Xavier López Chabelo has passed away at the age of 88. The actor, comedian, and host forged a career that will be remembered as one of the most iconic in Mexican television, with over four decades at the helm of the Sunday program En Familia con Chabelo. A career that earned him two awards from Guinness World Records.
The organization, the main international authority in verifying different world records, granted him in 2012 the certification for having the longest-running children’s program after 44 years on the air (which was extended to 47 years because it continued until 2015). At the same time, he was also recognized for having maintained the longest time interpretation of the character Chabelo, 57 years.
For decades, En Familia con Chabelo was the Sunday television program par excellence with multiple games, contests, catafixias, and even songs in three-hour broadcasts. It was hosted by a boy with a peculiar voice and playful personality supported by Jorge Alberto Aguilera, who also became a representative by his pseudonym Mr. Aguilera.
Chabelo and his catafixia
Another recognition toChabelo‘s long trajectory was obtained unintentionally. During the programs, one of the most frequently heard words was catafixia ( and its derivatives catafixiar or catafixear), when any contestants had the option to improve their prize by exchanging the one they already had for a mystery one.
The word, lacking presence in the dictionary at the time, was later recognized by the Real Academia Española de la Lengua (RAE) and the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua (AML), institutions specialized in the normativity of the Spanish language.
“The voice “catafixia” is included in the “Diccionario de mexicanismos,” of the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua, with the meaning of ‘exchange of one object for another, without necessarily importing the value of both,” explains the RAE when recognizing its meaning.
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However, it points out that “it is a humorous creation of Chabelo, host of a Mexican TV game show, which has not transcended to the rest of Spanish-speaking areas, so it is not registered in general dictionaries.”
The last program of “En Familia con Chabelo”
As every Sunday, on November 20, 2015, Mexican families gathered in front of their TV sets to enjoy the last program of En Familia con Chabelo. The friend of all children entered the Televisa forum with his faithful companion Mr. Aguilera to greet the audience and thus begin with his famous dynamics.
Xavier Lopez Rodriguez, then 80, tried to conduct his legendary TV show with total normality. However, he could not avoid showing the deep sadness that invaded his heart because it would be the last time he would do it. Amidst applause and cheers, he shared with his youngest fans, presented his last catafixia, and sang for the last time.
Just a few minutes before the end of the broadcast, Emilio Azcárraga Jean appeared to honorably bid farewell to the actor who raised Televisa’s ratings every Sunday for almost 50 years:
“The time has come to turn off the lights of this studio, of this forum 2 that has given me so many and so many good things on Sunday. Thank you families, thank you dads, thank you moms, thank you cuates, cuatitos, cousins, uncles, grandparents, grandmothers, thank you all,” were Chabelo’s words during the last broadcast of En familia con Chabelo in November 2015.