How Carlo J. created Panday
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - April 4, 2005 - 12:00am
Curtain-Raisers:

• Did you know that the jail in Van Nuys, San Fernando Valley, California, where Nora Aunor was briefly detained after she was caught reportedly with prohibited drugs in her hand-carried bag was the same jail where Hollywood actor Robert Blake (star of the movie In Cold Blood and the TV series Barretta) was also held on charges that he killed his wife? Blake was recently acquitted.

• Melanie Marquez’s summer Fashion Workshop starts tomorrow, April 5, with another session the next day (Wednesday, April 6), at Level 1 East Maya Drive, Philam Homes, Quezon City. (For inquiries, call 815-4872 or 0917-4975576.)

• My piece on Bicol (A Trip Back to the Past) drew varied rejoinders, with some readers calling my attention to actors missed out in my list of Bicolanos in showbiz. From Joe Colipano of 1242 The Pointe Drive, West Palm Beach, Florida: Bentong and Aya Medel (both from Tabaco City), Eddie Ilarde (Camarines Sur) and Roderick Paulate (Legazpi City)... From Romeo Dino (no address given): Aurora Salve, Cecilia Lopez, Marlene Dauden, Ramon D’Salva, Corazon Noble, Carmencita Abad and the late Dindo Fernando (from Sorsogon); Edna Diaz (Legazpi City); Luisa Montessa (Naga City); the late comedian Lopito (Nabua, Camarines Sur); and Aida Carino (Catanduanes).
* * *
One rainy night 26 years ago, writer-producer-director Carlo J. Caparas couldn’t put himself to sleep. He kept tossing in bed. Something was cooking in his fertile imagination. An idea for yet another komiks hero was slowly but surely taking shape in his mind. Before the crack of dawn, voila, Carlo J. created another legendary folk hero which he called Panday. Then simply a komiks superhero; now a legend, especially since it was no less than Da King himself, FPJ, who breathed life into it on the big screen.

"I patterned Panday after FPJ," Carlo J. told Funfare. "Writers (like me) of high-adventure stories had no other actor in mind than FPJ as bida when they drew their (komiks) novels. Panday was made-to-order for FPJ. I asked Steve Gan (the artist) to copy FPJ’s facial features to the smallest detail when Panday was serialized in Pilipino Komiks. Pero siempre, hindi naman nakopya eksakto ni Steve although hawig na hawig."

Panday
, whose new adventures were later serialized in Liwayway magazine and People’s Journal, made a big leap from the komiks pages to the big screen that same year (1979), with FPJ in the title role. Three more Panday movies followed until 1984 – Ang Pagbabalik ng Panday, Panday Ikatlong Yugto and Panday Ikaapat na Aklat – all smash-hit top-grossers in Metro Film Festivals. There would have been one more Panday in the 1985 Metro Filmfest but Seiko Films decided to enter another Carlo J. Caparas story (God Save Me) in the festival, which also finished at No. l.

After FPJ, two other actors jumped into the Panday costume which has hardly changed through the years, including Bong Revilla in a Regal movie directed by Peque Gallaga and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in Hiwaga ng Panday, produced by Carlo J. and wife Donna Villa’s Golden Lions Films, where Jinggoy sort of "reinvented" the character by wielding not a sword but a gun after he got his super power from the original Panday character.

"Panday is an original Pinoy superhero," said Carlo J. "Panday gets his super power from a small stone called taeng-bituin (literally meaning ‘droppings of the stars’). When I was young, my playmates and I would search those small stones which we called taeng-bato. We broke them. Iba ang loob, makikislap. Years ago, meteorites rained on Paracale (Camarines Sur) and the small stones looked like taeng-bituin."

Carlo J. felt that FPJ would fall in love with Panday.

"Only a few weeks after the Panday series came out in Pilipino Komiks," said Carlo J. who, like FPJ, is a "king" in his own right (you know, Komiks King, Massacre King, etc., named as he was after King Charlemagne, the man who crossed Italy and spread literature), "FPJ called me. I wasn’t a producer then; writer lang ako. FPJ was very creative. Kung nagsulat siya sa komiks, I’m sure he would have been a Komiks King also; baka siya ang naging kalaban ko."

So identified was FPJ with Panday that the character stuck like second skin to him. When he ran for President last year, the millions who flocked to his rallies from Aparri to Jolo would shout, "Panday! Panday!! Panday!!!" after chanting, "FPJ! FPJ!! FPJ!!!"

The unbeatable tandem of FPJ and Carlo J. gave birth to another memorable character, Totoy Bato (the hardcore boxer), which pre-dated the Hollywood character Rocky played by Sylvester Stallone. The first Totoy Bato (with Charo Santos as FPJ’s leading lady) was followed by two others, Durugin si Totoy Bato and Lumaban Ka, Totoy Bato.

"It was FPJ who helped me win my first trophy with Totoy Bato," said Carlo J. who partnered with FPJ in several other films, including Maestro, Sambahin ang Ngalan Mo, Daang-Hari, etc.

Sometime in June or July, Panday will rise again in the ABS-CBN fantaserye, with Jericho Rosales in the title role (getting his super power from an older Panday character played by Phillip Salvador). Shooting of the fantaserye is now in progress in Ilocos, with Toto Natividad as director.

Carlo J. and Donna had a hand in choosing the actor for the title role.

"Jericho is our unanimous choice," said the Golden Lions couple. "We couldn’t think of any other young actor today who would fit Panday’s shoes."

Said Carlo J., "I’m grateful to ABS-CBN and to Donna (who negotiated with the station for the fantaserye) for making this TV spectacle possible. The Panday followers will be happy, I’m sure. The regrouping of Panday followers will be easy because of the impact of television. The Panday fantaserye is one of FPJ’s legacies to his millions of fans."

Commented Donna, "We are overwhelmed by the budget ABS-CBN is pouring into the fantaserye. It’s far bigger than the budget of a movie spectacle."

Carlo J. could have directed the fantaserye himself but for another project (with Pampanga Congressman Mikey Arroyo in the lead) that will start rolling next month.

"I’ve seen Toto’s action movies and he’s the perfect director for the fantaserye," said Carlo J. who is closely supervising the shooting.

Asked what new superhero is taking shape in his fertile imagination, Carlo J. joked, "I’ll lose sleep over it tonight. Ask me tomorrow morning."
Briefly Noted
• The Pope, who died yesterday (9:37 p.m., Saturday Rome time), touched millions of people around the world. One of them was Jose Mari Chan who recalled Pope John Paul II’s visit here. "I was the emcee during a musical presentation for him at the PICC. My wife Maryann and I had the rare, wonderful opportunity of kissing the Pope’s hand," recalled Joe Mari. "His hand was soft and tender. I saw the Pope again during the Jubilee Year Mass at the St. Peter’s Square in Vatican where Cris Villonco and I sang. Maryann was among those who received Communion from the Pope. He was a morally strong leader of the flock and a great communicator and evangelist. I will cherish my encounters with the loving Pope as long as I live."

• Mylene Dizon (left) gave birth to her and Paolo Paraiso’s love son at 2 a.m. at the Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago. It was a normal delivery, with Mylene laboring for more than 21 hours. The boy, said to be a carbon copy of Paolo who was there with Mylene’s mom to give the brand-new mom moral support, will be named Tomas Miguel Paraiso.

Meanwhile, Rita Avila (left) texted Funfare that she’s eight weeks pregnant with her and husband director Erick Reyes’ first child. Also, Matet de Leon is again heavy with her and husband Mikey Estrada’s second child. Matet gave birth to their first-born only a few months ago.

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph)

A TRIP BACK CAMARINES SUR CARLO CARLO J FPJ KOMIKS LEGAZPI CITY PANDAY PILIPINO KOMIKS TOTOY BATO
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