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The Lourdes pharmacy remains on guard

The facade that inspired the television series continues to receive curious 25 years after its successful broadcast

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The Lourdes pharmacy remains on guard

No longer happens so much, but some curious people are still approaching with ir camera to photograph red pharmacy with black signage and golden letters of street Alcalá 148 of Madrid. The façade of establishment of licentiate A. Saiz García continues to concentrate nostalgic ones that more than 25 years ago avidly followed series Farmacia de Guardia. Its director, Antonio Mercero, was inspired by image of this Madrid pharmacy for sake of his series and turned facade of a traditional family pharmacy into an icon of Spanish television. "Mercero always came in to buy cough drops when he went to Las Ventas to see bulls, he was a man who liked to take pills and pots, I did not know who he was until one day he asked me to let him copy my facade" , says smiling Antonio Saiz, owner of original pharmacy. Now, 75 years old and retired, he goes to his establishment some mornings to hang out and talk to neighbors.

MORE INFORMATION
  • Antena 3 returns to 1990
  • 'Pharmacy Guard' reopens its doors

After director asked him some questions about place, Saiz received a phone call from Antena 3 television station to ask if he wanted to give up image of his pharmacy for a television production. "Before I accepted, I asked m to send me something to know what it was about, and after seeing tapes and seeing that it was a family series, I said yes," says exboticario while stroking his mustache. The first to realize were neighbors, usual customers. Then it began to become famous. "The first time I saw it, I knew it was neighborhood pharmacy. It was a very loud thing, now people do not remember," says 68-year-old neighbor, Rodriguez.

During years of broadcast (1991-1995), hundreds of fans approached establishment with illusion of bumping into actors and seeing with ir own eyes furniture among which series was developed. "Many people did not know that y had been shot on a set and y went in to check if everything was same as on TV. The truth is that y only came to take some photos to front and y left," explains employee Luis Muñoz. The copy, made in studies of Antena 3 is practically traced to original, except that director decided to add a showcase more to right. Also renamed Ldo. A. Saiz García for family of protagonist, Ldo. E. Cano.

Mercero's production became first series to emit a private chain, until that time re were only four channels in Spain, and (currently considered most watched in history of country), with an average of 48% share of screen. Between years that it was emitted, thousands of Spaniards were entertained seeing as day went by separated pharmacist Lourdes Cano (Concha Cuetos) with its three children (Guille, Kike and Fani) and its exmarido (Carlos Larrañaga). The series, which reached more than 13 million viewers in its last chapter (62.8% share), never gave any financial compensation to Saiz for image rights. "They did not offer it to me and I did not ask for it," he explains.

Antena 3 was not first chain to look at pharmacy. Years before, Spanish Television made a program re and in years 2000, telephone company Vodafone rolled one of its ads. "They spent a whole day here for a 40-second advertisement," says Muñoz. When Saiz is asked if he would give up image again, he re-warns that "it depends on what it is", would accept if it were something similar to Pharmacy Guard. He would never give it up for something to be done that could harm guild of pharmacists.

The original pharmacy has never ceased to offer its services. Since 1928, Saiz family has been selling medicines and serving public. "It's a family business that started my far, n I replaced him and now re are my children," owner points out. The clientele was always same and during time that series was on air, re was no increase in sales despite fact that dozens of people came to watch signs and windows. "People came in but did not buy anything," says retired pharmacist.

Nowadays, exterior of premises continues to have same physiognomy as 25 years ago, although, according to its owner, "it is older and facade has to be painted again." Tranquility replaces eccentric stories that passed in film and neighbors of area replace famous clients like Lola Flores or Emilio Aragón. The "original" pharmacy is still on guard.

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