The legend of Crox Alvarado, the Tico who fought against El Santo

As soon as Crox Alvarado came on screen, the entire theater was screaming. They weren’t screams of breath; just the opposite. The children raised their voices with a big “booo” for the Costa Rican actor.

But it wasn’t because he was a bad actor, far from it. It is because on the screen he was facing El Santo, the Mexican idol of wrestling that is still remembered as an emblem and is a symbol of countless tributes.

The tico was the henchman of an evil witch and was trying to get rid of the masked hero that the public loved so much.

“He had a bad face,” recalls William Venegas referring to Crox Alvarado in his movie attire. By 1964, Venegas was a teenager who did not miss the appointment to see a movie of his favorite hero. The newspaper’s future film critic The nation he faced the hatred of seeing an enemy of his hero, with the particularity that that antagonist had been born in his own country (something he realized years later, of course).

“It surprises me that people don’t talk so much about Crox, who was someone incredible,” recalls Venegas, opening his chest of golden memories.

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William Venegas remembers that his days as a child were happy because he could go out alone and, especially, go to the movies as he pleased and make friends right there. All the infants of his time had, in the extinct Cine Jara de Heredia, a cathedral to be who they wanted to be, without anyone’s supervision.

As a religious ritual, William and the neighborhood met at twelve noon outside the cinema. In a little bundle that he always carried, there were always the Lone Ranger, Superman and Tarzan comic strips.

He had read them all week so that on Sunday he could trade his comics for other hero and cowboy magazines.

Once the exchange was made, the special moment arrived. At one in the afternoon, the theater was filled with sweat, snot, and the screams of children because some film of the Saint appeared on the screen. The five cents he kept in his pocket was more than enough for that fun ticket.

In those days, of course, what mattered was standing up in the seat and applauding El Santo, that man with the silver mask that fascinated him so much.

“That’s how I found out about Crox. A long time later I found out that he was a Tico, but I think he was the favorite villain. He was a good bad guy. See how much time has passed and I still remember it,” says Venegas. “It was quite a sensation for the kids of the time. We always had him present in each of the fight movie sessions we went to.

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Crox Alvarado, whose real name was Cruz Pío Socorro Alvarado Bolado, was born in Guadalupe, Goicoechea, in May 1910.

According to the genealogist Emilio Gerardo Obando Cairol in an article published on the portal Magazine, Alvarado went to Guatemala at an early age to study at the Liceo San Luis de Don José V. Vásquez, located in Santa Tecla.

In 1929, after studying accounting, Cruz began to work in a cigar store, but soon began planning for his future. Could it be that Mexico would open up like a board of possibilities?

That’s how it went. The following year, in 1930, Alvarado went to the Federal District of Mexico (today Mexico City) where he found a place in a trade that, in those years, was becoming industrialized. It was nothing less than caricature, an art that Mexico managed to exploit.

“In Mexico, he took advantage of his innate and creative drawing skills to enter the medium as a cartoonist. Alvarado eventually collaborates as a cartoonist in the magazine filmographicwith notable caricatures of national and international stars, later he will do them for Cinema Reporter”, says the genealogist Obando Cairol in his article.

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“Alvarado’s exceptional strokes did not envy anything to those of the most notable caricaturists of the period for the elegance of their lines and the expression of their models. And it is that he possessed great acuity and intuition; he opined on what he saw and added what he thought. His portraits are characterized by the elegance of his lines, the correct expression of his models and an acid sense of humor, ”adds the specialist in the text.

Obando dedicated himself to giving Alvarado a clue for the elaboration of his article Crox Alvarado, first Costa Rican actor in Mexican cinema, a historical and genealogical studywhich was contained in Magazine No. 53 of the Costa Rican Academy of Genealogical Sciences.

Right there he details that the Tico had to experience, in 1931, the full height of the Mexican struggle, in addition to the comic strip. With this scene in the background, he was able to witness the first wrestling performances at the famous Arena Modelo, where he was tempted to try his luck.

