Places to date in Rio – 1951

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I came across a January 1950 article about “Pontos de namoro no Rio de Janeiro” (Places to date in Rio), and although it isn’t entirely focused on Rio, I thought I’d extract the interesting parts, which I’ll attempt to expand upon. The word “date” here refers more to making out and/or being affectionate.


In the section on how to date in secret,

Right after the Radio Patrol (emergency police patrol, circa 1948) showed up, it wasn’t possible anymore to even hold someone’s hand without running the risk of being arrested.


In the section on the best dating spots,

Dating in a small city is one thing; in a big one, it’s another. The guys in Rio know this. Here, love is distributed, according to the social condition of the couple, via cinemas, public transport, beaches and streets. But dating on the street is the most important. In the opinion of those in-the-know, the adequate quintessential neighborhood for honest dating is Botafogo. […] the neighborhood, once called aristocratic, was always said to be a great place for love. Its streets lined with old houses and trees, at night, allow for conveniently dark areas on certain walls, and these, naturally, become full of couples. They are decent, calm and poetic places. Showing themselves useful, at times, due to shadows that extend for about five meters, perfectly fit for five couples. Those who pass by hear nothing. They seem mute. The most one can see are mouths that are glued together. The neighbors never call the Radio Patrol, which apparently no longer deals with this kind of thing.

It seems that the best dating spots in Rio are varied. Meier, when speaking of the suburbs, comes in first as the most preferred. To date in Meier is good, even if he and she come from different (train) stations. The streets there are calm, remote and full of dark spots. Not all stations have this. Madureira, for example, isn’t good for dating. The streets are without vegetation and are dangerous – there are bad people there who attack couples.

But this is from one side of the suburbs, from the other, the most credentialed is Penha, where the streets are duly calm. Couples from several of Leopoldina’s stations make it their meeting place.

Dating in Copacabana is always unattractive. In truth, couples from Copacabana kiss unabashedly. No one really cares. [There’s a part that’s hard to read, but that’s the end].

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The Cavalo from Cantagalo

Sometimes, one comes across the strangest of stories. A prime example being this one below from Careta magazine’s November 1957 edition.

In this apparently true story (I looked up the police commissioner’s name, and he a was real person), a horse falls off the Cantagalo hill at night and lands in a third story apartment of a residential building. The rest of the story is mostly people trying to understand what the hell is going on. The poor horse survives, by the way.

Careta 11-30-57

Note: The article says it took place in Copacabana, but the address is Barão da Torre, 33, which is clearly Ipanema. There’s nothing I can find of the era that would hint at a change in delineation of neighborhoods. Of course, if one goes back far enough, the entire area used to be known as Fazenda de Copacabana but that’s not really relevent here. The 2nd district police station being telephoned was actually located in Copacabana, so maybe that’s what’s being referred to.

Carioca slang – 1957

Going through an October 1957 edition of Careta, I found an article on the following slang of the era (some of which I’ve added photos to).

Transport

  • Coca-cola (cheap collective taxis)
  • Fominhas (mini buses)
  • Caraduras (cheap trolleys)
  • Taiobas (trolleys with different fares)
  • Calhambeque (old car)
  • Rabo de Peixe (Cadillac)
  • Tintureiro (police wagon for the imprisoned)
  • Rabeção (hearse)
  • Mãe carinhosa (ambulance)
  • Vaca leiteira (milk truck)
  • Andorinha (moving truck)
  • Filhos de Maria (blue & white buses)
  • Camões (an allusion to the Portuguese poet who was blind in one eye)

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  • Gostosões (modern and smooth)

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  • Sinfonia inacabado (‘without a head’)

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  • Papa-filas

15 - Papa-filas Grassi

Buildings

  • Bola de Noiva (Edifício Mayapan on Av. Almirante Barroso, 91)

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  • Balança mas não cai ( apartment complex on Av. Presidente Vargas, 2007)

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  • Tem Nêgo Bêbo Aí (Edifício Marquês de Herval on Av. Rio Branco, 185)

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  • Gaiola de Ouro (Câmara Municipal at Praça Floriano)

