Continental, The

The showbiz nickname of the suave, debonair, Italian born Renzo Cesana who was the focus of the romantic program simply called THE CONTINENTAL/CBS/ABC/1952-53.


The Continental was a video gigolo whose job was to “woo” bored housewives with 15-minutes of intriguing conversation (one-sided as it was).


Looking into the camera lens, this eager to please well-mannered Italian lover talked in a husky voice to his female viewers and offered them cigarettes, cocktails, or a comfortable chair. And when it was over the Continental hopefully left them wanting for more.

Note: During a 1952 episode of THE RED SKELTON SHOW, host Red Skelton donned a smoking jacking and with a bottle of bubbly spoofed The Continental. Here is the introduction to that sketch from the program:


 “Justifiably popular on the television airwaves these days is a certain charming man of the world who addresses his intimate remarks directly to the ladies. Red Skelton now offers — and it’s all in fun — his impression of this glamorous gentleman.”

This series later inspired 1950s comedian, Ernie Kovac to do a parody called “The County-Nental” about a country-bumpkin gigolo who wore overalls, and poured moonshine from a jug. Whereas Renzo Cesana would say, “Don’t be afraid, darling, you’re in a man’s apartment,” The County-Nental would look into the camera lens and with whisky-soaked breath say, “Don’t be feared, this is only a man’s silo.”


Both comedian Billy Crystal and later actor Christopher Walken revived this romantic character on a skits written for NBC’s SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in the 1980s & 1990s.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Romance, Showbiz Nicknames

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: