The Year We Were So Happy

The Year
We Were
So Happy

Brazilians have been hit by a serious nostalgia affliction since the recent release of Feliz
1958—O Ano Que Não Devia Terminar (Happy 1958—The Year That Shouldn’t End)
by Joaquim Ferreira dos Santos, Editora Record, 192 pp $22.
The book written by journalist Joaquim Ferreira dos Santos, who was only eight in 1958,
show why that was one heck of a year. These were, according to the book, more innocent
times in which the bambolê (hoola-hoop) was king, people listened to bossa nova on
the transistor radio and were interested in the Certinhas do Lalau (full-figured
guitar-shaped pin-up girls chosen by irreverent Rio’s journalist Sérgio Porto, better
known as Stanislaw Ponte Preta). The queen of gossip was Candinha and the funniest guys on
TV were called Zé Fidelis, a somewhat foul mouthed joker and Zé Bonitinho, an
incorrigible don Juan interpreted by actor Jorge Loredo When called gorgeous he would say:
"Gorgeous it is to see me washing my armpit while I sing "Tico-Tico no
Fubá." 1958 also saw Maria Ester Bueno winning Wimbledon and Cacareco, a zoo
rhinoceros from São Paulo, getting a seat at the City Council with 100,000 votes.
It was also in 1958 that Brazil won soccer’s World Cup for the first time. That year,
Miss Brazil—then a cared for institution—was Adalgisa Colombo. With popular
civilian President Juscelino Kubitschek, Brazil was the country of tolerance with a
growing feeling that every dream could be fulfilled.
That was the year architect Oscar Niemeyer was busy inventing Brasília, the town
created in the backlands that in two years would become Brazil’s futuristic capital. That
was also the year that the first almost-national car was introduced: it was the DKW-Vemag,
whose rate of nationalization was 78 percent. Even crimes seemed more cinematographic:
1958 saw one of the most infamous crimes of Brazilian history, the murder of Aída Curi.
The 23-year-old virgin was thrown from a building’s terrace at fancy Avenida Atlântica by
Cássio Murilo Ferreira da Silva, 17, and Ronaldo de Souza Castro, 19, who were trying to
rape her.
It was in 1958 too that avant-garde artist Flávio de Carvalho, who advocated skirts
for men in the tropics, shocked the nation by going out through the streets of downtown
São Paulo wearing a skirt. That same year vaudeville star Nélia Paula was the
protagonist of her own scandal becoming the first Brazilian woman to wear a bikini,
choosing Copacabana beach as her stage.
The hits of the year: "Apito no Samba" (Marlene), "Cabecinha no
Ombro" (Trio Nagô), "Cachito" (Nat King Cole), "Castigo"
(Dolores Duran), "Chega de Saudade" (João Gilberto), "Eu Não Existo Sem
Você" (Silvinha Telles), "Jailhouse Rock" (Elvis Presley), "Meu Mundo
Caiu" (Maysa), "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu" (Domenico Modugno), "Serenata
do Adeus"(Elizete Cardoso), "Vitrine e Escultura" (Nelson Gonçalves), and
"You Are My Destiny" (Paul Anka).
That’s also the year Jorge Amado released his international bestseller Gabriela
Cravo e Canela (Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon). Other important books published
at that time were: O Ventre (The Stomach) by Carlos Heitor Cony, O Homem ao Lado
(The Man Beside) by Sérgio Porto, Maria Beata do Egito (Blessed Mary of Egypt)
by Rachel de Queiroz, A Cidade Vazia (The Empty City) by Fernando Sabino, and Histórias
de Desencontros (Mismatches Stories) by Lygia Fagundes Telles.

’58 Slang
By

Then it was
cool to say:

Arigó—stupid

Bagulho, canhão, facão, estrupício—offensive names to call a woman

Barnabé—public worker

Borogodó—charm

Botar pra jambrar—to be a troublemaker

Broto, certinha, estouro, gostosura, pedaço, pancadão, uva—all
compliments to a woman

Charlar—to show off

Da fuzarca—party animal

Dar o beiço—(lit. to give the lip) to stiff someone

É da pontinha—it’s great

É de chuá—it’s great

É fogo na jaca—It’s a bummer

Eu quero é rosetar—I want to chase skirts

Ficar a bangu—empty handed

Ficar a neném—empty handed

Foi pro beleléu—it finished, it died

Fuinha—tightwad

Garota do barulho—super girl

Jiló—(lit. a very bitter vegetable) gay

Mandrake—gay

Matusquela—crazy

Me dá o meu boné—(lit. give me my hat) I am gone

Mocorongo—worthless person

No maior vai-da-valsa—by hook or by crook

Parangolé—bash

Que mocotó! —what a thigh!

Roxinha—prety black girl

Xaveco—problem

Ximbica—clunker

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