It was said of Cesare Perfetto, a "Roman from Rome" as he liked to call himself, that he "went to school with a smile on his shoulder". After the war, when he marries Adele, he moves to Bordighera and opens his bookshop in Corso Italia.
The reviving tourist resorts are looking for a vocation: beauty contests and flower battles flourish ... To relaunch tourism, Cesare imagines something different and so, in the summer of 1947, together with Guglielmo Merani and Natale Agnese of the Circolo della Stampa, he organizes a dedicated evening humor during a gala in the halls of the Park Hotel (the future Palazzo del Parco).
In 1949 the evening became the Press Gala and the following year a Conference of Humorists to deal with copyright, prizes for the best works and a library of humor. The humorists Gus and Ian Peterson, the writer Dekobra, the painters Piana, Porcheddu and Bilinski, the French cultural attaché Boch, and the journalist Maiolino are present.
In 1951 the Conference became an Italian-French Gathering of Humorists with the designers of Travaso Amurri, Ferri and Isidori and those of Marc'Aurelio Capasso, De Bellis and Vighi. From Paris arrive Breffort and Lacroix of Canard Enchaîné as well as Perreux and Gus, of Içi Paris. From Nice joins Rocher, editor-in-chief of the French Riviera newspaper Nice Matin. For the first reviews Cesare decides to present the pages of the humorists published in the magazines Le Canard Enchaîné, Simplicissimus, Marc’Aurelio, Szpilki and The New Yorker: in other words, an open window on the best of the international scene.
The adventure begins… and the ship leaves the port! A ship that will gravitate around the Salone, among the many celebrities, also four Academy Award winners (Sophia Loren, FedericoFellini, Roberto Benigni, Ennio Morricone) and a Nobel Prize winner (Dario Fo).
In 1952 the Salone assigns its first awards: the Palme d'Or for the humour drawing goes to Raymond Peynet, father of the famous "amoureux"; for literature, to Giovannino Guareschi with his Don Camillo. There are already over two hundred humorists present, including Peynet, Barbara, Montobbio, Scarpelli, De Simone, De Bellis, Nistri, Artioli, Attalo, Kremos, Vighi, Isidori, Maggioni, Gareth, Price, Arno, Tech Key, Erickson, Thurber.
On the occasion, a selection of drawings by The New Yorker is exhibited.
Thanks to the experience of that attempt, Cesare understands that, in order to attract the most important humorists, it is necessary to institutionalize a reward system: and so in 1955, the Golden Date and the Silver Date were added to the Palme d'Or. attributed to the best designers / writers who have collaborated with newspapers from at least three different countries (including Italy). At the same time, the search for new expressive spaces towards literature is expanded with the award for the "unpublished piece", short stories with a humorous background that will support the important section of humorous literature until 1999.
Not only that: the exhibition officially takes the name of the International Humor Exhibition and navigation becomes less uncertain ...
The Salone inaugurates the International Humor Film Festival in collaboration with the Venice Film Festival and the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain. This review lasted until 1964 and brought important actors to Bordighera such as Tognazzi, Gassmann, Rascel ... In 1959 he won the famous film I Soliti Ignoti, by Mario Monicelli with Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale and Totó, among others.
Continuing with the experimentation and to induce creative efforts on large-scale and topical issues, the Salone introduces a new section which in 1959 will take the name of Fixed Theme. This is not the Palme d'Or which remains exclusive to "professionals" but the Golden Date (and then the Silver) which is also awarded to amateurs. The first Fixed Theme is Automobile in Humor and the winner is Carlo Manzoni.
As expected, Cesare formalizes the new section dedicated to topical issues. The Fixed Theme Drawing Award is born: the pencils of international professionals and amateurs compared on social and cultural issues.
The first Fixed Theme is Far West and the winners are Francesco Bergamasco, Golden Date and Alfredo Malagola, Silver Date.Unforgettable, in 1969, Destination Moon (the Salone was inaugurated two days after Armstrong's descent!), Or Pace (1961), Giovani (1967), Droga, no! (1970), Venice is to be saved (1972), Europe yesterday and today and… tomorrow ?! (1976), Bureaucracy (1977), Do you smoke? No, thanks… (1987), Nuclear ?? Gentlemen! No, thanks… (1996).
But the desire to grow does not stop, and therefore the prize for humorous literature is also consolidated; the English Eric Lawson Malpass with Baccano in the attic, and the Russian / American Vladimir Nabokov with Pnin, won the prizes.
In the same year, the tradition of presenting a new poster at each event begins: it is up to the winner of the Palme d'Or to design the one for the following year.
But the desire to grow does not stop, and therefore the price of humorous literature is also consolidated; the English Eric Lawson Malpass with Baccano in the attic, and the Russian / American Vladimir Nabokov with Pnin, won the prize.
The same year, the tradition of presenting a new poster at each event begins: it is up to the winner of the Palme d'Or to define the cells for the following year.
The Salone, considering the various forms of expression of humor, certainly could not forget the Illustrated Literature. And so he established a dedicated Palme d'Or, for a sector that attracts the attention of an even wider audience, and is a precursor, among other things, of those comics that will be included ten years later.
