Long before Tito, Vic and Joey (Eat Bulaga) and the controversial Willie Revillame, the TV game show genre was lorded over by Pepe Pimentel (or Tito Pepe to us 70s and 80s kids). His show was named Kwarta O Kahon and the mechanics were pretty straightforward–you just have to choose between the cash offered by Tito Pepe or the mysterious box that could contain something far more valuable than the cash or something trivial such as a pair of chopsticks.
Similar to today’s game shows, there were pretty lady co-hosts and some singing and dancing but nothing overtly sexual (walang Spaghetti na pababa!). Tito Pepe also did not resort to making the contestants cry while narrating their sob stories and there were no scandals during his day. Although he always portrayed himself as the ever-suffering victim of his
monster mother-in-law, I read somewhere that he had a very good relationship with his mother-in-law in real life.
Yesterday the news broke out that Tito Pepe was found unconscious in his bathroom with a wound to his head. He was later pronounced dead although doctors were still trying to determine if cause of death was the head injury (perhaps he slipped and bumped his head) or a heart attack. Although Tito Pepe has been out of the limelight in the last few years the news still made me sad because another icon from my childhood is gone.
Goodbye, Tito Pepe. Have fun in the afterlife. Maybe there the kahon will always have the jackpot.
*photo from video48.blogspot.com