And I had no idea that Charo’s got talent (video)

Earlier I posted a 1940s video of Liberace playing a wonderful piano in a movie.

I’d seen him on TV in the late 60s, but I was just a kid – so I remember the outfits, and him sitting at a piano, but I was too young to appreciate how well he actually played the piano. In that video I posted earlier, he’s just amazing. And it’s funny to see him in a white tux (or smoking jacket, or whatever).

Well, @ChaosMonkey mentioned on Twitter that now I should look up Charo playing guitar.

I kind of scratched my head even more on that one – Charo played guitar?

For you young-folk, Charo (aka Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza) is a Spanish-American woman who was big on TV in mid-60s and 1970s, especially on Carson (at least from what I remember). She played a bit of a busty blonde bimbo who kept saying “cuchi-cuchi.” Oh and she could barely speak English, or at least pretended to not know much.  She was quite funny and charming.  I used to love to see her on TV.

Here she is with Don Rickles on the Tonight Show – this clip will give you a very good feel for who she was. And I actually forgot how pretty she was. But that personality – this was a woman who could seriously hold her own, against Don Rickles, no less.

Well, apparently, Charo plays an awesome Spanish guitar.

Here’s one performance of hers on the Martha Stewart show:

And here’s another recent one from 2011 in California:

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Judychartrand

    charo is an awesome guitarist, but she is foolish as an actress.

  • Here’s a treat for a Rock Hudson fan: “Seconds”.

    Don’t read beyond the 1st paragraph in the plot description if you plan to watch the film.

  • Jerome Rowley

    I remember her saying once to Johnny Carson, “I hope this gets your appetite wet”, implying that she misunderstood the English saying “whet your appetite”, but no one gets develops that kind of exquisite pun by mistake. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing.

  • HolyMoly

    I remember Charo from my childhood, but never knew that she could play the guitar like that. I’ve only seen her bimbo routine. These video clips have given me a new respect for her!

    Speaking of talent, though I don’t know of many well known actors who did it, has anyone ever heard of the Dance Apache? I think it was a really popular style back in the 40s or 50s…I Love Lucy did a routine with it once. It’s a very violent looking dance (the French developed the style; looks like a pimp beating up on his prostitute, except in the end usually the prostitute ends up beating the pimp), but at the same time there’s quite a bit of acrobatic talent that went into it. Disturbing and fascinating all at the same time.

  • richardgrabman

    Next, you’ll be surprised to learn Dolly Parton can sing :-) Seriously, Charo was trained as a classical Spanish guitarist (by Andres Segovia, no less) and marrying Xaviar Cugat (when he was 66 and she was … either 15 or 20, depending on who you believe) was just a way to get her out of Francoist Spain. Alas, classical Spanish guitar playing not being exactly something that pays the bills in the United States, though being a big-breasted blonde does.

  • Ninong

    I remember that it was somewhat scandalous when Xavier Cugat married her because of the difference in ages. That was the theme of all the newspaper articles at the time. She was sort of a Spanish version of Lucille Ball, always acting goofy in all of her appearances and exaggerating her broken English for comedic effect. I do not believe she was only 15 when she married Cugat in 1966. That I find completely ridiculous! She was older than 15, or at least she certainly looked older than 15, but I can’t say exactly how much older. So to me, at the least, the 1951 year of birth is total BS.

    Here’s her son by her second marriage:

  • I’m familiar with the film — and yes, Walken’s Gabriel was terrific.

  • samizdat

    Wow, I completely forgot her talents on the Spanish guitar. I actually remember seeing her on the Tonight Show, and being maaaaybe ten/twelve years old, I was a bit confused. I mean, damn she was hot, but then…holy smokes, could she work that fretboard. Great sound and technique, too.

  • keirmeister

    Oh Charo! Jeez John, you’re really taking us back! And who can’t adore such a vibrantly awesome woman strumming Malaguena Like A Boss?

  • caphillprof

    Charo has been a big hit on gay cruises.

  • olandp

    As a former tap dancer myself, I wish you could hear his taps. Great tribute to Fred Astaire, the greatest male dancer of all time!

  • HKDaniel

    She’s not only good, she was, at least for a few years, considered one of the best classical guitarists in the world, right up there with Andres Segovia and Christopher Parkening.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    His movies show an amazing range, also. I recently rewatched ‘The Prophecy’, which is hard to classify, sort of a supernatural, but not horror show, rooted in the beliefs some Christians hold about war among the angels fighting over how to get back in good with God, meanwhile screwing over humans to get there. It is actually an excellent film, and Walken gives a bravura performance as a profoundly troubled and ruthless Gabriel.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    Absolutely. Wife and I recently watched 1980 movie, Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mirror Cracked’, with Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. Outstanding production and acting all around.

  • Indigo

    Rediscovering the talent, are you? Here’s one for you, Rock Hudson movies. He really was a decent actor.

  • I love Charo — and I always liked her best when she wasn’t doing the silly Latina bimbo routine but played guitar instead.

    Here’s another “star with unexpected talents”. I give you Christopher Walken — dancin’ fool. Trust me, he’s amazing. (It takes about 30 seconds or so before he starts…and the end is well worth waiting to see.)

  • Back in the day (before Beck I think) there were only 3 TV stations and recording studio sessions were tremendously expensive. To get on TV or to get a record produced you had to be one talented mofo.

    Movies too, but in a different way.

  • FunMe

    I think CHARO is so much fun! I hope you also know that she is in our camp. She came out as lesbian a few years ago. Love her!

  • Randy

    She studied classical guitar with nuns in Spain for several years, and was always proud of her ability to play well.

  • Finn

    I’ve known about her amazing guitar work for many years but it’s funny this came up today as I have one of my favorite Magnetic Fields lyrics/song stuck in my head:

    Acoustic guitar
    If you think I play hard
    Well you could have belonged
    to Steve Earle
    Or Charo or GWAR
    I could sell you tomor-
    Just bring me back my gi-i-i-irl…

  • eahopp

    Charo ROCKS!

  • I just coochie coochied in my pants.

  • Rickles looks stunned

  • that is some awesome flamenco

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