Mucho Mucho Amor (2020) - full transcript

Once the world's most famous astrologer, Walter Mercado seeks to resurrect a forgotten legacy. Raised in the sugar cane fields of Puerto Rico, Walter grew up to become a gender ...

Growing up
with Walter Mercado,

I just remember thinking
how dramatic he was.

And how fabulous he was.

I can't think of
an English language astrologer

that would command the attention
of millions of households.

It was just Walter.

The first time I saw Walter
Mercado on television, it was a shock.

I was like,
"What is this that I'm watching?"

If you can give love, if you can
receive love? So what?

It's a woman?
It's a man?

It's a sorcerer?

It was just a staple
of our childhood.

If you went to visit anyone,
Walter Mercado was on.

And you would be quiet
until you got to hear your sign.

Walter was unique.
He was different, he was a pioneer.

Wow. Wow.

El señor Walter Mercado.


...the gifted,
the talented Walter Mercado!

- Do you know who Walter Mercado is?
- Of course!

Some people who speak English

do not understand how loved you are
in the Spanish community.

You're bigger than Jesus Christ.

He made me believe
through the force of his oratory.

Manifest exactly
what you want.

Visualize exactly your dreams.

It will be yours.

I just think
he's this positive force.

He's literally sending positive vibes
through the television at you

one astrological sign at a time.

Follow your heart.
Your heart is never wrong.

And then signing off
con "Mucho, mucho amor."

Mucho, mucho, mucho, mucho...



But all of a sudden,
he disappeared.

Many people were calling in and asking.
They were asking me,

"Hey, what happened to Walter Mercado?"

I don't know.

I've lost contact with Walter.

I thought he was living in Mexico.

I have a theory that

he didn't want to grow old
in front of the cameras.

He's sick and he retired.

He lives in a mansion in Puerto Rico
that's like a huge fortress

where no one can enter.

He died two times.

Two times.

I heard that he lives in The Grove.

Maybe he's an extraterrestrial.

Probably has his own planet somewhere.

People say a lot of things
and invent even more.

Where is
Walter Mercado? What happened to him?

We miss him. We really miss him.

These are old things,
very old.

The highly successful spiritual master

has established himself as a leading
authority in astrology and mysticism.

Look, Willie!

Walter Mercado
guest-starred on many popular TV shows.


...I made it available
to you all.

Walter Mercado's exclusive
International Psychic Society

has reached out...

It's very emotional for me.

Call now
and you can experience the benefits...

I think that the worst things
sometimes are necessary to grow up.

I've had very, very,
very difficult problems.

I suffered a lot.

I lost a lot.

I'm here
in the heart of Manhattan.

I want to tell you the story.

Okay. I'm ready.

I was born in the country.

Around my home,
there were lots of farmers...

People working,
who were very, very, very poor.

When I was a child,
I was very shy, insecure.

My mother was very overprotective with me.

And I was a dreamer.
I was always dreaming.

One day, a bird fell in the yard.

And it was dying.

And I took the bird and I began to...

to... to pray and to...

giving life to that bird.

A neighbor was watching.

And I said,

"You're going to live, little bird.
You're going to live."

And suddenly,
the bird starts to flap its wings

and it starts to get better
and it began to fly.

And the lady said,
"Oh, this boy has the grace of God

to help, um... to heal people."

And began to talk about me.

People in the village
would knock on the door of my house

and ask my mother,

"Oh, please, please let me see Walter."

So my mother put me in a little chair

and they began touching me.

Touch, touch, touch, touch, touch.

And then I turned
into "Walter of Miracles."

Since the moment I was born,

I know that I was not like everybody.

When I saw other boys,
I know that I have another way of life.

My brother was all the time riding horses,

planting the sugarcane,
leaving with my father.

And I stay with my mother,
playing the piano and reading books.

Everything about me was different.

My mother said, "If you're different,
go on being different.

Don't worry about that.

To be different is a gift.

To be ordinary is common."

I decided, at that time,

I'm going to fabricate,
create a famous person in me.

And so I know that that push

is going to explode
in something important.

My little doll.


Yes, Walter.

- My vitamins?
- Yeah.

These are the different
multivitamins that Walter takes.

Salmon oil for the cholesterol.

Eyebright for the eyes.

Collagen peptides.

Cod liver oil.


Hemp proteins.

My name is Willie Acosta,

and I'm Walter Mercado's
assistant for many years.

Many years.

So you're like
his right hand?

And the left one, too.

Look what I got for Runo.

Pet wipes.

- My dog never stinks.
- Stinks. He's stinky.

Never... No, he never stinks.

I came to Walter's life very young.

I'm still a young adult.

But I was very young
when I came to Walter's life.

Willie belongs now to my family.

