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Martín Karadagian and his daughter Paulina, with a very special gift: a rabbit. “My dad was a magician,” she says.
This starts on Friday during the day when Paulina decided to write a story about her father and grandfather. Paulina has the surname “Karadagian”, like the great titan, and it is no coincidence: She is the daughter of the mythical Martín Karadagian. Maybe that’s why her story, which began as a twitter thread, became an emotional rescue for an entire generation.
What he did was reveal an unknown aspect of his father: what Karadagian was like as a son. The anecdote was so well told that it is worth reproducing it as is: “He was my grandfather (in relation to the photo that we attach below). I only knew stories from what Dad told me. Beyond having a bad relationship with him, dad always was. The Armenian Hamparzún (that’s what my grandfather was called), was very brave, but also proud. I didn’t want to receive financial help from dad, so my old man came up with a made-up retirement. He had a photo taken and invented a retirement card for him. He said, ‘You can’t lose this, Dad. It’s very important. And every month he has to come to my office with the card and I send one of the boys to collect it for him, so he doesn’t have to queue. ‘ And there he went, Don Hamparzúm, every month to Daddy’s office, they talked and drank coffee, while another employee disappeared from the office for an hour and came back with an envelope previously prepared by Daddy with money inside. Retirement for my grandfather did not exist, but it did exist, because Dad was a magician. How could he not make my grandfather believe that, if he made us all believe that a Mummy came from Egypt to be a fighter? “
Martín Karadagian and his father: Hamparzum. This is the photo that Paulina’s thread started.
Very quickly, Paulina began to grow in followers, but the most impressive thing were the hundreds of messages that reached her telling her about her father. Some told him about a donation he had made, others about how he made their afternoons happy … The fury was such that even Karadagian’s grandchildren (Paulina’s children, who did not know their grandfather in life), were impressed by what people said of him.
What Martin Karadagian did we not meet? Who was, behind the costume of Titans in the Ring, that great fighter? In dialogue with InfobaePaulina tells some other poignant stories that show that if a whole generation loved him, it wasn’t just for his pirouettes above the ring.
-How did you come up with telling this story?
-I came across that photo of my grandfather and dad and I remembered that and told it on twitter. The children woke up and asked me what I was doing on the computer, and I explained that I had been posted on twitter because I had told this. And they started reading the reactions and the comments and they couldn’t believe it, they got excited, they laughed … it was very strong.
-Did you expect this reaction?
-No and I realized that people are eager to hear cute stories, stories of values, that generate positive things. And situations happened that I did not imagine: a girl wrote to me and told me that at her house, Titans is still seen in the Ring via YouTube because her uncle has down syndrome and enjoys watching the program a lot.
-Tell me what Martín was like as a father.
-There is an anecdote that I did not tell yet but that I said I was going to tell. Dad only went through first grade, and when I started going to school we would go hand in hand with Dad every day singing. He didn’t miss any act, he went to all of them, but he only knew one song, the hymn. He felt bad about that, he felt that he had to know all the national songs, the marches: the one in San Lorenzo, Aurora, the Malvinas march … bought a cassette with all the songs and put it in the car. He didn’t get it out of there until he learned them all. So he always had that cassette and Raffaella Carrá’s, which he loved.
Paulina with one of the dolls that represented her father. “He changed his role in Titans for me: he was bad and he wanted to be good so as not to disappoint me,” he says.
-You could have the education that he didn’t.
-Yes, and he was proud that his daughter could do school. Every teacher’s day, for example, he sent all the school staff – everyone, not just the teachers, but everyone – an orchid with some very expensive chocolates inside.
-He was very generous, for the things you tell.
-He was generous with whom he deserved to be generous, but always quiet, he did not like to show off. My dad taught me many things through examples. I was going to a vacation colony that I loved. And I remember that once my dad looked for me before my time. Around the property there was a very humble neighborhood, and when he arrived it was filled with boys. An ice cream man was just passing by and he bought ice cream for all the boys who were there, except for me. I was re angry, re, and he told me that he was going to explain something to me in the car. And later he said to me: did you see that some of those boys didn’t have sneakers? Well, for many of them this may have been the only ice cream they have in the summer, while now I’m taking you out for lunch.
