The day a country sang in mourning

Over 100,000 people went to the cemetery to bid their last farewell to their idol, Pedro Infante

The day a country sang in mourning
Pedro Infante (left) & first page of EL UNIVERSAL newspaper of April 15, 1957 – File photos/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/04/2018 16:00 Reyna Avendaño Mexico City Actualizada 19:28
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Over 50 people had to receive medical attention by Red Cross personnel the day Pedro Infante was buried. Nervous breakdowns, bruises from brawls, heat strokes, and collapses were some of the illnesses which had to be treated on the day of his funeral.

Pedro Infante Cruz died on April 15, 1957, and the Panteón Jardín cemetery, which looks so peaceful today, was a scene of heartbreak and grief 63 years ago when thousands came to mourn the artist.

(Funeral of Pedro Infante -  Photo Gallery of EL UNIVERSAL)

EL UNIVERSAL visited this cemetery, located in Mexico City, where five flower bouquets and a touch of green grass decorate the final resting place of this man – born on November 18, 1917 –, one of the most beloved artists of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.

The bust is a tribute to the idol of Mexico, and next to his remains are those of his father, his mother, and his three siblings.

(Tomb of the Infante family – Photo: Irvin Olivares/EL UNIVERSAL)

The first page of EL UNIVERSAL, published on April 16, 1957, informs of the tragic and sudden death of Pedro Infante, who lost his life in a plane crash, and who wouldn't be able to have an open-casket funeral because of the extent of his fatal injuries.

The cargo aircraft in which he was traveling was scheduled to land in Mexico City, transporting a large shipping of fish after departing from the airport of Merida. In addition to Pedro Infante – who was the co-pilot during the flight – the pilot, Victor Manuel Vidal, and Marciano Bautista, a flight mechanic, were also on board when it crashed.

The aircraft belonged to Transportes Aéreos Mexicanos, S.A.., a company founded by Pedro Infante himself. A couple of minutes after takeoff, the plane fell on the backyard of a private home where a woman and her children were doing the laundry; both of whom also died during the accident.

When the remains of the artists arrived at the airport of Mexico City, all hell broke loose among the mourners of all ages.

(Mourners who had to receive medical attention during the funeral of Pedro Infante – Photo Gallery of EL UNIVERSAL)

The star of 50 films and over 300 musical records received a tribute at the Jorge Negrete Theater before his burial, and a crowd of his followers was quick to gather.

“Women carried their children in their arms; men could barely hold back their tears and, in their faces, you could see the deepest of griefs,” recounted this newspaper.

Children, young women, men, they all wanted to be next to Pedro Infante for the last time.

(Mourners - Photo Gallery of EL UNIVERSAL)

Over 100,000 people went to the cemetery to pay their respects and bid their last farewell amidst cries and songs, and three touching moments marked this occasion.

The first was when Rodolfo Echeverría, Secretary-General of the National Actors Association, delivered a eulogy.

The second, when the motorbike squad called the row of its members and called the name of Pedro Infante last, just to have the mourners reply: “Here!”

And, finally:

“When the order was given to lower the casket and the crowd was racked with pain, the voice of the mariachis cut through, singing 'Amorcito corazón.' The chords of the guitars got louder and there came a moment when all the people began to sing.”

Then, a single voice rose to the heavens and cried: “Farewell!”

The people were unable to physically see him one last time but they didn't have to, because Pedro Infante was there, in the songs and the tears of his people.


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