I have many nieces.



Bibi and Dannette...

and Carmensita and Charito.

What's her sign?

Her sign
is Sagittarius.

And she is Pisces.

I love my family.

But Willie is with me always.

He assists me with my clothes,
with my costumes.

I do many jobs.

I assist Walter
in everything that he needs.

I take Walter shopping.

I have gone to the movies with Walter.

We fly together to places.

We stay in the same hotel
in the same room.

He knows everything.
All my secrets.

Very small secrets, of course...

- Thank you.
- You have to eat cookies, too.

- They're good for the system.
- You want to see me fat?

Not fat, but, you know, healthy.

- I'm so healthy.
- I know you are.

I protect Walter from anything,
from everything.

So don't get too bitchy with him.


- No. No cookies for Runo.
- No.

It was a tsunami of art
in Puerto Rico.

Everybody was thinking about art.

In the University of Puerto Rico,
I began dancing classes.

I just have a passion for dancing.

Puerto Rico was a little island,

and I was living 100 years in advance.

But I was dancing,
and also at the same time,

I was acting and having a lot of plays.

After that, I became an actor
in television.

I did a lot of telenovelas.

Walter was doing a play
in Puerto Rico called

called El tríptico de amor,
dolor y muerte.

Elin Ortiz had a show in Telemundo

and he invited Walter
to do the promo for the play.

Walter was dressed like a Hindu prince

with a beautiful white cape,
a lot of makeup,

and Elin Ortiz told him,
"No, we'll do the promo later on,

but, Walter, let's talk about astrology.

You're always reading the palm
of everybody around here,

and you're always asking,
'What's your sign?'

and, 'What's your sign?'
and, 'What's your sign?'

Let's talk about astrology."

I began to talk,
but in a very improvised way,

from my heart.

For 15 minutes, I was in a monologue.

"Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, the Moon.

Leo, you are the Sun. Virgo, Mercury.

Libra, Venus."


Nobody expect that.

When the segment finished,

the general manager of Telemundo
came downstairs running,

and said, "He has
to do that show again tomorrow

because people are calling."

"The telephone lines are full,

so I need to see you tomorrow, here,

doing the same show today.

I want Walter Mercado every day,
15 minutes a day in this show.

And I want you
with the same costume tomorrow.

I want Walter in capes."

After three months,
he started the one-hour show

of Walter, las estrellas y usted.

And now the sign
of Capricorn!

We have two paths, two human beings

and one important decision to make:
make it.

You are beginning a cycle of good things:
health, money, joy and love.

Have peace in your soul
and love for everyone,

even for the unsufferable, for the critics
and for religious fanatics.

Your whole life changes
and you'll be happy.

Time will heal old wounds.

A change is coming, a move, a trip,
something very favorable to you.

And it will be very fortunate.

That show started
August the 3rd, 1969.

And it became
one of the top shows in Puerto Rico ever.

Let's go. Three, two...

I'm Bill Bakula.

I never wanted to be on the stage
or in front of the camera.

I always wanted to be behind.

That was my... my passion.

I've known Walter

since I was a young man
watching him on television.

So I was flipping
through channels one night...

You're flipping fast
and you stop...

Saturn returns.

...because you saw
this guy dressed like...

in all opulence.

Rings and jewelry.

He made you stop.
He had the "stop" quality.

All of a sudden, you're engaged.

And when he got to your sign,

you identified with it immediately.

You said, "He's talking about me."

So I made an appointment
to get a consultation.

And it was incredible.

So I said, "Well...

is the consultation over?"
He goes, "Yeah."

"Okay, now I wanna talk
to you about something."

Under my arm,
I had a bunch of storyboards.

And those storyboards basically depicted

a new television show for him.

Something fresh
with a higher production quality.

Two weeks later,
we were taping his first show.

We did 10 one-hour episodes,
48 minutes,

in a weekend.

And Walter was on point.

It was the first program on television
that was wholly dedicated to astrology.

It was terrific.

It's kind of like
a motivational speaker, you know,

that uses astrology to motivate people.

And people need motivation.

You are a positive Aquarian.

Something important
is that you're a go-getter.

You've broken barriers.

You've always loved creating,
inventing, hustling.

You never freeze up.

In that moment,
the people were hungry

to listen to some word of inspiration.

Maybe it was the right moment
and the right occasion

with the right people.

Everything was right.

According to the stars, it was perfect.

Every talent needs
somebody behind them.

I was the coach for one single purpose:

Walter's message to get out
to as many people as possible.

When I entered the world
of astrology, it was a boom.

It was a boom! Really a boom.

Walter was doing television,
he was doing radio.

He would record
daily horoscopes.

And would break them out
across morning drive time.