It turns out that Alvarado was talented and other gladiators like the popular Jesús “Murciélago” Velázquez knew about him quickly.

“The first, his mentor, was one of the original and eccentric stars of the world of wrestling, when it was in its early stages of development. Although Crox’s foray into wrestling should not have been prolonged, he is recognized as one of the fighters who went from the ring to the screen, since his experience in that field and his excellent condition as an athlete allowed him to be considered later. in roles of great relevance in the cinema”, says the genealogist in his text.

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The effervescence of his name grew so much that his name reached the ears of the mythical Jorge Negrete, emblem of Mexican music, who did not hesitate to sign him to his popular and influential circle of friends.

The singer convinced him to migrate to acting and he went to the tape The Eagle Cemetery a story about a forbidden romance, which Alvarado entered the word of mouth of the Mexican cinephile. By partnering with Negrete (he even became her secretary and rumors say he was in charge of uniting María Félix with her friend for her marriage), her name was baptized for the protection of an exceptional godfather.

His first role (a small supporting role) was in the movie Under the sky of Mexico, of Ferdinand de Fuentes. Later, he managed to make room for himself on the tape that defined his future: it was about Lady Devil, where he shared the stage with Víctor Junco and the legendary María Félix. After that, everything would change. This film would see the light in 1950.

As if it were a testament, Jorge Negrete bequeathed fame to the Tico. In 1953, when the Mexican idol died, it was the year the film came out the magnificent beastcolossal work that today is remembered as the origin of the wrestling cinema.

In the 1950s, television was a medium on the rise and with the beginning of wrestling broadcasts from the Arena Televicentro and the Arena Coliseo, it was thought what the next step would be for these shows. The result was this film lasting two hours and fifteen minutes, a record for that time. It was there that Crox Alvarado had the privilege of being part of the arrival of this sport on the big screen, since he played a poor young man who enters the fight to get out of his precarious situation.

Later, his prolific career would come. After the acclamations that she had the magnificent beastAlvarado was chosen to participate in the legendary film The silver maskedthe work that would immortalize El Santo.

“Seeing him on screen was something that moved people. We all went to applaud El Santo and when we saw Crox, people reacted. Of course, we didn’t know that it was a Tico who was fighting El Santo, no Until years later.”

— William Venegas, film critic

From there derives a curious story, which William Venegas recalls. “When that movie came out (The silver masked) everyone started making rumors about who El Santo was and people said it must be Crox. It was something that was thought. Can you imagine that El Santo would have been a Tico?

All those theories fell apart when El Santo and Crox Alvarado worked together on the film witches attackreleased in 1964. In that tape, Crox is a lawyer who is a member of a criminal gang.

But that would be later. In the 1950s, Crox had its heyday, especially in 1953.

That year he worked on the feature film The net, with none other than Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, considered one of the best Hispanic directors of his time. The thrust of “El Indio” was so great that the film reached Cannes and, with the image of the Tico on the screen, the film won the award for “best film told in images” at the French festival. Quite a milestone.

For all this journey is that the genealogist Obando catalogs Alvarado as “the first Tico to venture into and consolidate himself in Mexican cinema, with a career that goes from 1937 to 1983; that is, 47 years of participating in films both as a secondary actor and as a main actor, for a total of 92 films, in which he was directed by directors with an outstanding presence in Mexican cinema and acted alongside actors and actresses of recognized prestige. ”.

William Venegas has a similar opinion: “He was the one who started the path of the Ticos in Mexico. Now it is very common to see someone go there, but at that time it was quite daring and quite a gamble to go looking for luck the way he did. And well, in the end everything worked out for him and I think he marked a first step”.

Alvarado died of cardiovascular problems in Mexico City, on January 30, 1984. His memory tries to recover whenever he can, as in the gatherings with William Venegas where his figure always appears.

Venegas, like many others, knew that Crox was not the Saint. Rather, the Costa Rican actor was another legend with an incomparable legacy that deserves to be remembered.

The legend of Crox Alvarado, the Tico who fought against El Santo