The first hit of Pajares and Esteso in theaters: «Of violence, little. Of sex, what is necessary. Laughing, everything»
Andrés Pajares (81) and Fernando Esteso (76) worked at the end of the seventies in the same nightclub in Madrid. In the Windsor Tower. Each with his show. By then they were already two famous comedians, two monsters of humour, according to ABC in October 1979. That month ‘Los bingueros’ was released, the first of the nine films that Pajares and Esteso starred in over five years. Not even its director and screenwriter Mariano Ozores (95) expected such a hit: more than 1.5 million viewers and almost 198 million pesetas in revenue (it cost just 15). This is how it was announced on ABC: «Of violence, little. Of sex, what is necessary. Laughing, everything. Watching this movie, you’ll get a laugh bingo and a line of laughs.” And this was the criticism of ‘Los bingueros’ on ABC: «Comic toy without much structure in the story, which serves, under the guise of a fashion such as bingo halls, to show off two comedians with an indisputable popular appeal, Andrés Pajares and Fernando Esteso, that here they have plenty of space to put on their best-known numbers, aimed at a massive audience that enjoys the reiterations of gestures and set phrases». Who proposed joining Pajares and Esteso in a film about bingo? It was José María Reyzabal, president of Ízaro Films, who proposed to Mariano Ozores and producer José Luis Bermúdez de Castro joining Pajares and Esteso in a film. Reyzabal came up with the idea that it be set in a bingo hall because his wife was a big bingo player. As of 1977 in Spain, games of chance and bets already had a regulation. The fans had already spread to Madrid and Barcelona. This is the story of the first episode of the documentary series ‘Pajares & CIA’, on the Atresplayer Premium platform. Los bingueros Bermúdez de Castro, the producer of ‘Los bingueros’, made films with Parchís, with Martes y Trece, with the Hurtado sisters, with Lina Morgan… «I have been a very opportunistic producer perhaps because I have always looked for current affairs . I have always tried to do themes with popular and professional characters that could have pull. Of my more than 100 films, 80% have been box office successes”, recalls Bermúdez de Castro in ‘Pajares & CIA’, a documentary series produced by Producciones del Barrio. “If I dedicate myself to making churros, and they queue to buy my churro, I am very proud of my churro,” he says. Mariano Ozores, unlike José María Reyzabal’s wife, had never set foot in a bingo hall, so he had to go through a few to find out what it was. Everyone liked the script, especially Spanish viewers, as it was the most watched film of 1979 in our country and even surpassed US blockbusters such as ‘Superman’ and ‘Land as you can’. According to Arévalo (74), people identified with those characters – some losers – and the bizarre situations they got into, including transvestism. The humor of Ozores was the real Spain, the Spain that drank chinchón, like the character of Esteso, a long-term unemployed (because he wants to) who resorts to bingo to win gold. ‘Los bingueros’ was shot in Barcelona by Andrés Pajares because he was performing there in another nightclub. That work commitment did not prevent the comedian from traveling to Madrid every beginning of the week to shoot the TVE gastronomy contest ‘Ding Dong’. “It was very hard, but you didn’t notice it,” recalls the protagonist of ‘Pajares & CIA’. It was the Ozores brothers, Mariano and Antonio, who contributed to making the shooting environment fun and friendly. Antonio plays in ‘Los bingueros’ the priest who always wins at bingo thanks to a relic, that is, the finger of Saint Nepomucene. Florinda Chico also appears as the lady of the toilets, but also a bingo pawnbroker. A ‘slutty’ locker room with a scandalous neckline But if there was something that What marked ‘Los bingueros’, an example of uncovering cinema, was the clothing of the bingo workers where the protagonists lose money, their own and someone else’s. Mariano Ozores then asked Rafael Lladó, set designer, for several proposals; some more demure than others. «He stayed with the ‘putil’ proposal. With black stockings, a red miniskirt and a body with a scandalous neckline, “recalls Lladó in ‘Pajares & CIA’. Some of his actresses, although dressed at first, ended up fully and frontally naked. That was the other attraction of a feature film that kicked off a short but intense collaboration between Pajares and Esteso that can be seen on the FlixOlé platform: ‘The energetic ones’ (1979), ‘I made Roque III’ (1980), ‘The liantes’ (1981), ‘Los pimps’ (1981), ‘Todos al piso’ (1982), ‘Father there are no more than two’ (1982), ‘Shake before you use it’ (1983) and ‘La Lola takes us to the garden’ (1984). In 2006 there was talk of a tenth film with Ozores that they never shot.