It's easier to tell you about

the markets Walter wasn't in
than the markets Walter was in.

Probably about 150 radio stations
carried his programming at his peak.

We started getting interest from places

that you never even imagined
that there would be a Hispanic community.

Next thing you know, Walter starts
airing all throughout Latin America.

The next mission was Brazil.

Second largest market after the US.

Then we jumped to Italy, Holland, the UK.

Bill made me the most well-known
psychic of this world,

the prophet of the new age.

Then I put everything I had,
and everything I didn't have,

into crossing over into
the general market in the US.

- Wow.
- Hey, Walter.

- How you doing? There he is.
- That's the outfit!

- That's the outfit I see on TV.
- With the beads and everything.

We got an invitation
from Howard Stern.

You're bigger than Jesus Christ.

- No.
- Oh, tell the truth.

- They treat me like Jesus. Like Buddha.
- Yes, see? Right.

At first, I was hesitant about it.

But I knew that Howard was very much
into yoga and Hinduism.

You know who was born on my birthday?

- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
- That's true.

- That is correct.
- At the same hour like you.

- Yes.
- The same hour?

You are working from the navel down,
and he was working from the navel up.


Then he did Regis & Kathie Lee.

For him, I see a recuperation.
A stress, he's having...

A recuperation?

- For your heart.
- Yes, for your heart.

Sally Jessy Raphael.

A hundred-and-twenty
million people

turn to this man for advice every day.

And all of a sudden,

the general market started to get
who this Walter was.

I predict that you're going
to be the greatest comedian

of the next millennium.

He is!

He landed a book deal
with Time Warner.

It was called Beyond the Horizon.

Before we knew it, we had
really penetrated all of the Americas,

from Canada all the way
to Tierra del Fuego.

There used to be this newscast
called Primer Impacto on Univision.

And every day at 5:47 in the afternoon,

they would have the daily astrological
forecast with Walter Mercado.

They didn't have the weather forecast,
they had an astrological forecast.

Walter is here to reveal
the message of the stars.


I want you to know
that the signs are divided

into mutable, cardinal and fixed.

Pisces, you're mutable.
You go with the flow.

We did it as a segment.

People love to hear their astrology.
Now you'll get it on TV,

and we're gonna give it to you
with none other than Walter Mercado.

And immediately it was a hit.

For Primer Impacto at that time,
he was a big asset.

I would say he was
one of the biggest characters.

Not just with Spanish TV, anywhere.

December, the stars, and you.

Aries, your higher mind
pushing you to new attainments,

to new heights.

Travel is okay.

I never dared to be
traveling through the world,

or having 300 disciples in Brazil,

or 500 disciples in Colombia.

Bill opened many doors to me.

I met presidents, ambassadors,
famous people.

Prime ministers,
presidents from different countries,

came to Walter for private readings.

We saw his popularity just grow
and grow and grow and grow.

He couldn't walk on the street
or there'd be a mob.

Everywhere he goes,

Walter Mercado is surrounded
by legions of adoring, devoted fans.

I've been waiting since
nine o'clock in the morning.

I was in the eye of the eagle.

Hundreds of millions of people
were watching his programs every day.

He almost became like a religion.

We were doing a segment
on Primer Impacto.

We put him in the headlines and said,
"And Walter is with us live."

We had people swarming out
of the building in 15 minutes.

People started wanting to touch him

like if he was holier than the Pope.

Miami, New York,
Panama, Colombia,

everywhere, everybody wants
a piece of Walter.

Sometimes people say, "Walter you are
very egocentric or narcissistic."

No matter how much money it costs,
I always say, "You have to be radiant.

You have to be Walter."


He has an augmented face
that defies gender and maybe even age.

And his hair is a hybrid between

really good male hair from the '70s

and really good, glamourous grandma hair.

Have you had
any plastic surgery done?

Little arrangement.

A special Botox like Nicole Kidman.

I'm just like Dorian Gray.

My picture is growing old,
but I'm growing young.

For every show, I have a special cape,

or robe.

Some are very heavy.

Some are lighter.

Some are hand-painted.

Each one has a story.

He was the first person
to use capes with beads,

and makeup, dyed hairs.

A lot of jewelry.

This is from one
of the best designers in Brazil.

Very humble.

The bracelet is very humble?

Yes. You like it?

Many designers started
doing capes for him.

Versace did something for him.

Isaac Mizrahi,

Swarovski crystals,

sequins, rhinestone, pearls...

They cost a lot of money,
but they were beautiful.

The message that Walter
is bringing to you, he decorated.

I am the picture,
and the cape is the frame.

The cape covers me

and makes my image to go...

to the heart of my audience, of my people.

He had his look,
so did Elvis, so did Liberace,

so does the Pope.

If it doesn't look good,
we're not even gonna listen.

