Monday, October 15, 2012

*313. PATSY: Tawag ng Tanghalan's Hostess with the Mostest

PATSY PATSOTSAY. The loveable, laughable Patsy Mateo, from Lubao, is most well-known for her long association with perhaps, the greatest talent search in Philippine TV history--Tawag ng Tanghalan.

One comedienne who created one of the most iconic characters in Philippine movies based on her provincial background was the loveable Patsy. As the bumbling, hysterical Patsy Patsotsay, she would often spew out Kapampangan non-stop when caught in a fix.

This loveable, all-around entertainer with Lubao roots, come from the same town that nurtured the talents of movie greats Rogelio de la Rosa, and Jaime de la Rosa and Gregorio Fernandez.

 She was born as Pastora Mateo on 12 April 1916, in Sta. Elena, Tondo, the child of Alejandro Mateo, who worked in a stall at the local market. As a youngster, Patsy was given the nickname “Lapad”, in reference to her flat nose.

 Even under the watchful eye of a very old-fashioned father, Patsy grew up breaking house rules to follow her heart’s desire. She was but 6 when she caught the Lou Borromeo variety show performing in a theater along Rizal Avenue. She broke into the theatre unnoticed via the back stage. Patsy was immediately smitten by the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd.

 In 1924, she was in 2nd grade at Magdalena Elementary School when she saw and answered an ad about chorus girls being wanted at the Savoy Theater, just a walk away from Clover Theater. Together with her sister Rosa, she auditioned –and passed, until her parents discovered her adventure. John C. Cooper, the Savoy Theater, had given everyone of his troupe a five peso loan—which Patsy and Rosa proudly turned over to their father. The two truants were given a sound trashing, but they kept going back to the stage anyway. Eventually, the Mateo elders relented and allowed the youngsters to pursue their showbiz interest.

 Patsy was just eleven when she joined a group of entertainers to tour Hawaii—along with Diana Toy, Sunday Reantazo, and saxophone player, Baclig. She was gone for a full year, but upon her return in 1928, she was immediately taken in as a feature singer at Tom’s Oriental Grill in Sta. Cruz. After 3 months, she was back dancing at the Savoy. In 1933, Patsy moved to the Palace Theater as a song-and-dance girl, performing alongside such veteran stalwarts as Katy de la Cruz, Tugo, Pugo and Amanding Montes.

 From the bodabil house, Patsy broke into the movies in 1934, playing a supporting role in “Ang Dangal”. She rounded up the decade with roles in “Dasalang Perlas”(1938) and “Ruiseñor”(1939).

 In 1939, while singing with comedienne Hanasan (Aurelia Alaldo) on stage, somebody in the audience informed her that her father had died. “I had to go on with the show my aching heart”, Patsy revealed in an interview. “Amidst all the buffoonery, tears were cascading down my cheeks.”

 The War nipped Patsy’s budding film career, but in 1943, her showgirl career took a major turn when she became a comedienne. On one fateful day, Toytoy and comedy partner Gregorio Ticman had been scheduled to do an act together. As luck would have it, Toytoy fell ill and Patsy was asked to take over .She did a skit using her now famous Kapampangan-Tagalog dialogue—which brought down the house. A new star comedienne was born.

 Patsy continued to entertain onstage during the years of the Japanese Occupation. As soon as thing settled down, she was back on screen in “Alaala Kita”(1946), The ‘50s and 60s decades marked her heyday as one of the country’s most favorite comedians. She appeared in the comedy hit, “Edong Mapangarap”(1950), opposite Eddie San Jose, “Bohemyo”, “Babae, Babae, at Babae Pa”(1952), “Basagulera”(1954).

 Her biggest break, however, was when she was approached to be one of the hosts of a highly-popular singing contest that was sponsored by Procter and Gamble PMC : ”Tawag ng Tanghalan” which started on radio as “Purico’s Amateur Hour”. A unique feature of the program was the sounding of a bell that cut off the performance and signalled elimination of au unfortunate contestant. It had for its first grand champion, the Spanish-Filipino singer Jose Gonzales (Pepe Pimentel) who won with the song “Angelitos Negros”.

 Patsy teamed up with Lopito when “Tawag”moved to television, a new medium that would also catapult the tandem to national fame. Patsy and Lopito had such charisma on TV, diffusing the pressure of competition with their humorous repartee in which they often argued and fought on-air. 

