El Chavo del Ocho (often shortened to El Chavo) is a Mexican television sitcom that gained enormous popularity in Latin America as well as in Brazil, Spain, United States, and other countries. It centers on the adventures and tribulations of the title character—a poor orphan nicknamed “El Chavo” (which means “The Lad”), played by the show’s creator, Roberto Gómez Bolaños “Chespirito”—and other inhabitants of a fictional low income housing complex, or, as called in Mexico, vecindad. Its theme song is “The Elephant Never Forgets” by Jean-Jacques Perrey, based on Beethoven’s “Turkish March” Op. 113.
El Chavo first appeared in 1971 as a sketch in the Chespirito show which was produced by Televisión Independiente de México (TIM). In 1973, following the merger of TIM and Telesistema Mexicano, it was transmitted by Televisa and became a weekly half-hour series, which ran until 1980. After that year, shorts continued to be shown in Chespirito until 1992. At its peak of popularity during the mid-1970s, it was the most watched show in Mexican television and had a Latin American audience of 350 million viewers per episode.