Just to get it straight: Tutti Frutti or Colpo Grosso (the original italian show brought to you by ITALIA 7) will probably never receive awards for being cultural or intellectual challenging. And: This wasn`t the show`s intention at all. Its only aim was to entertain (and to present a huge amount of naked females) and in no way the show expected anybody to take it too seriously. Trash with style and a very self-ironic attitude is the best way to describe the show. Nowadays the “eroticism” Colpo Grosso displayed can be seen in every other talk show on german TV afternoons, but still it was revolutionary at that time and was widely considered scandalous by the public: Basically no one ever admitted to watch it. Most of the 2 million regular viewers just zapped into it by simple accident ;).
Colpo Grosso started in 1988 as a casinoesque stripshow, hosted by Umberto Smaila and broadcasted by Italia 7. The first season was all about focussing on the casino aspect and as far as my italian goes (i.e. google language tools) it wasnt much of a real success, so midseason the production company (A.S.A. Television, Milano, Italy) changed a few things and installed a dancing group of stripsters, called the “La Portafortuna”, which in consequence became the “ragazze cin cin” resp. “CinCin Ballet”. All in all the italian version was produced from 1988 to 1992, which resulted in 4 or 5 seasons and an uncountable amount of episodes (The director of the show, Celeste Laudisio, gives the estimated amount of different shows as 1000!).
German TV station RTL plus (now RTL) bought the whole concept from A.S.A. and in 1989 started to produce a german version called “Tutti Frutti”, with Hugo Egon Balder hosting it. At this time RTL plus was the real moving power behind german tv development. Famous for highly innovative concepts like “Dall As TV”, “Gong Show” and “Alles nichts, oder!?” (with Balder himself and his long time partner in crime Hella von Sinnen), RTL didnt have any problems to break well protected TV taboos. In January 24th 1990 the first episode was aired.
Of course Tutti Frutti was stigmatized right from the beginning: Conservative politicians and the church wasted no time and demanded the immediate stop of the show; feminists ran amok and TV press only posted desastrous reviews (which weren`t totally incorrect: The show was indeed quite dubious from a technical and cultural point of view;)) Needless to say, HE Balder had the worst possible image these days. RTL (and Balder, who earned about 100.000 Euro per season) did not care though; the show was very cheap to produce (about 40.000 Euros per episode), therefore highly efficient and the publicity boost in germany was priceless: RTL really made money with Tutti Frutti. I remember that TV ratings were simply sensational at the show`s start: 4 million people watched the first episode, and on average the viewer level settled down at still respectable 2 millions. Remember this was the time, when cable TV wasn`t that easy accessible like it is today.
Tutti Frutti was stopped during the end of season 3 though, because the show`s concept was a bit worn out at that point and the audience wasn´t that excited anymore by naked women on TV. While the italian show was produced 9 months a year and broadcasted daily at some point, the RTL crew simply rented the production site for 4 weeks, adopted every single aspect including the complete cast and just produced episode after episode. This extraordinary high production tempo can easily be recognized while watching; many funny mishaps were just included as they were recorded, which made up a lot of the non deniable charme of Tutti Frutti.
Tutti Frutti`s basic concept was a 1:1 copy from Colpo Grosso, but the germans decided to almost double a show´s length from 30 to about 50 minutes, so Tutti Frutti included some competition rounds Colpo Grosso never or rarely used, like the Black Jack Version “15 and Sex” (resolving around the ragazze Cin Cin). On the other hand some concepts were completely ignored by RTL: For example the germans never used the “Superstar” Performances that were a common feature in Colpo Grosso`s third season.
The show was aired all over the world – even in Japan -, had some franchise epigones all over the world and was the origin for a number of italian spin-offs like “Vizi Privati“, “Colpo di Scena”, “Un Weekend da Favola”, “Notte Italiana” and “Belleze al bagno”. Later on german digital TV station DF1 bought the show and broadcasted it some times during the mid 90ies. There even was a “Tutti Frutti”-Reopen Ceremony, where Stella Kobs, Elke Jeinsen and Monique Sluyter all showed up again. You can view pictures from that event at Monique Sluyter`s own webpage.
There is quite a public demand for a Tutti Frutti replay in Germany these days, but RTL is trying hard to maintain it`s image as a station for the whole family, so i do not bet on a replay. RTL II seems to be the more adequate place:/. Additionally i think the copyright status of the show is pretty unclear today; with TF being sold to DF1 of the Kirch Group – which went partially bankrupt some years ago – it is possible that the show is now getting dusty in an unknown archive somewhere – at least for the german market. I was told that RTL used “Courtesy of DF1″ banners in some TF trailers some years ago. On the other hand, RTL released quite a huge series of internet based video streams, so they seem to still have the show archived. Either way, a replay in Germany seems very unlikely at this point.