Thank you very much
and don't miss Walter Mercado's outfit.

It's something like a pumpkin,
a pumpkin about to smother him.

It's marvelous.

Night of magic and mystery,

night where anything is possible,

where those we loved and loved us,
return to the earth

to seek out the warmth of heart
and home, of love.

Do you know
anybody else that looks like Walter,

or speaks like Walter,
or dresses like Walter?

He's very much
his own incredible creation.

He just broke the mold entirely.

Walter Mercado!

People are mesmerized
by the beauty of Walter,

by the glamor of Walter.

I want to look beautiful.

I want to look alluring.

I want to mesmerize people.

I study dancing, so I use my hands.

The people love
all that kind of stupid things.

So, I used the stupid things
to teach, to help, to serve,

to give a beautiful message
of love and peace.

Love is the reason
for everything.

Love is the beginning and the end.

Love is the reason to live.

He broke many boundaries.

His whole look: his capes, the layers,
the fabulous costumes.

Now it doesn't seem that strange.

But when he did it, it was scandalous.

And he did it anyway.

How are you doing,
little animals of creation?

On this occasion,

I'm anxiously awaiting today's guest.

But he's had many problems because
of the love of a woman.

In the '90s, they gave me my own show.

It was like a sketch show
where I played different characters

and I immediately thought, "I have to
do a Walter Mercado impression."

My impression has the same rings,
capes, hair.

It's one of the most famous characters
I have.

I think a big reason they love it is
because it's based on Walter Mercado.

Walter was
very beloved

and very much an integrated part
of the culture.

But he would
also get folded into gay jokes.

He was embraced and othered
at the same time.

Many of his imitations
were meant to ridicule him.

He never liked being imitated.

You appear to be dressed
a little bit like me.

Then don't do a bad imitation of me,
because everybody does.

I would never wear those pants.

When they see Walter
and they make fun of him,

it's because they wish
they could be like Walter. Yes.

- What's your love sign?
- Scorpio, shut up...

He stings from behind!

And I sting from the front!

I'm like you, vice versa and versatile!

The Latino
community was homophobic.

I mean, especially '70s, '80s...
I mean, still nowadays,

but back then,
it was, like, much stronger.

And perception of masculinity
was so square.

Growing up as a queer boy

and watching Walter Mercado...

gave me hope.

I saw Walter and I was like,
"Okay, I'm not that different."

Here you have a man on television

breaking all of these rules.

You have
a very feminine look...

As a kid, over the phone
people would call me Miss.

It never bothers me.

"Who is this? Hello, Mrs..."
"No, it's a Mr."

It doesn't bother me.

He has
a very feminine energy.

He's an androgyne.
He looks like a woman.

Sometimes, he looks like a man.

The people that, you know, they said,

"Oh, that's a queer"
or, "That's a faggot"... I don't care.

He doesn't care.

Walter always takes a pill
called an I-don't-care pill,

and I started drinking that pill, too.

And I use Vaseline

so everything's slippery
on my body.

Whatever they say...

I use Vaseline.

Somehow, inside a misogynistic,

super-Catholic culture,

Walter could thrive.

We needed Walter in that landscape.


Are you heterosexual or no?

Let me tell you something,
I respect sex as something sacred.

For me, sex is spiritual.

I'm married to my public, to my people.

Walter is very protective
about opening up,

including with his family.

I've seen journalists try to talk about

his sexuality, his partners,
his love affairs,

and they're topics
that he just won't touch.

You don't talk
about sexuality or your identity.

Why is that?

Because I have sexuality
with the wind... with the wind,

with the flowers in the garden,

with all the beautiful display of nature.

I don't need a person.

Especially to make me happy, to make me...

to have an orgasmic experience, no.

I have sex with life.

I have sex with everything.

With clothes, with beauty.

People think that I'm his lover.

I don't know what they think.
They think I have a relation with him.

And my relation with Walter
is a very family relation.

I have never touched Walter with a finger.

Never in my life.

I don't think
Walter ever allowed himself

to be defined through his sexuality.

It was none of your business.

He always sort of, you know,
straddled that line very carefully.

If Walter Mercado
would've come out in the '60s, '70s, '80s,

I think it would've hurt his career.

Puerto Ricans say often...

"What you can see,
you don't ask about."

And I know, like,
visibility is very important.

But not coming out stopped, perhaps,
the homophobia from running wild.

There are things
that are just so ingrained

from your childhood, from your family,

that play on repeat in your mind.

It's difficult to change them.

There are
so many societal laws that he broke,

it goes beyond coming out.

You use a cape because you're a superhero,

and I see Walter as a superhero.

In terms
of his open secrets,

I don't think he confirms
or denies anything.

You're not
telling me Walter Mercado is a virgin?

You're not telling me
that you're a virgin?

The only one in town.

the only one in town.

Here I have a tarot deck,

a special deck on such a special day
in such a special month.

In the month of love,
ladies and gentlemen.

For you, Aquarius, I've pulled a card
of strength. Because you're strong now.

No one knocks you down,

no one destroys you,
no one holds you back.

You're stronger than ever, Aquarius!

I don't believe
in these things.

That's just, sort of, my nature.

But I'll be honest with you,
when you meet Walter,

and you have a chance to spend
a little time with Walter,

you realize that there's something there.

Is that something divine?
I don't know.

But it's quite unique, and I haven't...

I haven't come across it with anyone else.

All of these
terrible predictions people make,

all of these cataclysms, tragedies,

disasters coming with the arrival
of the new millennium...

Nobody believe any of it.

Those who follow God, don't fear a thing.

He planted
in the mind of everybody

faith, belief,
believe you're gonna be great.

You have to put faith.

If you don't have faith,
you're never gonna get nothing.

Virgo, what was once so ugly
and sad, it all changes.

The waters will recede.

There will be a total change in your life.

So take advantage to realize

that which yesterday
you didn't dare to do, Virgo!

If you notice
in all his content,

he never says anything negative.



I think that's probably the key ingredient

to his success
and his ability to communicate.

Being a messenger
of the Aquarian Age,

I bring you messages of light,

of love,

and of peace.

He would
come out every day

and he would tell you beautiful things,

and everybody wants to know
if tomorrow's gonna be a better day.

He's like a warrior.

I think his message was and still is...

to live with as much love
as you can in your life.

Let's start by broaching

the most controversial questions
about Walter Mercado.

- All my life.
- Uh-huh.

Why do you mix
so many different religions?

Not just, for example, Santeria,
primitive religions,

with Christianity, Catholicism,
but all of them?

You mix them all
and you solve people's problems, why?

No one has a monopoly on God.

It's ridiculous to think so.

It can be Chango or Santa Barbara.
Who cares what you call it?

I got the best
from the Buddhism...

...the best from Hinduism...

Lord Ganesha. Om.

...the best from Christianity...

I mix with all kinds of astrology.

I realized that all religions
have a point of convergence.

I call it interfaith religion.

You have to be nice to people,

you have to give the best of yourself
every moment of your life,

and you have to believe in yourself.

Taurus, be strong,
really strong. Insist, don't give up!

Insist until you accomplish what you want.
The cosmos will gift it to you.

I think Walter appeals
to the masses

because he's able to connect
with something that's missing

for a lot of us, particularly immigrants.

I think he gives us a sense of hope.

I think he gives people
a reason to believe

perhaps that their lot in life

may have a chance of improving,
uh, in short order.

And if you listen to him

and you sort of follow his guidelines,

it could be a road map
towards a better and more fulfilled life.

May God bless all of you,
today, tomorrow and always.

My message is to give them
the force inside themselves.

You can win. You can do that.
Believe in yourself.

And that way, I'm helping people
to be stronger.

Have questions? Need answers?

Concerned about a loved one?

Need career or love advice?

Hi, I am Walter Mercado.

Thanks for making
the Psychic Friends Network

the most popular
psychic phone service in the entire world.

In the early '90s,
there were these 1-9-0-0 numbers,

and Walter's manager, Bill Bakula,

decided to do that for Walter,

so that people could call in
and connect to him.

You take calls on the Circle of Power line
no matter where you are?

Yes. I love to be in touch with my people.

We created a traditional
1-9-0-0 psychic hotline

to great success.

We were the only ones
in the Hispanic market in the US,

and we were the pioneers
to go out of the US.

I won $9,000 at Indian bingo.

Thank you, Walter. Thank you.

Actually, in Brazil,
he's not really known as Walter Mercado,

he's known as Ligue Já,
and that means "call now."

Ligue já!

Ligue já! Ligue já.

Before we knew it,

he had half a million subscribers
and 4,000 psychics.

Four thousand people answering phones.

My psychics, for me,
I don't believe, I know,

are the best in the whole world.

All of them are natural psychics
born with the gift.

The gift to help,
to empower other people's life.

I knew that that was... baloney.

It could be my housekeeper
answering the calls, you know,

and making 25 bucks a call.

I see the two of you
will be married

within two months of your baby's birth.


I never say, "You're going
to win a lottery." Never.

Or, "You're going to have
a husband in a week."

I never try to fool people.
No, I never.

Only the International Psychic
Society has predicted

winning lotto numbers,
family reunions and success story.

A lot of these hotlines
were scams.

- Well...
- Critics would say

you were doing it to make money
off of poor, desperate people.

But always they receive
some kind of... uh...

words of inspiration or motivation.

A lot of people were
taking advantage of those 8-0-0 numbers,

and making millions.

Call me now for a free tarot reading.

And I can guarantee you
Walter did not make millions on that.

Bill Bakula made millions on that.

Bill says, "Don't worry,
these are up-and-up people.

Trust me, you'll be fine."

I'm not saying Walter was not in it
for the money as well,

but Walter was more innocent
and naive about it.

Walter was not about business.

So, it was important to Walter to know

that somebody was taking care
of business for him,

so that he could concentrate
on what he did best.

Walter expected only good things

and ran into a world of trouble
that he never saw coming.

Bill Bakula was my angel.

In one moment in my life,
he was sent by God

to make me and my message of love
understand and be known.

He was very smart.
He was the master.

Walter had tremendous affection
for Bill, and trust and love.

Bill became almost like a son,
I would think, to him.

Bakula gave Walter
very expensive gifts.

He would arrive at a hotel and he'd have
a room totally lined with white roses.

Twenty bunches of roses.

Twenty, every day.

It was
very extravagant.

He would say,
"Walter, you can't eat rice and beans.

No, you have to eat caviar

and you have always
the most exquisite food."

I had my own airplane.
Everything was excellent.

I loved those things.

Walter likes
to please everyone.


So if you're kind to him,

he will try to please you.

I don't ever
remember hearing Walter say no.

He's not that type of personality.

Inside, he's a little boy
that just wants to be loved and respected.

Walter would do
what Bill would ask him to do.

He was almost like, "Okay, if I have
to do it, I have to do it. Okay!"


- Here?
- Okay.



"On my way!"

Okay, no problem.

He had this power
to bewitch him,

to wrap him up in promises.

And Walter is so fanciful,
he had him hook, line and sinker.

One night I asked
the lawyer to come to my house

and I said, "I have a contract
for something quite important.

Read it very well."

And he said, "Okay, I will do it."

The next day,
he say, "Sign it, it's perfect."

And I don't even read the contract.

Walter just signed
what he was asked to sign.

He didn't have someone
really looking out for him.

The lawyer who reviewed it
didn't really properly advise Walter

on the scope and nature
of the contract.

So, Walter blindly signed the agreement.

That's where
the problems began.

They seemed to have a nice
friendship, a good business relationship,

and so Walter trusted that
what Bill Bakula was doing for him

was in his best interests.

Remember that the artist
is never a businessman.

An artist is always thinking
about his art,

how he's going to look,

how he's going to impress
his audience that day.

Five, four, three, two...

At that point, my communication
with Walter ceased,

and Bill became my main contact.

For Bill, these things were transactional.

It was about, you know,
how can I maximize revenue?

Walter was being advised
by some of his family members,

who made him realize

that there were some issues
with the relationship.

When family gets involved
in the businesses of an artist...

vey seldomly it works well for the artist.

He tried to sell all my old material.

He was recycling old horoscopes

and running it as if it was current.

It was not right.

I have to be very honest with my people.

But I couldn't stop him

because under the new contract,
he had control of all materials.

The contract gave everything:

his name, his likeness,
his image, to Bill Bakula.

Both parties were represented
by competent attorneys.

Both parties understood
the contract and he got paid.

He got paid according to the contract.

There was no timeframe
for the agreement.

In other words,
this thing would last forever.

There was very little room to even attempt
to terminate the agreement.

It gave really no benefit to Walter.

He's the owner
of all my decisions,

of everything in my life.

He owns my life.

And then he stopped paying.
He stopped paying.

Wilma says, "We need the money.
We need the money.

And they are not sending the checks."

Walter continued to record
his program and comply with the contract,

but the money wouldn't come.

So at that point,
Walter cancelled the contract.

But Bill said the contract
was for eternity.

When I discovered
that my contract

is so difficult to deal with,

I tried to repair and to talk to him
to make a new contract and go on.

We paid him to buy his business,
not to rent it.

He sold his name. He sold his brand.

But there was a disagreement
of how they viewed things

and the black letter on the contract.

So, we went to court.

Everything began to...


Our claim for damages
against Walter was just $1.

We didn't wanna hurt him economically,

we just wanted the world
to know that we were right.

That's not true.

Actually, Bill Bakula
was looking for Walter to pay

about $14-$15 million in damages.

It was a nightmare
of many problems, injunctions and...

It was a real nightmare.

At that point, Walter was
not allowed to do anything

because Bill Bakula owned his image.

And so, unfortunately,
we had to pull Walter from the show.

It was very shocking
that, in the court,

they would give Walter's name
to somebody else.

I've never seen anything
like that happen in the world,

that you could give your name
over to another person as a trademark.

