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August 14, 2007 6:33 PM Subscribe
The Continental was a short-lived TV show that debuted in 1951 on KNBH Los Angeles and aired nationally on ABC and CBS during the 1952-1953 TV season. Sponsored by Cameo Stockings, the show featured Italian actor Renzo Cesana (who got discovered when Robert Rossellini produced a play Cesana wrote when he was 16!) purring seductively into the camera, while offering "sham-pan-ya" to an offscreen lady friend. Best known for inspiring a series of Saturday Night Live sketches starring Christopher Walken, the show inspired parodies in its own era, such as this Popeye cartoon (where Bluto tries to seduce Olive Oyl by posing as "The International"), a Jerry Lewis skit on the Colgate Comedy Hour that imagines the Continental as played by Marlon Brando, and a Pepe Le Pew cartoon where our amorous skunk attempts to seduce the feline object of his affection in The Cat's Bah. Unfortunately, Internet footage of the real show appears to be nonexistent, although you can buy some love songs recorded by the Continental off EBay.
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