stolen with Malvinas. rdquo; , closed the titan that would continue to be a hero of the homes in 1983, even more so after the premiere of the second blockbuster of his creation, “Titans in the Ring Strikes Back” 20 thousand people fired the beloved cycle again in a crowded Luna Park, with the The final fight of La Mumia and Martin, of course, again tied “We must not break the illusion to children” he repeated to his titans, minutes before jumping to the canvas, the already veteran Martin Karadagian.

“ They say that what I do is tongo, but what is there in life is not tongo,” Martín restructured Francisco Paco Urondo in 1967, the season that appears the first fighter, Gina La Indomable, and reaffirming his conviction that we all carry a boy inside who expects an illusion, a fantasy, always, “I'm proud -that they tell me a clown... Chaplin was doing what we do, laugh... Look,” says an oil from the wall in his mythical Callao- here I have it: it gives me sadness and I'm glad” Ankle Lock Inverted, Whip Shot, Forearm Strike, Scoop Slam and the inaltable Cortito, Martín's favorite hits, direct to the excitement of the child who laughs in us.



Sources: D'Ambrosio, L.  Martin and his titans  . Buenos Aires: The New Extreme. 2012; Roncoli, D.  El Gran Martin. Life and work of Karadagian and his titans  . Buenos Aires: Planeta.2012; Gorlero, P.  Tomas, scissors and cortitos  . Buenos Aires: Torres Aguero Editor.1995; 


Publication Date: 20/04/2021

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