When you try to explain to people,

"No, he lost the right to his name

and he cannot be on TV,"

people, like me, couldn't understand that.

There was a pretty severe
financial impact on Walter.

He was not receiving any funds.

He was really unable to transact
any business during that period of time.

It was difficult for him.

We brought in our own lawsuit
to do away with the agreement.

I was asked to appear in court.

And they had Walter and Bill Bakula
in the courtroom,

one on one side and one on the other side,

and they were looking
at me intently.

It was like a fight
between two forces.

This was a war. A war.

In the first lawsuit,
one part Bakula won

and another part Walter won,

so then we had to initiate
another process.

So we stayed sort of in limbo.

He would have lawyers
in Mexico, lawyers in Argentina,

lawyers in Puerto Rico, lawyers in Miami.

To be in a court fighting
with the people that you love

is difficult for me.

And I had to face facts.

That was a difficult time,
yes, very difficult.

It was hard, yes.

And Walter is very sensitive.
He's a very sensitive person.

I've never regretted anything in my life.

Regret, that's out of the dictionary.

There are no regrets.

Ultimately, the jury determined

that Walter had interfered
with those contracts,

but that there was no damage
suffered by Bill Bakula.

So, Walter was returned all of his rights,

his name, his image, his likeness,

which is what Walter ultimately wanted.

It was a long, hard battle, and, um...

the consequences were severe for us,

and for Walter, above all.

Six years he fought.

Six lost years, during which he lost
millions of dollars.

it affected him tremendously.

I think... I think, eventually,
it affected him physically.

I do believe Bill broke Walter's heart.

In the beginning, Bill was his angel,

and towards the end, Bill was his devil.

When I get to the hospital,
Walter was dead.

There was no... no vital signs at all.

I was clutching the Bible,
praying to God.

He has three arteries
that were clogged.

Were you worried
that this was the end?

Yes. Yes.

He was so tired of fighting.

He was tired of so many things, you know.

Stress was
the principle cause of the heart attack.

In Puerto Rico,
there wasn't much help for him,

so he was moved from hospital to hospital.

You see him fighting for his life.

We're going to do everything in our power.

Let's air lift him.

You don't know what's going to happen,
you don't know if he'll make it alive.

We arrived in Cleveland
at five in the morning.

My consciousness
was coming and going.

It's a very strange feeling.

I opened my eyes and I saw...

...beautiful eyes, blue eyes,

blonde hair, a boy, a girl,

another boy, another girl.

And I said, "Oh, my God,
they are angels. I must be in heaven!"

And Ivonne says,
"Walter, wake up, you're not in heaven.

You're in Cleveland."

He was in the hospital
for a couple of weeks.

They put in stents
and he started to recover.

Thank God, he recovered.

Walter has always been there for us.

At some point,
he won't be here, physically.

I can't imagine life without him. At all.


It's got to be
a serious blow for him.

He would like to be present

on the TV and reach his audience again.

It has been a loss for him.

But he is very concerned about his image.

He wants to project fabulousness

because that has been the figure
he's projected to the public

with his outfits, his sumptuous style.

And then not being able to do it
with the same energy he's used to...

It makes him very anxious
because he wants

to show his best face to his audience.


Sometimes he'll ask me,

"Do you believe in reincarnation?"

And, "What do you think about death?

What happens afterwards?"

How depressing.

As soon as we start talking
and the conversation gets going,

he stops and doesn't want to talk anymore.

Which side?

He says he's eternal,
that he'll live 120 years or more.


Walter, did you ever think
you'd reach this level of fame?

No, I'm a Puerto Rican country boy.

And you never thought about
making a movie of your life?

I don't want a movie yet.

Because people wait until you're dead

to tell legends about you.
I don't want legends!

I still have a lot of years left to live.

To the theater!

Look at that.
It's beautiful.

I did
many productions here, many.

This is where I got the biggest applause
of my life.

We play here
a lot of dramas and comedies.

And the Ponce audience was terrific.


It was very, very, very good.

The atmosphere, the air,
the energy's terrific.

All the opening nights of all the ballets,

Midsummer Night's Dream,

La Sylphide.

I have a lot of memories.

I was a leader, breaking rules.

I'm breaking norms.
I'm breaking forms.

Yes, all my life.


It was a big theater.

It was so beautiful.
It still is beautiful.

La Perla means a lot to me.

And to all the Ponceños.

Do you remember
beautiful moments of your life?

But it was in the past.

I would like to do it tomorrow.

I would like to go on doing things.

Okay, let's walk.

Thank you.

This is very weird.

You know why it's weird?
It's because he just lives in the TV.

I don't know anything about Walter Mercado

other than him telling me
about my day and my life.

So it's like,
we're gonna go inside the TV?