A running gag in german public resolved around the rules, which nobody seemed to understand. Well, basically the rules were amazingly simple. A female and a male candidate were competing for ….points. Heh. These points could be exchanged into clothes of the 8 Stripsters around aka EuroGirls (or stelle d`oro in Italian version). At some point, when enough points were spent, the Eurogirl was nearly naked (strips ended at the g-string) and the candidate scored a “Länderpunkt”. The candidate with the most “Länderpunkte” won. These were called”Länderpunkt” (land/länder is the german word for country), because each of the 8 featured EuroGirls were representing a different european country, trying to give the show an international taste. Of course these girls didn`t originate from those countries and they also had been given fake names, some stripsters had plenty of different aliases.
The host decided which girl had to strip and how much points were spent on each girl. I never noticed a system behind this anyway. I assume the points were divided in a way that as many girls as possible could perform a striptease just to fill maximum time. So determining the winner always seemed a bit random. There was also the possibility to score an eponymous “Colpo Grosso” if a candidate made an extraordinary amount of points. In this case all remaining eurogirls had to strip; these “Colpo Grosso”-events were the source for the very popular “AllGirlStrip”-videoclips on the net. As far as i know this was the only possibility to actually win something in Colpo Grosso, a journey to a country of the winning candidate`s choice, paid for by the show´s semi-present sponsor “Panto”, a vendor of windows (not the OS; authentic windows used in authentic houses). In Tutti Frutti the winner of each show was awarded with 3000 D-Mark (now about 1500 Euro), later on with 1000 D-Mark for every “Länderpunkt” he or she scored.
Points were awarded in two ways. Either the candidate could strip themselves or win games, which were also pretty simple: Playing roulette with just the two colours, guessing if a playing card has a higher or lower value than the one before, gambling at a slotmachine or just answering questions. Many of these games required ante, so the candidate was often forced to strip to stay in the game, at end of any show actually both competitors were naked.
German contenders were cast by EuroCast, a Hamburg based Agency. Once being cast, the candidates were flown to Milano in huge groups, stayed one night in hotel and then were carried to the studio. After two hours all was said and done and they were directly heading to the Airport. Assembly line production at it`s best :/. All kind of people were being cast: From models to 40 year old housewives everybody could get an invitation. I guess this is one of the main reasons why TF got so popular: Just to see someone naked who could have been the girl next door. Anyway, this is where german was pretty different from (sometimes disastrously unorganized) italian production. In Colpo Grosso whenever a candidate replacement was needed they just recruited someone from the staff. Many CinCins and some “Full Contract Eurogirls” appeared as a “concorrente”, some even twice. Even in case ordinary candidates were available, most contenders showed up more than once, in fact i have seen like 10 shows with Jasmine Capelli as candidate (i am guessing that the winner of a show advanced to next one and he/she had to win a whole week to win prizes, but i am not sure of that).
The stagedesign was changed every season: the first series resolved around a casino, the next was set on a boat and the final version used a tropical island as stagesetting.
Then there are some other interesting aspects about Tutti Frutti: it is clearly an 80ies show. The girls`s haircuts seem a little bit odd from a 2ooo-point of view; loads of hairspray were used, giving them a somewhat unnatural look….. Whatever, i guess later generations will also laugh about today`s fashion, so who cares anyway… Men`s Underwear also wasn´t that fashionable at that time. Often sock suspenders were used and it would be very, very interesting to know if the male candidates received their underwear by the production company or if they brought their stuff by themselves. 13 years later you often only shake your head at such oddities. (Sidenote: I found out that underwear was indeed provided by ASA: the yellow-green striped underwear seen in the picture shows up every other episode at different men; i just hope it´s not always exactly the same dress :/)
And not to forget: Some of the strip clips during RTL´s second season were produced in 3D. We all had to buy those funny 3D glasses from optician stores:). I never had the opportunity to watch them, because i only had a monochrome TV set at that age, but afaik Tutti Frutti was the first TV show with continous 3D parts. They stopped it at end of that season, but i remember that the 3D technique they used was quite sensational.
At last, and this might not be that exciting to you in case you aren`t that into electronic dance music, it is pretty interesting to listen to the background dance music of TF/CG. One is able to witness the very first steps of ItaloHouse and Eurodance and sometimes it`s really like “Wow, i have heard this sample or that hookline somewhere else”. At that point dance music was about to shift from the 80ies new wave-style discosound to the precedessor´s of techno/house. You can clearly notice this influence even in a stripshow like Tutti Frutti, so lots of these early projects were used during the show, like 49ers, FPI Project, Herbie, The Shamen and the like.
Courtesy of RK