Spede Pasanen

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Spede Pasanen
Spede Pasanen, 1965.jpg
Spede Pasanen, 1965.
Born Pertti Olavi Pasanen
(1930-04-10)10 April 1930
Kuopio, Finland
Died 7 September 2001(2001-09-07) (aged 71)
Kirkkonummi, Finland
Occupation film director and producer, comedian, inventor

Pertti Olavi "Spede" Pasanen (10 April 1930 – 7 September 2001) was a Finnish film director and producer, comedian, humorist, inventor, TV personality and practitioner of gags.

During his career he directed, wrote, produced or acted in about 50 movies and participated in numerous TV productions, including the comedy Spede Show and the game-show Speden Spelit. Much of his more commercial work was in collaboration with Vesa-Matti Loiri (whose most popular character created by Pasanen was Uuno Turhapuro; first in TV sketches and then in a long-lasting series of motion pictures) and Simo Salminen. Pasanen's films and TV shows, often made fast and inexpensively in a conveyor-belt mode, usually didn't gain much recognition from the critics but were extremely popular among Finnish audiences from the 1960s onwards.

He was the owner of his own film production company, Filmituotanto Spede Pasanen Ky. He is noted as the main influence of many who make an attempt to break into the Finnish comedy scene. Spede also had a long, strained relationship with Suomen elokuvasäätiö, a government-financed film-funding organisation which continuously refused to fund his movies.

Influences and Comedy[edit]

Spede Pasanen named Bob Hope as one of his biggest comedy influences.

Spede Pasanen is considered emblematic of Savonian ironic humor varying between the fullest extremes of understatement and hyperbole. As he himself explained: "A Savonian never tells a thing exactly like it is." Spede's comedy denounced elitism and he explicitly sought to write and perform comedy for the largest possible audience.

His Uuno Turhapuro movies can be considered conventional farces. An unemployed slacker will, with comically incredible luck, a father-in-law who is rich and connected but unlucky (mainly due to Uuno), and with slick charm, end up in roles of minister, general officer, or rich man, usually causing havoc in the father-in-law's businesses.

Other achievements[edit]

Pasanen was also an inventor and jack-of-all-trades; he had over 50 patents registered to his name, and many of his films include Rube Goldberg-style gadgets. Besides gadgets involved with industrial production, his inventions include:

For a period of time Pasanen was also obsessed with inventing a perpetual motion device. His crude drawings of it also appeared in his sketchs shows and films. Once he became convinced that perpetual motion is theoretically impossible, he openly ridiculed himself in the character of Härski Hartikainen in one of the Uuno Turhapuro movies.

Personal life[edit]

Spede married Pirjo Vainimäki, the leading lady of his first starring picture X-Paroni, in 1965. Spede's first and only child, Pirre Pasanen, was born later that year. The couple separated in the early 1980s and divorced later.

A family private individual, Pasanen did not discuss his personal relationships in public. He had a long relationship with the 1976 Miss Europe, Riitta Väisänen. Pasanen valued loyalty and friendship, and even after separation, kept employing and financially supporting previous companions. During and after relationships, he vouchsafed confidentiality and privacy for all involved in his private life. His good relations with the media might have helped with this.

Pasanen's nickname "Spede" came from an earlier nickname "Speedy", referring to his prowess as an ice hockey player during his childhood.[1]

Notable collaborators[edit]


Writer, director or producer[edit]


  • Laivan kannella (1954)
  • Sankarialokas (1955)
  • Säkkijärven polkka (1955)
  • Villi Pohjola (1955)
  • Tyttö tuli taloon (1956)
  • Tyttö lähtee kasarmiin (1956)
  • Rintamalotta (1956)
  • Anu ja Mikko (1956)
  • Pekka ja Pätkä ketjukolarissa (1957)
  • Vääpelin kauhu (1957)
  • Pekka ja Pätkä sammakkomiehinä (1957)
  • Asessorin naishuolet (1957)
  • Pekka ja Pätkä Suezilla (1958)
  • Ei ruumiita makuuhuoneeseen (1959)
  • Mullin mallin (1961)
  • Taape tähtenä (1962)
  • Hopeaa rajan takaa (1963)
  • Pohjan tähteet (1969)
  • Tup-akka-lakko (1980)
  • Koeputkiaikuinen ja Simon enkelit (1981)
  • (Hei kliffaa hei! (1985)
  • Pikkupojat (1986)
  • Naisen logiikka (1999)

In the Uuno Turhapuro series, Pasanen played the role of Härski-Hartikainen, a car repairman with a cunning and ribald character, who often participated in Uuno's farcical adventures. His sidekick was Sörsselssön – earlier known as Lörssön (played by Simo Salminen).

Television series[edit]

Spede is considered the father of modern Finnish television sketch-humour. Starting his career on Yleisradio he later jumped camps to the competing MTV3 network. However, his work on both has been extremely popular. Apart from starring in these series he was also the main producer for many of the popular shows on MTV3, such as the game-show Kymppitonni and the cult-hit show Pulttibois.


  • Spede Show (1964, 1971–1976, 1982 ja 1984-1987)
  • Speden saluuna (1965)
  • Spedevisio (1965–1967)
  • 50 pientä minuuttia (1967–1971)
  • Robin Hood ja hänen iloiset vekkulinsa Sherwoodin pusikoissa (1974)


  • Kymppitonni (1985–2005)
  • Uuno Turhapuro armeijan leivissä (1986) (the film as a TV series)
  • Vesku Show (1988–1991)
  • Spede Special (1988–1990)
  • Pulttibois (1989–1991)
  • Spedestroikka (1990)
  • Junnutonni (1991)
  • Speden sallitut leikit (1990–1992)
  • Speden tee-se-itse TV (1991–1992)
  • Hynttyyt yhteen (1991–1995)
  • Speden spelit (1992–2002)
  • Tsa Tsa Tsaa (1993–1994)
  • Blondi tuli taloon (1994–1995)
  • Uuno Turhapuro (TV series) (1996)
  • Ihmeidentekijät (1996–1998)
  • Parhaat vuodet (2000–2002)
  • Kuumia aaltoja (2003)

Named after Spede Pasanen[edit]

  • SPEDE (Spacecraft Potential, Electron and Dust Experiment), an instrument attached to the SMART-1 lunar probe.


  1. ^ Toiviainen, Sakari: Spede Pasanen. kava.fi. Helsinki: Finnish national audiovisual archive. Accessed on 10 September 2012.

External links[edit]