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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 29, 2012

A Personal Tribute To Dolphy Who's Been Part Of Our Growing Up

DOLPHY is part of our growing up years. We remember first seeing him as the sidekick of the late Pancho Magalona in his movies at Sampaguita Pictures, like “Sa Isang Sulyap Mo Tita” (with Pancho’s late wife, Tita Duran) and “Sa Isang Halip Mo Pancho” in 1952. He also supported Sampaguita’s reigning movie queen then, Gloria Romero, in a number of movies, like “Dalagang Ilokana”, “Kurdapya”, “Hindi Basta-Basta”, “Despatsadora”, “Bakasyonista”, etc.

He hit it big when he played his first gay role in the ribtickling “Jack en Jill” in 1954, with Lolita Rodriguez, who he later also supported in “Sabungera”. He later remade “Jack en Jill” with Nora Aunor in 1979. “Jack en Jill” was followed by his dual roles in “Hootsy Kootsy” (he played twin brothers, one is a boxer and one is gay). He’d also support then teen stars Susan Roces in “Boksingera Daw” and Amalia Fuentes in “Bituing Marikit”. He topbilled the fantasy “Silveria, Ang Kabayong Nagsasalita” and “Tansan, The Mighty” (a spoof of Tarzan.)

He was paired with the late Panchito Alba and their tandem starred in comedies like “Kalabog en Bosyo” and “Beatnik”. Sampaguita Pictures also gave him a dramatic role in an episode in the omnibus movie, “Dewey Blvd.”, where he played a role similar to Charlie Chaplin’s in “City Lights”, with Barbara Perez as a blind girl he took good care of.

It was after he left Sampaguita Pictures that his career zoomed even more as a solo comedian in the 60s. He also hit it big on television with “Buhay Artista”, that ran from 1964 to 1972 (when martial law was proclaimed) and also became a series of hit films. It was also in 1964 that he did the hit “Captain Barbell”. It was at this time that James Bond’s “Dr. No” became a worldwide hit and he spoofed it with “Dr. Yes”. When Bond’s “Goldfinger” was shown, he spoofed it with “Dolpinger” and this was such a hit it had two sequels: “Dolpinger, Agent sa Lagim” and “Dolpinger Meets Pantarorong”.

Other spoofs he did are “James Batman”, “Doble Solo” and “Napoleon Doble” (spoofs of Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo), “Dolfong Scarface”, “Dr. Sebago” (spoof of “Dr. Zhivago”), “Mekeni’s Gold” (spoof of Gregory Peck’s “McKenna’s Gold” where he played Gregory Pek-wa), “Adolfong Hitler”, “Fung Ku” (spoof of David Carradine’s “Kung Fu”), “Kisame Street” (spoof of “Sesame Street”), “Enteng the Dragon” (spoof of “Enter the Dragon”) and “The Graduation” (spoof of “The Graduate”.)

Dolphy was the busiest actor in the 60s, doing about 15 to 18 movies a year! It was during this time that he put up his own film company,RVQ Productions, and his first projects were “Like Father Like Son” and “Sitsiritsit Alibangbang”. Among his biggest hits as actor-producer are “Tiririt ng Maya”, “Kaming Taga-Ilog”, “Kaming Tagabundok", “Pag-ibig, Masdan ang Ginawa Mo”, “Kangkarot”, “Si Malakas at si Maganda”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Florante at Laura”.

But what are the most memorable movies of Dolphy? First, of course, is his only collaboration with the late Lino Brocka, “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (1978) where he gave a touching performance as a gay beautician who takes care of then boy wonder Nino Muhlach, the son of his former lover, Phillip Salvador. Then there’s “Mambo Dyambo (1955)” with Sampaguita Pictures, where he played an African statue that comes to life and creates havoc in the life of then real life married couple, Alicia Vergel and Cesar Montano (the parents of Ace Vergel), who have all gone ahead of him to the great beyond.

Also a landmark is “John en Marsha sa Pelikula (1974)”, the film version of his hit sitcom on RPN-9 with the late Nida Blanca that was such a big hit that it spawned several sequels like “John en Marsha sa Probinsiya”, “John en Marsha sa America”, “Da Best of John en Marsha”, “John en Marsha Ngayon”. “Facifica Falayfay (1969)” is one of his biggest hits in a gay role. It later spawned “Fefita Fofonggay viuda de Falayfay”, “Sarhento Fofonggay” and “Mga Anak ni Facifica Falayfay”. Another memorable movie is “Sa Daigdig ng Fantasia (1964)”, a kiddie movie

where he played a scout master taking his boy scouts to an incredible adventure in a fantasyland. Produced in color by the late Fernando Poe Jr., if our memory serves us right, this was also directed by FPJ himself. Dolphy also gave a memorable performance in “Omeng Satanasia (1977)” where he played multiple roles, including the devil. For this, he won the FAMAS best actor award.

We also enjoyed a little known movie of his, “Mr. Melody”, which he did with Pancho Magalona. It was directed by the late Felicing Constantino and features the first scene of toilet humor we saw in local films, but it was very well handled and we remember almost rolling down the aisles with laughter as we were watching it. We wonder if they still have an existing copy of this very funny movie.

It’s sad that Dolphy’s last two films were not supported by his fans at the tills, “Nobody Nobody But Juan (2009)” and “Father Jejemon” (2010), both entries in the annual Metro Manila Filmfest. His last memorable performance was as the narrator in “Rosario (2010)”, for which he won the filmfest best supporting actor award. The 2010 filmfest was an unforgettable year for him as he also won the best actor award for “Father Jejemon” in the same awards night.

Dolphy has undoubtedly an incredibly varied filmography that makes him one of the most prolific actors in the history of local cinema. He deserves our gratitude and admiration for the legacy of movies that entertained several generations of viewers. Let’s all continue to pray for his full recovery.