Edmundo Eichelbaum

Gardel, his own manager

n Gardel, his image made of him a model to imitate. His charisma and his international success always hid the conscious effort with whom he carried out his career and completed his artistic personality.

People listened to him, they were captivated by his voice, they copied as far as they could his way of dressing, repeated his witty remarks in lunfardo (a sort of slang), sang his tangos with the same gestures and regarded everything they admired in him as a miracle.

Gardel was so natural. The things he did were like that because he had the talent, he was gifted, God's favorite. «Everything was given to him graciously».

The people's mind would not imagine Gardel arguing about a contract, spending hours at work with the guitar players rehearsing a repertory or carefully choosing the clothes for his performance on stage. Very soon Gardel turned into a professional of song and his enterprise had neither statutes nor contracts, it was the Gardel-Razzano duet. He, (Razzano) had the easy attitude to understand in what places appear, in what concerts rooms, the type of repertory, the quality of the accompaniment, how they should be dressed, the need of perfection, the rehearsals, the amounts of money they should ask for their performances. Besides all this, that Gardel shared, he knew how to organize a repertory of pieces which depicted the themes and the language which expressed the Argentine man —the one from Buenos Aires, especially— of that time.

But probably late he considered José Razzano a poor administrator and since 1930 he undertook the responsibility of being his own manager. There was some help, as in the case of Mr. Pierotti in Europe, but without his own presence, it is possible, that he had never played in Paris. There was no better manager than his image and his voice. This has been ratified by Manuel Pizarro, a star then at the night club El Garrón with his orchestra and also a friend of the singer.

In a phrase in one of his letters dated in 1934 in New York, we can read: «This people wants to go on making movies with me up to the year 2000 provided they keep on making money». He was aware of which was the real situation of «business», he grew up in the streets and the experiences achieved made him realize that he «was a high quality product and that he could sale very well».

Gardel, the manager negotiated the agreements directly with the Paramount bosses and he reached a percentage in the profits aside from his earnings as actor.

His friends were his assistants in work and he had them by his side as a tribute to a past he did not want to lose, but he had in clear that he was a star after a major destiny.

That is why he did not accept to be a very well paid employee in the film company, on the contrary, he undertook the weight of his self-production. Years later it was a common thing that leading actors were their own producers, but Gardel had already made it. He was so many things for the ideal of Buenos Aires people and he still is, as a poet said: Gardel, in fact, never existed, he was an invention of ours on a Sunday afternoon when we were sad. And the invention, with the image of what we wanted to be but did not, turned out: «Dark-haired, glorious, well combed, everlasting as a God or like a record».