Professions

  • Marmiteiro (laborer)
  • Maria Condelária (government official)
  • Barnabé (humble servant)
  • Parasita (retired but still able to work)
  • Tubarão (successful business man)
  • Bôas Vidas (city councilor)
  • Pais da Pátria (members of parliament)
  • Chefão / Manda-Chuva (President)
  • Gafanhotas (military)
  • Panela de Pressão (night guard)
  • Cardial (special police)
  • Meganha (military police)
  • Cosme e Damião (MPs in pairs)
  • Olheiro (car attendent)
  • Papa-defunto (funeral agent)

Currency

  • Getulinho (‘tostão’)
  • Filipeta / Japonesa (1 cruzeiro)
  • Cachorro (5 cruzeiros, according to bet-takers)
  • Coelho (10 cruzeiros, for bet-takers)
  • Perú (20 cruzeiros…)
  • Galo (50 cruzeiros…)
  • Vaca (100 cruzeiros…)
  • Abobrinas (modern bills worth 1,000 cruzeiros)

Etc

  • Poeira (cheap movie)
  • Mata-ratos (cigarette)
  • Pasquim (newspaper w/o asking price)
  • Buxo (ugly woman)
  • Panamás (big scandals)
  • Mamata (easy job)
  • Pistolão (the ease of getting a Mamata)

Careta Oct 1957 Careta Oct 1957 p2

Pasmado Hill – Making room for the rich

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The Pasmado Tunnel connects Botafogo with Copacabana and Urca, passing through Pasmado hill. Construction started in 1947 and ended in 1952. The city, at the time, had horrible transit problems due to a surge in car ownership, which resulted in traffic congestion and accidents. The Lacerda government decided to relieve some of the pressure by making the tunnel. What ended up shortening travel time for those with enough money also meant increasing travel time for those with no money.

Following the opening of the tunnel, a small slum on top of the hill, known as the Favela do Pasmado, began to really grow in size, but by early 1964 it was removed and the space would be turned into a park and lookout point (which still exists).

Once the forced removal was complete (see images below), firefighters lit a controlled fire to burn any semblance of what existed before (a “purification by fire”, if you will). In total, 3,900 residents – or 887 families – were forced out and moved to the “projects”, mostly to Bangu. What was promised to them by the government, as incentive to accept the move, hadn’t become reality in October of ’64, as can be seen in this image saying they merely went from one favela to another.

Keep in mind, the post-removal fire is the opposite of what happened a few years later at Praia do Pinto in Leblon, which first was burned to the ground, then the residents were removed.

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If you’re interested in a good academic read on this favela removal, go here (PT). For the general wave of removals that happened in the 60s, there’s a promising 2013 documentary called Remoção out there but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be released publicly at any point. Below is the trailer.

The Pasmado tunnel, by the way, is also famous for a 1968 film starring singer Roberto Carlos, in which he passes through in a small helicopter.

Carnival 1953 – Lost Marchinha

In one of the old videos of Rio on Youtube, produced by Warner Bros, I heard a great little marchinha at the 1:20 mark, but which you can hear best starting at the 2:00 mark, going til 2:45, with some interruptions by the narrator. The lyrics are:

Ê, Ô, Ê, Ô, Ê
Meu bem, eu preciso de você
Como (o sabão) precisa do cachorro
E o nosso povo de ter um (c)oração
Como o batuque precisa lá do morro
E a cachaça precisa (do limão)

Ê, Ô, Ê, Ô, Ê
Meu bem, eu preciso de você
Meu bem, eu preciso de você

Se você me ama
Se você me ama
Eu quero a minha letra no seu monograma
Pra dizer a todos
Pra contar a todos
Que é com o meu sobrenome que você se chama
Não é Soares, não é Almeida
….
Se você não usar meu sobrenome
Eu tenho outro nome pra você usar

First, I had trouble finding the lyrics, then when found, words were missing so I had to listen many times to verses under the narrator’s voice and fill in some blanks. Plus, I couldn’t find any information at all on who created the song, nor any other version of it online anywhere.

I did track down the name of the director, André de la Varre, and found out it’s from 1953, not 1954. He was in Rio filming in late February of 1953. I even found the main marchinhas of ’53, but no titles pop out, aside from the biggest hit of that year, Cachaça (which people still sing today).

What struck me from watching the Rio Por Eles documentary series I posted in August 2016 is that many foreign clips of Rio had overlayed music that didn’t fit the reality of the visuals, which means the marchinha in question might be from a previous year.

It goes to show there are these great little things hidden in the past which fade into oblivion and if we look hard enough, we catch a scent on the breeze without ever knowing who or what it belonged to.