Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
“Osaka Show” shows off the surprisingly progressive (and fun) side of state television under Francisco Franco.
“Progress and Harmony” was the official theme of the 1970 World Expo in Osaka. Spain insisted on bringing the latter.
TVE, Spain’s state-owned television network, created a one-off program, ”Osaka Show” to celebrate the international festival 6,500 miles away, using its strikingly futuristic architecture as a backdrop as famous singers belted out their own hits.
Despite living under Francisco Franco, a military dictator, Spaniards could often find an escape through pop culture on television. In the late ‘60s, TVE hired the producer and director Valeriu Lazarov away from his native Romania, where he was regarded as a television pioneer. “Oaska Show” was just one of many programs he developed for Franco’s network while becoming an integral part of Spain’s television history.
Lazarov arrived in Spain “as an international star” according to Peter Goddard in his book, Popular Television in Authoritarian Europe, and brought an internationalist perspective and psychedelic techniques to a mostly provincial media culture. His dizzying back-and-forth zoom earned him the nickname of—fittingly—“Mr. Zoom.” According to Goddard, Lazarov’s style was “both dreamlike and sensual, making it attractive to young people.” His work allowed Franco’s Spain an air of cultural progressiveness.
With “Osaka Show,” Spain could attach its own stars to one of the world’s most talked-about architectural events. Julio Iglesias, Miguel Rios, Karina, and Massiel charmed fairgoers while singing and strolling around the pavilions. Back in Spain, viewers got a glimpse of a fantastical landscape far away.
H/t Dangerous Minds