Elías Alippi

Real name: Alippi, Elías Isaac
Nicknames: Flaco
Dancer, lyricist and actor
(20 January 1883 - 3 May 1942)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Orlando del Greco

e is remembered as one of the best theater artists in the River Plate area but he also added his gifts as tango dancer which he evidenced in many venues.

His debut on stage was in 1903 with the Jerónimo Podestá company at the Comedia Theater.

Later he formed his own teaming up with Francisco Ducasse, José González Castillo and Enrique Muiño, among others. The one known as Muiño-Alippi is the one the public do not forget, is the one people always remember when the good Argentine theater is concerned.

As playwright he became known with the sainete Fresco el Andarín, written in collaboration with Augusto Garrido. He released many plays more, from which we remember El Indio Rubio (The Blond Indian); El dolor ajeno (Somebody Else’s Pain), with José de Lara; ¡Viva la República! (Long Life To The Republic), with Maroni and Sanromá; Hay que hacer algo por la revista (Somethin’s To Be Done For The Revue) with Maroni and Alberti; ¡No se jubile Don Pancho! (Don’t Retire Frank!), Mi mujer quiere casarse (My wife wants to get married), El conventillo de las catorce provincias (The Tenement House of the Fourteen Provinces), El cantar de los tangos (Tango Singing), La borrachera del tango (The Tango Drunkedness), Tarantini y Cía. (Tarantini & Co), with Antonio Botta; Sos bueno vos también (You’re Good Too), with Folco Testena; Con esta... sí (With This One… Yes), Atención al fogonazo (Beware of the Blast), Hasta el San Martín no para (He Won’t Stop Until Getting To The San Martín), with Pascual Contursi, Telones y Bambalinas (Curtains and Backstages), Del tango al charleston (From Tango to Charleston), etc.

He contributed his great talent to the Argentine movies with Cadetes de San Martín, the first in 1936, Viento Norte (Northern Wind), Así es la vida (That’s Life). In the three with the famous Muiño-Alippi team. El mejor papá del mundo (The Best Dad in the World); Medio millón por una mujer (Half a Million for a Woman), with Eva Franco and Callejón sin salida (Dead End Street), with Maruja Gil Quesada. These were his films.

He was one of the best friends for Carlos Gardel, and consequently for the Gardel-Razzano duo.

When the singer died, recalling him he said: «I met Carlos at a dressing room of the Nacional Theater by 1907 or 1908 on those nights of bohemia. He already was a pleasant boy that sort of boasted a smile on his face. He always seemed to be plenty of happiness. By 1913 I had a theater company with Ducasse at the Nacional itself. One evening we went to the Armenonville where Gardel and Razzano were singing and we hired them for $ 20.00 a night. Those were heroic times! Time thereafter, around 1915, we went to Brazil. We failed and returned with no money, but Gardel left pleasant memories».

Let us remember that on his comeback from Brazil, he formed the Compañía Tradicionista Argentina which under the direction of José González Castillo staged Juan Moreira, Santos Vega and Martín Fierro at the San Martín Theater in the late 1915 with the contribution of the Gardel-Razzano duo and their songs.

At those performances very important men of the Argentine popular song appeared: Carlos Gardel, José Razzano, José González Castillo, Arturo De Bassi, Juan Sarcione, José Ricardo, Horacio Pettorossi, Amaro Giura, Francisco Martino, the Navarrine brothers, D'Angelo, and Alippi himself who wrote several tangos.

After one of those performances Gardel almost died at the Palais de Glace in a quarrel he had to defend him. Razzano recalled that sad event for the Cine Argentino magazine: «One evening, when we were leaving the San Martín, after the performance, on the corner of Esmeralda and Sarmiento, we were with Alippi, Morganti, Abelenda, Alfredo Deferrari (who together with Ernesto Laurent were Gardel’s best friends), Gardel and I, and they suggested going to the Palais de Glace which at that time was frequented by gangs of noisy young men. Deferrari agreed with me in not going there because we preferred the Armenonville where there were not so many quarrels.

«Despite our opposition they went there and Deferrari and I went to a cafe on Rincón and Rivadavia, a customary meeting place for our group. At the time of leaving the Palais de Glace, Alippi said hello to a group of young people who did not answer his salute, and, due to this, an incident started that resulted in a challenging invitation to a fight. They went out of the Palais de Glace and drove to a small plaza on Alvear Avenue. The challengers, first, and next Gardel and his friends. When they arrived at the appointed place, the first who stepped out was Carlos who was shot. The bullet had hit his lung. His life was in serious danger because he was between life and death for forty days. That bullet was never taken out and Gardel bore it throughout his lifetime».

It was in the early hours of the morning of December 11, 1915. On Gardel’s 25th birthday.

Alippi was born in Buenos Aires on January 20, 1883 and there he died on May 3, 1942.