José U. Calderón and his wife Doña María Stell de Calderón began working with railroads and the telegram.

1904

José U. Calderón discovered the film industry at the St. Louis World Fair in Missouri.

1910

The family's film and cinematography business began at the exact time of the Mexican Revolution. Americans in Mexico had no other option but to flee the country and sell their properties at incredible bargains.


Hence, Rafael Calderón, José U. Calderón y Juan Salas Porras bought the "Cine Alcazar" from Americans, Buchowski and Williams.

"Parallel,

yet simultaneous worlds,

images like dreams"


Movie making and theaters were an illusion not a business at the time.


The Calderón family would rent out theaters and turn them into movie theaters in cities like de El Paso, Cd. Juárez and Parral, creating "el Circuito Alcazar" which ended up having 36 movie theaters of their own.


They were a complete success, and these group of men had the great idea of hiring movie stars to assist to the actual functions. Tickets for the movies were set at a very accessible price, so that no one would be left out of the movie going experience. It is even said that the indigenous people of Chihuahua would enter the theaters for free.

The key to their success were the actual films they acquired to project at their functions.

The Calderón family's demand for so much film for their own theaters, eventually led them into being film distributors themselves.

WIth the arrival of talking pictures, Spanish speaking audiences demand movies in their own language. This is how Mexican film production and distribution is born.


Production costs in Mexico were over the top and the government didn't make the film importation process any easier. Therefore, a different kind of solution had to be found.

Calderón and Salas Porras eventually founded "Azteca Films" and teamed up with Gabriel García Moreno, an engineer who is credited as the experimental inventor of film development. This team was the fist to offer post-production service in Mexico.

They eventually founded a Mexican film distribution company in The United States.

José U. Calderón moved to Mexico City to produce movies, and opens Azteca Films headquarters and "Cine Alcazar" there. He also became the official representative of "La Unión de Exhibidores del Norte"

SANTA:

First Spanish speaking film that excited the Mexican audience.


A union was created, to support the Mexican Film Industry, which financed movies such as "La Llorona"


1937

A 21 year old, Pedro Calderón (Perico) was the first of the Calderón sons to produce a movie: "La Zandunga"


"Zandunga" included 8 frames of nudity, which the mayor of Tehuantepec did not approve of.


World War II put a stop to production in Hollywood, which turned into the highest point of Mexican Cinema.

Calderón and Salas Porras theaters exclusively projected Mexican Films at the time.

The movie theater "Plaza" of Cd. Juarez was the most elegant and luxurious of them all.

It took merely a few months, by the time the tycoon Gabriel Alarcón and his associates owed all of the families theaters. Until this day it still remains a mystery why all 15 theaters were sold.

Ninón Sevilla starred in many of Perico's films. Which were the first musical pictures in Mexico.

Music placed a very important part in Calderón films.


1954

It occurred to Memo Calderón, that if he produced a film with frontal nudity, it would be a definite box office hit. The actress in this movie would be Ana Luisa Pelufo in "La Fuerza del Deseo".

The movie crated such a scandal, tanned was marked as a pornographic film my the media, giving the film even more popularity.

1956

New rhythms come in to play, Perico produced the first Mexican film that featured rock and roll music and dancing, which also included nude scenes. This movie turned into a huge scandal for the Mexican society.

The Calderón family replicated this fail proof formula for many years "aesthetic and static nude scenes" which resulted in high economic profits.

The government announced their plan to beat the "movie monopoly" and take over the Mexican film industry. A plan which they succeeded at.

60's

By this time, science fiction and horror films had become very popular. Jorge García Besné (husband to Mate Calderón) came up with the idea to produce movies staring the most important and famous Mexican wrestler of all time "El Santo" in these films. El Santo accepted the offer, he became of of Mexico's most important symbols, and every movie he starred in was sure to triple in prophet.

Meanwhile Memo Calderón struggled with his production of a very surreal "Santa Claus" film.


Memo Calderón noticed "El Santo's" popularity beaming, and convinced him to work with his production company.



But his films featuring el Santo had a twist: they included seductive women rolls, and racy B-side versions were filmed, which were projected censure-free in Europe.

70's

The president at the time, Luis Echeverría invited all the important Mexican producers to "Los Pinos" to a mysterious event, in which he announced in an offensive matter that none of these producers had a place in the industry anymore, because of the "poor content" represented in their films and all films should be produced as a form of social labor from then on.

By this time The Calderon's were known as the private indicative producers. They were accused of treating the industry as purely a source of income and business. This caused the film industry in Mexico to be divided into two groups, those who viewed it as an art-form and those who used the same formula for sure box office hits.



In this very event, Echeverría stated that the government would now be in charge of every single production made in Mexico, headed by his brother: Rodolfo Echeverría.


80's

Memo did not pay attention to his statement, and made the comment to Rodolfo Echeverría that he was about to produce a very strong and racy film. Mr. Echeverría ended up financing this very project. Which would later be known public as the first "Ficheras" genre film. This genre would later turn into the most despised type of film in Mexican history.





No one would have ever imagined that this "despised genre" would turn into such a huge success. The films became so popular that the public would frequently end up standing from their booths and dancing to the rhythm of "La Sonora Santanera"




The cabaret girls didn't offer culture to the Mexican people, but they sure had fun. With these films the Mexican film industry was economically relativized and gave many people jobs.



"People went to the movies to have fun, and thought: If Zayas and Inclán can get into bed with Sasha Montenegro or Angélica Chain, why can't I?


Memo Calderón turned into the highest money making producer of that era, and the racy "Fichera" movies added an extra 20 years to his career as a producer.




The day where Mexican viewers attendance started to decline came, because of the governments poor maitanance job in theaters.

Mexican movie theaters eventually turned into monuments to oblivion and forgotten. These was a very tough time for Mexico.


A few important actors who were part of Cinemaotgráfica Calderón's history:

Information based on the documentary: Perdida (Viviana García Besné, 2010)