|Created by||Roberto Gómez Bolaños|
|Written by||Roberto Gómez Bolaños|
|Starring||Roberto Gómez Bolaños
|Country of origin||Mexico|
Los Caquitos (English: "The Little Thieves") is a sketch comedy of the Chespirito television comedy program that ran from 1980 to 1995. It was created by Roberto Gómez Bolaños, who also played one of the title characters, "El Chómpiras".
Originally, Chómpiras was a pickpocket and cat burglar who worked with an associate named Peterete (Ramón Valdés). Their skills in thievery were marginal, but Peterete was ostensibly the more intelligent and skilled of the pair. Together, they were known as Los Caquitos (which is roughly translated as "The Little Thieves", "caquito" being a diminutive of "caco" which is Spanish for "thief" or "hoodlum") and appeared on Chespirito's comedy programs in the 1970s, usually preceding an episode of El Chavo del Ocho or El Chapulín Colorado that did not last the full half-hour. By 1973, El Chavo episodes were all a half-hour long and did not need the filler sketches, and shorter Chapulín episodes ceased to use Caquitos sketches, so the characters virtually disappeared.
Debut on Chespirito
In 1980, a new show premiered called Chespirito, which was an-hour-long and employed all of Chespirito's characters in sketches of varying lengths. On Chespirito, El Chómpiras and Los Caquitos were revived. However, Ramón Valdés had left Chespirito's troupe in 1979, so Peterete was forgotten and replaced with Botija (Édgar Vivar). Since most of the Caquitos sketches performed on the new show were simply remakes of the ones that had appeared years before on the older ones, Botija's character was extremely similar to Peterete's, except physically, since Botija was extremely fat, and Peterete was extremely thin.
The characters weren't very fleshed out originally, but as Chespirito began writing new sketches for the hour-long show, some of which lasted the entire hour, their backstories became more expanded. Botija was single at first, but got married very quickly to a woman called Chimoltrufia (Florinda Meza) who had moplike hair, a chipped tooth and constantly chewed a piece of gum. She was soon established as the conscience of the sketches; often she would earn money doing a respectable job, usually cleaning or babysitting. Many episodes didn't have to do with Chómpiras's and Botija's incompetent burgling, but instead focused on life in Chimoltrufia and Botija's tiny apartment. A neighbor named Doña Nachita (Angelines Fernández) started appearing frequently and eventually became a regular. Policemen were a regular feature in Caquitos sketches, but by the mid 1980s, Rubén Aguirre became the sketch's definitive policeman, the dimwitted Sgt. Refugio. Around this time, there were many sketches that took place at the police station as the characters tried to argue their innocence after being arrested; presiding over these cases was a judge played by Raúl Padilla, who was eventually named Licenciado Morales.
By the late 1980s, Chespirito started shifting away from Chavo and Chapulín sketches, as Chespirito and the others were getting older and less believable in those roles. The focus went to Los Caquitos, prompting a major change. Inspired by an episode of El Chavo, in which Chavo is wrongly accused of stealing, Botija and Chómpiras vow to never steal again and get honest jobs. They and Chimoltrufia eventually settle into jobs at the inexpensive Hotel Lucho, run by Don Lucho (Carlos Pouliot). Chimoltrufia was a chambermaid and always did her job to the best of her ability, but Botija and Chómpiras tried to get by doing as little work as possible.
