A video recently published by filmmaker Ian Padrón shows the hallmarks of his father’s work and several excerpts of his creations which are part of Cubans’ daily life.
“Viva Papi” sums up the work of Juan Padrón, a fundamental figure of the island’s comic strips and animated cartoons.
The caricaturist has marked the childhood of many generations of Cubans. Elpidio Valdés is in the country’s popular imagery. Through this character, Padrón recreated the history of the struggles for the independence of the island.
But what has most remained from his animated cartoons are the phrases already incorporated into the daily expression of those “over there and over here,” Cubans in all parts of the world who appropriated them to speak with a touch of Cuban humor.
The most well-known is “¡Qué país!” (What a country!). The artist’s imagination allowed for the jokes that provoke so much laughter, like that one about the Spaniards: “bestias, no tiréis con ventanas” (beasts, don’t shoot with windows), inspired by a Martí text in which he spoke of how the Mambí independence fighters used window bars to shoot.
That of “¡Tócate, María Silvia!” (a sort of high five) is used very much by Cubans when they offer a drink or the very common “¡Quita, chico!” (Get off me, man!) referring to the moment in which Media Cara beats Cortico.
“Euteliaaa” is another of the phrases that Cubans use as a scolding, referring to an absentminded Mambí girl who appears in the “Elpidio Valdés” animated cartoons.
“Puré de talco” (Mashed talcum) is another of the most used, as well as “Eso habría que verlo, compay” (We’d have to see that, buddy), recalling Padrón’s anthological animated cartoons’ farewell at the end.
And it was Juan Padrón who animated Mafalda and her friends, a series of 108 one-minute jokes and the unforgettable Quinoscopios, which also toured the world. That series of films directed by Juan Padrón was based on comic strips by Argentinian Quino.
These and many other phrases remain in the memory of Cubans, like some of the dialogues from Vampiros en La Habana, Padrón’s second film, where he tells the story of how Dracula’s son challenged the Chicago mafia which is seeking the potion that allows vampires to withstand daylight.
Some phrases are here to stay, like “la receta del vampisol” (the prescription for vampisol), “¡Nadie detiene el progreso señores!” (No sir, nothing can stop progress!) or “¡Y cómo en América, mandará Johnny Terrori!” (And like in America, Johnny Terrori will be the boss!).