Recalling a Saying / Fernando Dámaso

  1. A Cuban television program called Art Site presented two shows dedicated to the beginnings of television in Cuba. In them, they interviewed some people who worked in that era, who expressed different opinions and told some anecdotes.
  2. A former beer model, who later became a dramatic actress, said that in the commercials she had to drink warm beer. The baseball games — supported by Hatuey beer and Partagas cigarettes — broadcast from the Cerro stadium where there was a gondola hanging from the ceiling with cabins for the sportscasters and a little space for making live commercials. There, they installed a cooler with bottled beer and malt, always cold, and a chest with boxes of cigarettes and tobacco to use during the commercials, and also for the consumption of everyone who worked there, free of charge. The commercials that were made at the CMQ studios were performed under better conditions.
  3. Another founder noted that before the studios were small and now they are larger. To my knowledge, for the last fifty years the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) has used the same studios previously used by CMQ, Channel 4, CMBF, Channel 7, Telemundo Channel 2, and Channel 12, which yes, is quite deteriorated and often lacks air conditioning, as evidence by the sweat on the presenters and guests on the live shows. It’s enough to see the ICRT building, formerly CMQ, to compare the accumulated deterioration; windows broken or non-existent, blinds missing, empty air conditioning holes boarded up with cardboard, wood and pieces of metal, chipped and missing paint, et cetera. If that’s the outside, I can imagine the inside.
  4. In the decade of the fifties, Cuban television was, after that of the U.S., the best and most innovative. Equipped with magnificent technology, it aired several flagship programs of different types: musicals, soap operas, theatrical dramas, comedy, sports, news, etc., and with a cast of of talented and highly professional artists and technicians.
  5. Today, Cuban television is not even a shadow of what it was in the fifties and early sixties. Absurdly politicized, poorly equipped, lacking the necessary resources (other than to make ideological programs), languishing like the rest of the country, waiting for better times. I want to believe that some of the opinions expressed on the Art Site program were affected by the poor memories of those interviewed. In any event, “people who tell lies should be very careful when eating fish,” as they saying goes… They might just find that the bones stick in their throats.

October 22, 2010