July 26, 2021

Raoul Sangla, historical figure of television, is dead

He was one of the last great historical figures in television. Alongside his little comrades (Stellio Lorenzi, Jean-Christophe Averty, Marcel Bluwal, Claude Loursais and a few others), Raoul Sangla gave his letters of nobility and revolutionized “the strange skylight” with great blows of renewed intelligence, a boundless audacity, craftsmanship and a few pieces of string. Journalist, screenwriter, director, television poet for many, communist activist “Without illusions”, he has always fought to offer and share popular and quality television. He died on 1is June at the age of 90.

However, nothing predestined the young Raoul Sangla to become a television reference very respected by his peers. Born in Anglet (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) on the 1is September 1930 in a working-class and Catholic family, he worked for a few years as a plasterer in his father’s line, for lack of having obtained his baccalaureate. It was at this time that he began to become politicized and joined the CGT. During his high school years in Biarritz, he discovered the magic of cinema thanks to his philosophy teacher and vicar, tells Le Maitron, biographical dictionary of the social and workers’ movement.

Also read (archives from 2006): The return of the Maitron

His path is then mapped out. In 1956, he “went up to the capital” and studied as assistant director to Marcel Carné and Sacha Guitry, a position he obtained through the CGT du spectacle union. He then made his television debut in 1959 at the Buttes-Chaumont studios, a real hive and ardent breeding ground for French creation, built on the heights of Belleville, in eastern Paris. It was in these studios that the great dramas of the time were filmed live until the 1970s (The Last Five Minutes, The camera explores time…) And all variety shows such as “Les Raisins Verdes”, by Jean-Christophe Averty, or “Le Grand Echiquier”, hosted by Jacques Chancel.

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Assistant to director Stellio Lorenzi until 1960, Raoul Sangla became a director from 1964 specializing in the direction of numerous entertainment programs. He revolutionized the genre there. The most famous being “Discorama”, a weekly musical and cultural program (1959-1974) hosted by Denise Glaser who, for years, received in a minimalist decor the new generation of French singers (Maxime Le Forestier, Georges Moustaki, Barbara … ) who would become stars.

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