-He also sometimes made boys enter the theater at your request, right?
-It happened that I escaped from the locker room before the shows and went out to walk outside, and Sometimes I would see some boys who couldn’t get in because they didn’t have money for the ticket so I would go and tell my dad. He asked me how many there were, and he always sent someone to buy tickets for everyone. It is not that he made them pass without paying, because he did not want to complicate the producer, he directly gave his money to buy the tickets. And sometimes even in the intervals he would send for a drink and something to eat.
-And what was your paternal grandfather like, the one in the story you told?
-My grandfather died of terrible pepper indigestion. He started eating chili peppers and that killed him. I had not been born yet, I did not know him. All I know is from my parents’ stories. My mother told me that they would not let her move from the table, that they treated her like a queen. She loved her father-in-law very much. And my daddy told me the hardest part, he told me that the grandfather was very violent. That apparently at the time was normal, I don’t know, but my old man suffered a lot. He was a very tough immigrant and my father’s childhood was very difficult, he was born in a tenement and had many shortcomings. She told me that sometimes she would ask the neighbor for a glass of water and when she was alone in the living room she would take a bite of an apple that was always in the center of the table, and they would leave her with the bite to the side of inside, so it wouldn’t show.
Paulina Karadagian today, with the figure of her mythical father behind. She is in charge of continuing her legacy.
-Where did your grandfather come from?
-From a town in Armenia called Hadjin. Paulina, his wife – and my grandmother – came from Spain around 1918, and instantly married my grandfather, Hamparzum. It was very transgressive because Armenians in general married someone from the same community.
-And despite that hard childhood, did your old man speak to you with love about his father?
-Dad had a lot of resentment for the issue of childhood. Later he learned to carry it. He told me: I was a fighter to be able to defend my mother. I think that counts it all. My grandfather was apparently very proud, that’s why the money I counted on the thread happened. But beyond the anger, the family is the family and it has to be above everything: that is what my father taught me all my life.
Martín Karadagian with his father and mother: Hamparzum and Paulina, both immigrants.
-Be good, be bad, be a fighter, overcome the blows … All the elements of Titans in the Ring seem to come out of their own life …
-I was born in the mid-seventies, and Until I was born, my dad was the bad guy in Titanes, but he told me that he went over to the good guys because he wouldn’t have cast my disappointed look. He did the reverse path of any fighter in Argentina: they all start out good – roles that require more agility and pirouettes – and they become bad over the years, due to the requirements of the body – the bad guys move less, let’s say. But he went the other way so as not to disappoint me.
-What did your grandfather think of the show? Did you get it? Because you also say that many times you wanted to defend your father because he thought it was a real fight.
-My grandfather ate all the verse, he did not understand that it was a show, he believed that his son was being seriously hurt, and he wanted to go out and defend him. So it was that once he went up with a knife to the ring. Paulina wanted to stop him, but could not and was sent. It was a disaster, they had to download it one by one. “Wait daddy, wait daddy”, said my old man. Chaos. But I understand it, because it was hard to see that. When their fights started I would leave, I didn’t like to see him bleed. The blood was real, the hits were real beyond it being a show.
-How do you follow the path of the Titans? In 2019 they returned but then came the pandemic.
-2020 killed us, like everyone else. It was going to be our take off year because we had done 4 shows all sold out, and the closing killed us. We were unemployed for nine months until they let the gyms open and there we went back to training. We are in talks to see what we do, but training three times a week, in different bubbles, to respect the protocol. The idea is to go back through a TV signal.
-Are your sons Kennedy and Khaled interested in fighting?
-Yes, they both love to fight and in training they ask for authorization and they go in to train a bit, but for now it’s just to have fun, they are not ready to join a show, they are still boys, they are 12 years old.
-How was their reaction to seeing the impact of the thread?
-They grew up with the stories of the grandparents present, from what I tell them, and from what others told them. Kennedy, for example, imitates daddy’s voice, but actually imitates those who imitated daddy, because the original voice was hardly ever heard because in the movies dad was always dubbed, it wasn’t his voice that came out. Or sometimes Keny, as I say, tells you the stories as if he had lived them. It is very nice to see that, once again, family is always the most important thing.
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