Specially in the early years of showbiz, the Filipino audience have been continuously searching for local talents (actors, actresses and other entertainers) to serve as counterparts (in looks or acting style or lifestyle) of popular Hollywood or foreign idols.
Trivia expert Tante de Ramos lists down some of these ‘counterparts’:
Canuplin—Charlie Chaplin of the Philippines. It was still in the prewar years that Canuplin started imitating his look-alike silent movie era comedian at a Manila Carnival sideshow. This low-paying job was the start of something big. A bigtime impresario, Lou Borromeo, hired Canuplin for vaudeville shows at the Manila Grand Opera House and Clover Theater stage shows up to the Liberation period. He also appeared in some movies. His real name was Canuto Francia.
Bayani Casimiro—Stan Laurel and/or Fred Astaire of the Philippines. Versatile in comedy and dance, Bayani first appeared in Turista in 1956 with co-stars Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Atsuko Kindaichi and Bimbo Danao, under the direction of Felicing Constantino. This was a co-production of LVN Pictures and Daiei Motion Pictures Co. Ltd. In 1960’s Botika sa Baryo, directed by Natoy Catindig, he appeared with Marita Zobel, Dionedes Maturan, Lopito and Patsy.
Rudy Concepcion—Charles Farrell of the Philippines. His love team with Rosario Morena topbilled six films which included: Inang Mahal, Alipin ng Palad (directed by Octavio Solis), Mapait na Lihim (1938), Tunay na Ina (1939), Pakiusap (again megged by Silos) and Mahal Pa Rin Kita (1940). His life was later made into a bio-flick by Sampaguita Pictures.
Jose Cris Soto—Oliver Hardy of the Philippines. He appeared in the following films: Ligaya (1946) which starred Rebecca Gonzales, Angel Esmeralda, Pacita del Rio and Patring (Monang) Carvajal and directed by Manuel Silos; La Paloma (1947) with lead stars Paraluman and Fred Montilla and co-starring Lilian Leonardo, Eddie Magat (later known as Eddie del Mar), Vincente Liwanag, Rafael Jimenez and Rico Romero and directed by Tor Villano for Sampaguita Pictures. In the 50’s, he appeared in films like Sarumbanggi, Doon Pa Sa Amin, and Tarhata.
Bimbo Danao—Bing Crosby of the Philippines. Two of his popular films were 1948’s Sunset Over Corregidor (sub-titled Krus ng Digmaan) whose lead stars were Teddy Benavides, Linda Estrella, Mona Lisa, Fernando Royo, Gil de Leon, Rosa Aguirre, Cris de Vera, Osar Obligacion, Totoy Torrente, Jose Troni. It is directed by Carlos Vander Tolosa for X’Otic Productions; and Siyudad sa Ilalim ng Lupa with Mona Lisa, Luningning, Fernando Royo and Carol Varga.
Dolphy—Danny Kaye of the Philippines. Now regarded as the king of comedy of Philippine movies, Dolphy appeared in early films that included Jack and Jill (with Rogelio de la Rosa and Lolita Rodriguez), Paruparong Bukid (with Gloria Romero, Luis Gonzales and Daisy Romualdez and directed by Armando Garces) and Kalabog and Bosyo (with sparring partner Panchito Alba). He established his own movie outfit, RVQ Productions, Inc., which made the John and Marsha series.
Bobby Gonzales—Johnny Ray of the Philippines. He performed regularly in stage shows at the Manila Grand Opera House and Clover Theater. He was the singing member of the original Lo Waist Gang headed by Fernando Poe Jr., Zaldy Zshornack and. Later on, by Joseph Estrada.
Berting Labra—Mickey Rooney of the Philippines. Also an original member of the Lo Waist Gang, he appeared in Lutong Makaw (1958) which starred Fernando Poe, Jr., Corazon Rivas, Myra Crisol, Chiquito and the entire Lo ‘ Waist Gang under the direction of Pablo Santiago. In 1959, he was launched into his solo starrer in Big-Time Berto with Big Ben as his partner. Both films and all the other Lo Waist gang films were produced by Larry Santiago Productions.
Eddie Mesa—Elvis Presley of the Philippines. Two of his outstanding films were Bon Voyage (with Fernando Poe Jr., Leonor Vergara, Lani Oteyza, Bob Soler, Lopito, Lily Marquez, Jose Romulo and Lauro Delgado, under the direction of Cesar Gallardo for Premiere Production) and Hawaiian Boy again with Fernando Poe Jr. who appeared as a boxer, Rosemarie Gil, Chiquito, Carl Perkins and Roy Hamitton, two singers from America, Miriam Jurado, Celia Rodriguez, Nello Nayo, Lito Anzures and Jose Garcia. Shot in Hawaii in the mid 50’s. Hawaiian Boy which was megged by Cirio H. Santiago and produced by People’s Pictures.
Johnny Monteiro—Douglas Fairbanks of the Philippines. Known for his swashbuckling prowess, Johnny appeared in several Manuel Conde starrers like 1950’s Siete Infante de Lara, Genghis Khan and Sigfredo. He portrayed a drug addict in 1961’s Ako’y Alipin ng Opio for Premiere Productions. His other films included Prinsesa ng Kagubatan (with action queen Celia Fuentes, Teody Belarmino and Ruben Rustia, directed by Ding de Jesus for Everlasting Pictures); Suicide Susy, Ang Matatapang Lamang and God Knows where he won a FAMAS Best Suporting Actor award.
Federico del Puerto—Errol Flynn of the Philippines. He appeared in the 1950 The Pirales Go To Town with Lirio del Valle as his leading lady.
Ely Ramos—Nelson Eddy of the Philippines . He appeared in the loveteam tandem with Elsa Oria in two musical films, Bituing Marikit (1937) and Madaling Araw (1938). In 1941, he starred in Palikero and after the war in 1948, he appeared in Selosa (with Carmen Rosales) and Manugang at Biyenan (with Norma Blancaflor).
Leopoldo Salcedo—John Barrymore of the Philippines. Known as the Great Profile of Philippine movies, Leopoldo appeared in 1949’s Ang Kuba sa Kiyapo with Mila del Sol as her leading lady and Jaime Castelvi as the main villain. It was directed by Nemensio Caravana for LVN Pictures. His loveteam with Rosario del Rosario produced such films as Ang Kumpisalan at ang Batas (1937), Ligaw na Bituin (1938) and Panata ng Puso (1950). He also appeared in a 1960 foreign co-production project, Escape to Paradise, with Diane Jorens, Johny Monteiro, Joe Dennis, Jennings Sturgeon, Bruce Baxter, Renato Robles, Rosie Acosta and Joe Sison which was produced and directed by Eddie Romero for Lynro Pictures and released by Peoples Pictures Inc.
Lou Salvador Jr.—James Dean of the Philippines. He appeared in several rebel without a cause roles like Bad Boy where he starred opposite Marita Zobel in her introducing starrer and the first ever film she made for LVN Pictures. In Pitong Sagisag, a costume picture, he co-starred with Efren Reyes Sr., Jun Rosales (a nephew of Carmen Rosales) and four members of seven title rolers under the direction of Nemensio Caravana for Premiere Productions Inc.
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