The first winner is Marino Guarguaglini, with the illustrated story I Barboni.
With the addition of the Children's Literature and Humor Comics awards, the Show is confirmed as the main crossroads for all expressions of humor. Among the winners for children's literature we highlight S.A.R. Charles of England, while for Humor Comics we cannot forget, among others, Charles Schulzl Hugo Pratt, Claire Bretécher, Magnus & Bunker, A. & F. Origone, Alfredo Chiappori and Sergio Staino.
The collaboration between the Salone and the Council of Europe began in 1972 with an invitation to participate in the 25th Salone with the main theme "Venice is to be saved".
At that time, the Council of Europe, which had concentrated parliamentary efforts on the future of Venice, not only accepted the invitation but also decided to award two medals to the best humorists. Furthermore, the Secretary General grants high patronage to the exhibition.
Given the great success in Bordighera, the Council proposes to present the exhibition in Strasbourg at its headquarters.
The exhibition was inaugurated on May 16, 1973 in the presence of the President of the Council of Ministers, the Hon. Giulio Andreotti, and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. For the occasion, the President of the Italian Republic Hon. Giovanni Leone sends a congratulatory message to the organizers. (Photo of the telegram).
Given the success of the exhibition in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe organizes a tour of the drawings in France (Alsace, Biot, Lyon, Lille), Switzerland, then West Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Austria. Visitors are over 1,100,000 as reported by the Council of Europe itself; results that lead to continue in the following years with Viva la Natura (1971`) and Feminism and Anti-feminism (1973).
In 1983 the Secretary General awarded the Council of Europe Medal to Cesare Perfetto, President of the Exhibition, for having distinguished himself for European activity
The collaboration and tour of the exhibitions continue over the years and the High Patronage maintained until 1999.
1972, Venice is to be saved
The theme of the year represents one of the most ingenious intuitions of the Salone: Venice needs to be saved meets extraordinary appreciation. But not only that: it continues to be so urgent that it is resumed twenty years later with Venice and has yet to be saved. A theme particularly felt by humorists, who interpret the cry for help of the city that risks sinking with memorable drawings.
The works found wide resonance in the world media and in the halls of the Council of Europe with an exhibition inaugurated by the Italian Prime Minister, Giulio Andreotti. The competition was won by Lucio Trojano, Italy, and Pierre Perraudin (Pélotsch), France.
... of Peynet's lovers.
On the cruise ship Raffaello, around the Mediterranean in the presence of Raymond and Cesare, the animated feature film "The World Tour of Lovers by Peynet" is presented to the press with music by Ennio Morricone, the voice of Demis Roussos and the direction of the Caesar himself!
The film is then screened in all Italian, European and Japanese cinemas.
The active collaboration with the Council of Europe continues and wide-ranging themes are proposed such as "City to live" 1981, 'Man and technology "1985, which are very successful thanks also to the diffusion made by the Council of Europe through the exhibitions it organizes in various European capitals.
In 1983, Guillermo Mordillo won the Palme d'Or and became a constant presence at the Salone. in 1986, Raymond Peynet was appointed honorary citizen of Bordighera and in 1988, the Hon. Giulio Andreotti, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, won the Palme d'Or for Humorous Literature with "Onorevole stia zitto".
These were complex and difficult years for the world scenario, but also for the Salone. Diversity of vision with the new referents lead Cesare to accept Sanremo's proposal to host the event for at least three years. Thus it happens that since 1994 the Salone has moved from Bordighera… But immediately everyone realizes that something is missing: the mutual feeling between the Salone and the city, the amalgamation that for many years has contributed to the success of the event. In 1997, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, the Salone returned home by strong demand! Not surprisingly, the theme is a fifty-year-long smile.
At the close of the 1999 edition, Cesare decides that the time to say goodbye has also come for the Salone. A greeting, but not a farewell from an event that has brought smiles all over the world for over half a century.
Walter Schwimmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, writes in his letter of wishes for the 52nd edition "promoting a fine humor, the right criticism and freedom of expression, the Bordighera International Exhibition works in harmony with the Council of Europe , which fights to ensure peace and progress in Europe and in the world ”.
The event could not have lasted for over fifty years without the contribution of numerous "volunteers" and "precepts" who brought enthusiasm and desire to do whatever the task received, with nineteenth-century shifts! From the choice of the drawings, to the preparation of the panels (always the same every year), to the posting with various pins of the hundreds of drawings up to the presence on stage.
We therefore want to thank, in absolutely no order but with equal contributions, all those who come to mind, apologizing if we miss some, but we are ready to fix it!
Sponsors: Agnesi, Olio Calvi, Olio Carli, Pallanca, Martini & Rossi, Atkinsons, Seat - Pagine Gialle, Fiat, Citizen, La Stampa, Radio Montecarlo, etc.
The accommodation activities, Chez Louis, Bar GP, La Vecchia, Mino du Re Dolceacqua, Terme di Pigna, Ristorante Cacciatori Imperia, Hotel Michelin,
Presenters: Luisella Berrino, Cesare Viazzi, Roberto Basso (Rama di Palma d'Oro 1985)
The employees of the Autonomous Tourist Board and of the Municipality of Bordighera