El Santo (“The Saint”) is among the best-known Mexican masked luchadors. Born Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta in this city in 1917, he began his lucha libre (free wrestling) career in 1934 and adopted the Santo moniker and mask eight years later. He started out as a rudo character—meaning “tough one,”—before his popularity convinced him to transition into a técnico (“technical” or “face”) in the early 1950s.
His off-ring career began in fumetti-style comic books and led to his first official film appearance as the title character of the 1961 movie Santo vs. the Zombies. The last film he appeared in was 1982’s Fury of the Karate Experts, leaving behind a filmography of over 50 movies as both Santo and Rodolfo Guzmán. At the height of his fame starring in these B-movie style films, he was also known by the nickname of “El Enmascarado de Plata” (“The Silver-Masked One”). El Santo’s fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s was such that it even led to unofficial bootleg appearances of the character as far away as Turkey.
Rodolfo Guzmán died in 1984, passing on his wrestling heritage to his son Jorge Guzmán, known as El Hijo del Santo (The Son of Santo). The Son of Santo has been crucial in keeping the original character’s legacy alive in animated series, tributes, and the Museum of El Santo initiative.
With the help of local authorities in Tulancingo as well as private donors, a silver life-sized sculpture of El Santo was installed in the area of the railway station, and in 2009, one of the buildings was reopened as the Museo del Santo, showcasing some of El Santo’s early life in Tulancingo, his career on and off the ring, and the legacy left behind after his retirement and death.
Know Before You Go
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