don francisco
Don Francisco says goodbye to Sabado Gigante. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)

After entertaining Latino families for over five decades, “Sábado Gigante,” the longest-running variety show in history, aired its final episode on Saturday September 19. Although Univision announced back in April that Don Francisco was sticking around and working on other projects, we couldn’t help but to have all the feels while watching the show’s grand finale, “Sábado Gigante: Hasta Siempre.”

“Gracias a la Vida” written by Chilean performer Violeta Parra was the song used to welcome Mario Kreutzberger to the stage one last time. The TV personality opened the night by asking prayers for Chile (#FuerzaChile) after an 8.3-magnitude earthquake shook the nation earlier this week. With teary eyes, he proceeded to introduce some of his family members, which were present in the audience.

"Sábado Gigante" opened the doors to many of our favorite artists today, which is why Luis Fonsi, Espinoza Paz, Intocable, Prince Royce, Juanes and Laura Pausini graced the stage with their performances during this historic event in television and we all got to re-live the first time they ever appeared on the show.

Others like Marc Anthony, Plácido Domingo, Shakira, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, the President of the United States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, sent a quick live message with their best wishes for the finale and reminisced the first time they ever set foot on the “Sábado Gigante” stage. Daddy Yankee, who started his career on the show, performed his song “Vaivén” live from Madison Square Garden.

Throughout the night, Kreutzberger pointed out all the important people that were part of the audience, producers, directors, contributors, and the creator of the show’s popular phrase, among others.

One of the cutest moments of the night was probably when all the “Sábado Gigante” kids were joined on stage by some of the former kids, now al grown up and making a living in the entertainment business and even the government!

One of the surprises of the night was the presence of Mexican journalist Jorge Ramos, who couldn’t stop talking about “el maestro de la television’s” gift for journalism. Together, they talked about all the American leaders that have been interviewed by Don Francisco and the time he took his cameras to the “Twin Towers” before 9/11 happened. Enrique Iglesias was the second guest star on set, the Spanish singer made his debut on the “Sábado Gigante” stage 20 years ago, Don Francisco thanked him for always being such a good sport. The third person to sit down with Don Francisco was Valentín Trujillo, better known as “Tío Valentín,” who was the show’s music director for 41 years.

Another big surprise was when Don Francisco received a certificate from the Guinness World Records which made everything official: 53 years, 1 month and 11 days make “Sábado Gigante” the longest-running TV show in the world. Right after receiving the award, Don Francisco announced that they were breaking another record at that very moment: “Twitter Topic Mundial” - #SGHastaSiempre

And of course, the show would not be the same without one of our favorite characters, “El Chacal.” Familiar faces were part of this segment: Karolina con K, Tony Dandrades, Eduardo Antonio, Luis Alfonso Borrego, Sissi Fleitas, Carlitos Calderón and Zuleyka Rivera performed songs for Don Francisco. Following the, not so great, interpretations the moment we were all waiting for “El Chacal’s” identity was finally revealed! Julián Gil surprised everyone when he took the mask off revealing his handsome face.

Close to the end of the transmission, Don Francisco showed the audience that his show was never all about showbiz, the TV host always cared for families and reuniting them. For the last time on the set of “Sábado Gigante,” a father and his daughter saw each other after 25 years of being apart.In an emotional “Hasta siempre,” Gloria Benavides, “La Cuatro” gave her final performance on the stage that gave her a career and saw her grow as a performer all these years. The night ended with a beautiful message from Don Francisco and a song Emilio and Gloria Estefan wrote for the occasion called "Hasta Siempre."

Because “Sábado Gigante’s” success is due to the diversity in its production, games, sketches and contests were present during the grand finale. The Chilean host decided he wanted to end the show the same way it began and tonight, he proved why he is “El maestro de la televisión.” Hasta siempre Don Francisco!

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