As the years passed, Chimoltrufia became more and more prominent until she was as much of the focus of the sketch as Chómpiras, possibly more. (To call it a "sketch" is not really fair at this point; by 1992, almost all Chespirito episodes were hour-long Chómpiras "sketches".) A few changes came at that time. First, Angelines Fernández stopped appearing (presumably due to her declining health and subsequent death in 1994 from lung cancer) and was gradually replaced by Chimoltrufia's mother Espotaverderona (Anabel Gutiérrez), who looked like a plump, middle-aged version of Chimoltrufia. Also, one hotel guest began appearing regularly, her name was Maruja (María Antonieta de las Nieves) and she attracted the attention of a lot of men, especially Sgt. Refugio. Then, Don Lucho closed his hotel, and the trio had to look for other jobs. For several episodes they tried other lines of work, but in 1993 a new hotel opened, run by Don Cecilio (Moisés Suárez) and they got their old jobs back. Cecilio's hotel, Hotel Buenavista, was nicer than Don Lucho's, but the routine was just the same and some of the storylines from the early Lucho episodes were recycled. In 1994 and 1995, Chespirito started returning to its old format of presenting several different sketches during the show, but most featured a long Chómpiras sketch. In 1995, Chespirito decided to bring the whole thing to a close and stopped producing episodes.
For a short time, Édgar Vivar left the show due to health problems stemming from his weight. To explain Vivar's absence, it was written into the show that Botija was away at a weight-loss clinic, which was also the actor's real-life health situation. Vivar would return some time later, having lost a noticeable amount of weight.
- El Chómpiras (Roberto Gómez Bolaños) is the title character. Previously he was an "amateur" thief as he recalls, along with Peterete and later Botija. Both he and el Botija stopped being thieves after viewing an episode of El Chavo del Ocho where el Chavo was falsely accused of being a thief and ran away. The episode so touched their conscience that they gave up their criminal lives to become honorable men. Chómpiras' full name is Aquíles Esquivel Madrazo, and was only mentioned once in passing. Usually when asked, he would attempt to give his full name, but would be interrupted, similar to el Chavo del Ocho. In interviews, Bolaños said that out of all of his characters, he enjoyed playing el Chómpiras the most.
- El Peterete (Ramón Valdés): El Chómpiras' original partner in crime. After Vivar's Botija character took his place, no mention was made of what happened to El Peterete. It is believed that this was due to Valdés no longer being involved with the Chespirito program, whether due to failing health or his decision to appear on Ah, Qué Kiko! with Carlos Villagrán.
- Gordon Botija (also known as El Botija) (Édgar Vivar) is the second regular from 1980 to 1995. He is "large", and was also a thief along with Chómpiras. Botija married Chimoltrufia, and later worked in the Hotel Buenavista. Over the length of Vivar's tenure as Botija, the character's last name has changed. In one of the earliest sketches, he claimed that his first name was "Boti" and his last name was "Ja". In other sketches, he claims his full name is "Gordon Botija y Aguado", and in others, "Gordon Botija Pompa y Pompa". Both names were puns on Vivar's rotund figure. The character also claims that his father was English, and that he was also a fan of Flash Gordon, hence his first name of "Gordon". Following Vivar's gastric bypass surgery, he retired the character of Botija.
- La Chimoltrufia (Florinda Meza), born María Expropiación Petronila Lascuráin y Torquemada de Botija, is the wife of Botija. She has broom-like hair and works as a hotel maid. She has an extremely roundabout manner of expressing herself, a strong sense of justice, and a singing voice that could curdle milk. She is also quick to resort to physical violence against others who she thinks are doing her wrong.
- Sargento Refugio Pasguato (Ruben Aguirre): Dutiful but dumb, Sargento Refugio is one of the only police characters seen working in Licenciado Morales' office. Over the years, he has become friends with Botija, Chómpiras and La Chimoltrufia. Even so, his overzealousness causes them to end up in front of Licenciado Morales. Whenever he comes to a fairly obvious conclusion, he asks Morales "¿Merezco un acenso?" (Do I deserve a raise?).
- Doña Espotaverderona (Anabel Gutiérrez): La Chimoltrufia's mother. She has the same mannerisms as her daughter. She and Botija can't stand each other, especially because every time she stays in their apartment, he is relegated to the couch while she takes his bed. She also shares the same hot temper as her daughter; in one episode, Sargento Refugio attempts to help her cross the street—and is beaten quite soundly for his troubles.
- Don Cecilio (Moisés Suárez): Owner of Hotel Buenavista, the hotel where Chómpiras, Botija and la Chimoltrufia work. Wears extremely thick glasses.