As emcees, they also put contestants at ease with their light, easy patter, and the duo were witnessed to the meteoric rise of some of the “Tawag”winners through the years: Diomedes Maturan ( 1959), Kapampangan Cenon Lagman (1960), Nora Aunor (1968) and Edgar Mortiz.

 Eventually, the TV show found its way to the silver screen in 1958 starring Susan Roces. Patsy supported the 1959 winner, Diomedes Maturan, by appearing in several of his movies, starting with “Private Maturan” (1959), “Detective Maturan” and “Prinsipe Diomedes at ang Mahiwagang Gitara”(1961). Even as she was becoming a household name on TV, Patsy continued to work the stage circuit, doing live acts in theaters like Clover, in Manila.

She was back in films in the 60s and among her most hilarious hits were “Juan Tamad Goes To Society”, “Manananggal vs. Mangkukulam” (1960), “Kandidatong Pulpol” (1961), “Triplets”(1961) and “The Big Broadcast” (1962). Patsy was also part of the celebrated group of seven bungling househelps (Aruray, Chichay, Menggay, Elizabeth Ramsey, Dely Atay-Atayan, Metring David were the other maids) in the blockbuster movie “Pitong Atsay” (1962) under dalisay Films and megged by Tony Santos. It chronicled the “naughty, nutty misadventures of 7 zany house maids, their lives and loves, in their guarded and unguarded moments”.

A sequel was hastily filmed on the heels of the movie’s success: “Ang Pinakamalaking Takas ng 7 Atsay”. TV kept Patsy busy in the 1970s; she played the role of the matriarch in the highly-rated comedy show “Wanted: Boarder”, opposite Pugo on Channel 2.

When Martial Law closed down the channel, the show reincarnated in Channel 5 as “Boarding House”, with practically the same cast. In 1975, Pugo and Patsy were the parents of Jay Ilagan in another hit sit-com on RPN 9, “My Son, My Son”. Then there was the short-lived, “Sila-Sila, Tayo-Tayo, Kami-Kami”, with Chichay.

 In all her appearances, Patsy consistently remained true to her character—splicing Kapampangan words into her dialogues at every opportunity, speaking with that distinct “gegege”accent that became her trademark. The Patsy-Pugo tandem could have endured as another great comedy pair, but that ended with Pugo’s demise in 1978.

A few months after, the irrepressibly funny Lubeña—Patsy Mateo—passed away in 1979. When a Tawag ng Tanghalan retrospective show was produced by Procter and Gamble in 1985, comedienne Nanette Inventor (from Macabebe) portrayed her so effectively, that for a moment, it seemed that the wise-cracking hostess with the mostest--Patsy Patsotsay—had returned to conquer the stage she loved all her life.


Sam said...

Wow! Ngayon ko kang nalamang tubong Lubao din pala si Patsy! Saan po sila sa Lubao?

DENR- PAO said...

Maraming salamat po sa. Ang dami kong natutunan hindi lang about Patsy but about an important part of our recent past. Highly educational.

JM Lee said...

When Martial Law was declared, Boarding House was transferred to CHANNEL 5 (not Channel 7). Channel 5 used to be the Manila Times TV station (on Pasong Tamo Street in Makati), but under Martial Law was used by PPCI headed by ROMEO JALOSJOS. In the same TV station, other shows were revived, such as: BUHAY ARTISTA with Dolphy & Panchito; Sa Di Mo Pami with Nida Blanca, June Keithly, Bert LeRoy Jr, Teroy de Guzman and Luis Gonzales. Tang-tarang-tang with Pugo, Bentot, Marita Zobel, Leroy Salvador and Rosa Aguirre

I was 14 when I worked as P.A. for PPCI and I remember Patsy would always tell me: "Iho, kapag pinadala mo sa akin ang call slip, ilagay mo roon kung anong damit ang dapat na dalhin ko sa taping." And she would tell me a litany of names of type of clothes that I don't even know, such as ternos, meztisa, and so on. She likes to wear beautiful clothes, that's why. :)

alex r. castro said...

Thanks for the correction.

J. Morales said...

Pagtutuwid lang po. My great grandmother Patsy Mateo is from San Isidro, Guagua in Pampanga. Nagtataka po kami kung bakit Lubao ang nakalagay. Salamat po.

Gilen English said...

Hi J. Morales. Magpinsang buo ang tatay ko at Tita Patsy.