La Tremenda Corte (The Tremendous Court) was a highly popular Hispanic Sketch Comedy series that began in radio on Cuba in the 1940s. After Fidel Castro came to power, the show's staff emigrated to Mexico (but not, contrary to rumor, because they had offended Castro) where they turned it into an equally successful TV show. Both versions are still being rerun across Latin America today.
The basic plot was simple: on each show, the Judge had to solve a case involving the same criminal — a Con Man by the oddball name of Tres Patines (Three Skates) (played by Cuban comedian Leopoldo Fernandez) and his victims. The cases were always zany (the show was very much tongue-in-cheek.) After a lot of witty repartee (often adlibbed, as the show was aired live) between all the characters, Tres Patines invariably ended giving himself away because he just couldn't keep his mouth shut. The judge then sentenced him on the spot, usually to jail time. Not that it prevented everything from happening again the next time.
Some episodes added a short conversation between The Judge and the (male) secretary right before the trial, completely unrelated to the case- time filler, most likely.
While the show itself was highly formulaic, its great humor came from the talent of its performers, specially Tres Patines and the Judge (they were all professional standup comedians.)
Other characters in the show included: Rudcsindo, an immigrant from Spain who was always trying out a variety of businesses, and Nananina, a highly spirited woman. After the show moved to Mexico, they were replaced by other characters.
After Fernandez's death, his son (also named Leopoldo) starred in a remake of the show.
Tropes in La Tremenda Corte:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Occasionally, the characters would make reference to the fact they were in a radio/TV show.
- Catchphrase: Lots.
The tremendous judge: "Escriba ahí secretario" ("Write this down secretary!")Secretary: "Venga la sentencia" ("Here comes the judgment").
- Tres Patines always shouted "A la reja!!" (To the bars!) when summoned to take a stand (it's a reference to Cuban prisoners being summoned to talk to a visitor- at the bars of a cell.)
- The Judge, on being informed what the crime of the week was, had the habit of calling it a by the corret crime name + "idio" (cide); eg a robbery would be a "robberycide".
- Nananina would say "Aqui como todos los dias!" (Here like every day!) when summoned.
- At the end of each episode:
- Creator Allusion: Rudecindo to Castor Vispo.
- Deadpan Snarker: Everyone, but mainly The Judge and Tres Patines. In fact the only person who rarely snarked was The Secretary (because he rarely spoke.)
- Disproportionate Retribution: The fines given by The Judge can reach from some cents to ridiculous high sums of money, several days in jail and really anything the Judge wants for anything that annoys him.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
- The Judge's name was never revealed. He was billed as The Tremendous Judge, but not called that in the show.
- Rudecindo often called him "Doctor" and other (incorrect) honorifics.
- The Secretary also went unnamed.
- Get Rich Quick Scheme: Tres Patines always tried one, but always by swindling the other characters. Rudecindo sort of counts too.
- Hanging Judge: Not quite literally, but the Judge was very short tempered and would fine anybody (even the Secretary) at any moment for saying anything that annoyed him.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Tres Patines, who seemed completely unfazed each time, and in fact seemed to be taunting the Judge into asking the right questions.
- Just a Stupid Accent: Tres Patines spoke in heavy Cuban speech, and stuttered too, making him somewhat hard to understand (but hilarious). Rudecindo spoke with a deep Spanish accent as well. True story: when the show was broadcast in the Dominican Republic, a politician tried to have it removed from the air because he was afraid Dominican children were going to start to talk like Tres Patines! Not only he failed, it made him so unpopular that he lost his job.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: Rudecindo tends to change his job from one episode to another with the bad luck of dealing with Tres Patines schemes.
- Once an Episode:
- The Secretary introduces the Judge, then the case.
- The Judge interrogates all the involved parties, revealing their stupidity in the process.
- Tres Patines accidentally gives himself away.
- The Judge dictated the sentence — in rhyme!
- Only Sane Man: The Judge and The Secretary. Though they had their silly moments as well, mostly when the judge went overboard with the fines. The Judge in fact showed off his high education a lot. The other characters were pretty dumb, especially Tres Patines. Well, he was Book Dumb. But he was quite clever when taking advantage of the others.
- Rhymes on a Dime: The Judge, whose final case summation and sentencing were done as a quickly spoken poem.
- The Smurfette Principle: Nananina was the only female character.