- Don Lucho (Carlos Pouliot): The owner of Hotel Don Lucho, where Chómpiras, Botija and la Chimoltrufia originally worked. When Pouliot elected to leave the show, his absence was explained by saying that Hotel Don Lucho burned down, so the trio was forced to seek jobs elsewhere.
- Doña Nachita (the late Angelines Fernández): La Chimoltrufia's next-door neighbor and the apartment building's gossip. Does not always get along with Botija, but she is infatuated with Chómpiras.
- Marujita (Maria Antonieta de las Nieves): Sgt. Refugio's girlfriend, and an occasional guest at Don Cecilio's hotel—where she occasionally tries to get out of paying the bill. Although she mentions that she travels a lot for her job, her occupation was never revealed during the show's run. She and la Chimoltrufia very rarely get along, and it was hinted that Marujita was a woman of somewhat flexible morals. Occasionally referred to disparagingly as la tal Maruja (that so-and-so Maruja).
- Licenciado Morales (the late Raúl "Chato" "Padilla): Sgt. Refugio's commanding officer. Also good friends with el Botija, el Chómpiras and la Chimoltrufia. At the end of almost every episode, all three of them will end up in his office, having been brought in by Sargento Refugio for some controversy.
- Doña Ramona Pompa y Pompa (Édgar Vivar): Botija's mother. She was presented as a somewhat snobbish woman. Both she and El Botija are allergic to the smell of gardenias, and have been known to pass out.
- The comb: If Chómpiras angered Botija (or Peterete), the latter would take out a comb and painstakingly straighten Chómpiras's hair before giving him a hard slap on the face that sent him spinning (and disarrayed his hair).
- The Warning after the comb: After the classical comb slap, Peterete/Botija always warned Chómpiras (always starting with their catchphrase "y la próxima vez...": "And next time...") that the next time he screwed up or ticked them off again, providing a gruesome yet comical description on what they would do to him.
- Chimoltrufia's speech patterns: Chimoltrufia had a large number of nonsensical catchphrases, usually involving malapropisms, redundancies, or just plain weird speech. One of her best known catchphrases is "¿Para qué le digo que no si sí?": "Why would I tell you that it doesn't if it does?"
- The elevator: Working at the hotel, Botija usually read a book or slept inside the elevator he supposedly operated. When a customer wanted to use it, he told them to use the stairs. If they demanded an explanation, he replied that the elevator couldn't carry both his weight and the customer's. When the customer suggested that Botija step out and allow him to use the elevator, Botija refused, insisting that only he could operate the elevator. The end result was that the customer almost always ended up using the stairs—and lodging a complaint with Don Lucho or Don Cecilio. In one episode, the floor of the elevator gave way, and Botija was stuck.
- The tip: When working as a bellhop, Chómpiras would ask if he was going to receive a tip before he even carried any luggage, which angered Don Cecilio or Don Lucho. Oftentimes, he would refuse to carry a customer's luggage if they refused to tip him, which angered the management even more.
- Insults: Any time Chómpiras was insulted by someone (usually Botija) calling him an idiot or animal he would reply "¿Que soy QUÉ?": "I'm WHAT?", then the other character would repeat the insult in a louder voice, to which Chómpiras would take a completely relaxed attitude while saying "Ah, sí, sí": "Oh, yeah, yeah".
- The police station: Chómpiras, Botija and la Chimoltrufia would almost always end up in some sort of dispute that would involve Licenciado Morales (the late Raúl "Chato" Padilla). He would have to shout three times for them all to be quiet, and after the third time they would stop talking—all except for Chómpiras, who almost always would have the last word.
- The lady who runs the drugstore around the corner: Chómpiras' on-and-off lady friend. She occasionally allows him to sleep in the trastienda (back room) of the drugstore, but occasionally a wandering eye on Chómpiras' part gets him thrown out. Although she was an occasional plot point, she was never seen onscreen during the show's run.
- "Chespirito - Personajes - Los Caquitos". Chespirito.com. February 3, 2011.