|Country of origin||Italy|
|Original network||Rai 1|
|Original release||1958 – 1974|
Canzonissima was an Italian musical variety show broadcast by Rai 1 from 1958 to 1974, aired on Saturday evening except for the last two editions in which it was aired on Sunday afternoon. The program was referred to as "the synthesis and the model of comparison of the Italian television variety".
It was born in radio as a song tournament in 1956, with the title Le canzoni della fortuna and gained great public success. The following year it was brought on television titled Voci e volti della fortuna and turned into a competition between amateurs from the various regions of Italy, with the participation of some professional singers, who competed in a separate group. In 1958 the variety took the name Canzonissima that remained until the end, with an exception from 1963 to 1967 when the transmission continued with new formats and new titles; Gran Premio, Napoli contro tutti, La prova del nove, Scala reale e Partitissima.
The show consisted of a musical contest (with singers combined with some state lottery numbers) from the elaborate rules which were generally different from one edition to another; the competition was interspersed with dances and comedy sketches involving special guests.
Edition od 1959 contributed to launch the Nino Manfredi's career, and the 1970, which launched the career of Raffaella Carrà. The 1962 edition, hosted by Dario Fo and Franca Rame, generated large political controversities due to use of censorship to cut some satirical sketches of Fo; the couple Fo-Rame was eventually fired, and the scandal lead to a long interruption of five years.
- Aldo Grasso – Massimo Scaglioni, Enciclopedia della Televisione, Garzanti, Milano, 1996 – 2003.
- Chiara Valentini. La storia di Dario Fo. Feltrinelli Editore, 1997.
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