Comments on: When death comes in installments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:54:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: ptiffany Sat, 13 Jul 2013 18:12:01 +0000 Who knew that the news media was mired in such trivialities? It seems that boredom and lack of controversy is what drives “news hounds” to the brink of death. Then, there must be a money angle to the issue.

By: dbuck Sat, 13 Jul 2013 13:09:15 +0000 Jack,
Excerpt below from the always helpful Wikipedia re “General Francisco Franco is still dead.” Dan

The death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco during the first season of NBC’s Saturday Night served as the source of the phrase. Franco lingered near death for weeks before dying. On slow news days, United States network television newscasters sometimes noted that Franco was still alive, or not yet dead. The imminent death of Franco was a headline story on the NBC news for a number of weeks prior to his death on November 20, 1975.

After Franco’s death, Chevy Chase, reader of the news on NBC’s Saturday Night’s comedic news segment Weekend Update, announced the dictator’s death and read a quotation from Richard Nixon: “General Franco was a loyal friend and ally of the United States. He earned worldwide respect for Spain through firmness and fairness.”[1] As an ironic counterpoint to this, a picture was displayed behind Chase, showing Franco giving the fascist salute alongside Adolf Hitler.[2]

In subsequent weeks Chase developed the joke into a parody of the earlier news coverage of Franco’s illness, treating his death as the top story. “This breaking news just in”, Chase would announce – “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!”[3] Occasionally, Chase would change the wording slightly in order to keep the joke fresh, e.g. “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still valiantly holding on in his fight to remain dead.”[4] The joke was sometimes combined with another running gag in which, rather than having a sign language interpreter visually presenting the news to aid the deaf, the show would provide assistance from Garrett Morris, “head of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing”, whose “aid” involved cupping his hands around his mouth and shouting the news as Chase read it. The gag ran until early 1977.