That's honestly how I feel
right now.

- Boricua!
- Boricua!


Take a good look at that beautiful man.

Best smile. Beautiful man.

The honor is mine...

This is crazy.

If you talk to anyone my age,

we grew up with him.

He is this iconic figure to us.

El señor Walter Mercado.


In retrospect,
there was really nothing else like it

on Spanish television.

He was like an oasis.

It's like gossip show,
gossip show, gossip show...

"Shut up! Walter Mercado's on."

The people in Puerto Rico
love you so much.

They love you more.

They love you. They love you.
We've always loved you.

This is very, uh...

It feels very surreal.

I... I'm very emotional because...

I grew up watching you
with my grandmother.

- We watched you every morning.
- Oh!

I remember walking into the room
and my grandmother saying...

Shh, shh, shh.

No, no, no, but...

- "They're getting to Sagittarius!"
- Capricornio.


And later I would...

So we'd sit there...

And we would wait
for Sagittarius and Capricorn.

He is this fabulous being
unto himself

in capes and makeup.

My cape.

I was three times
in the Puerto Rican Parade.

Walter Mercado's existence,

we have a greater acceptance
for people around us.

Oh, my God.

We love him without questioning anything.

And he has a great moral authority.

In that way, he's absolutely a pioneer.

It's gonna be weird when I wear this

instead of my Hamilton costume tomorrow.

- Take your natal chart with you.
- Yes.

I want you to know that you have in me

a friend and an admirer.

I'm gonna start crying.

- You can't believe it?
- I can't believe it.

I can't believe what's happening.
This is incredible.

Thank you.

No, thanks to you.

You're a light in our lives.

You are.

"Lots of peace
and lots and lots of love..."

Millennials know

perhaps maybe more
about Walter Mercado than I do.

I've seen the memes.

Imagine there was, like,
a 20-year-old right now

who was like,
"I'm gonna read you your horoscope.

I'm nonbinary and asexual."

They'd be the biggest thing on Instagram.

There's a phenomenon
that I can't explain.

We don't understand why

so many young people love and admire him

when they haven't been able
to see him on TV in years.

Had the Liberace swag
on a million. You know what I'm sayin'?

Look at that shit, bro.
The cape game was immaculate.

Lookin' like my grandma's drapes.

He's so nostalgic. He represents
moments where we're hanging out

with our abuelitas,
with our moms, with everybody.

You could put him on a coin,
you could put him on a T-shirt,

and we would all be like,
"Oh, I know that."

Walter Mercado is from my family's
hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Eh!

So, I had instant appreciation for him.

You wanna go in there?

And here it is, the masterpiece itself.

Everybody takes pictures.

I have to tell the men
not to go into the ladies' room

because everybody
wants to see the bathrooms.

Do you believe
in astrology?

Uh... I believe in Walter.

I believe in anything
Walter does and says.

We have a cocktail
named after Walter Mercado.

You get this, like, smoky floral note.

Kind of represents what is

mysterious and enigmatic
with Walter Mercado.

I'm happy to see that Walter Mercado
is still relevant.

He is still an icon.


The HistoryMiami Museum has planned

to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary
of what was

The Walter Mercado Show

and your role in the world of astrology.

It's a moment
of celebration of my whole life.

I'm an ageless personality.

But according
to the chronological time of the shows,

it takes 50 years of fabulousness,

of excitement, of exoticism.

If we invite
everyone in Miami who knows and loves me,

I will need to invite all of my jewelers,
perfumers... everybody.

It will be a big scandal.

We're anticipating having
about 200 guests.

We have on the list of guests

your friend, Julio... Julio Iglesias.

But also Gloria Estefan,

...and their son,
who are my good friends.

And "The Beast."

"The Beast" needs to be there.

Who is "The Beast"?

The most famous
perfume dealer in...

- In Miami?
- Yes.

- La bestia?
- La bestia.

He's terrific.

He's a beast in perfumes.


This photoshoot today
is to promote

the exhibition at the HistoryMiami Museum.

Show me some face...

That's what I love.


That's it.

And now, George,
tell him to put his hands like this.

Do you want a little break?
Let's take one.

Because that thing must weigh...

I understand.

How much does one of those capes weigh?

They must weigh a lot.

Like 15 pounds.


He has a pinched sciatic nerve,

and it's making the movements
difficult for him.

I have some capes that are crazy heavy...
but this one weighs like 15 or 20.

To be on television,

you have to be
very well-dressed, prepared, planned.

It's work.

I demand too much of myself
and it demands much energy.

And it's exhausting.

Right now, he's suffering.

He has terrible pain.

He hurt himself.

He gets tired.
He gets tired because of his age.

He wants to keep doing
a lot of things

that now aren't so realistic
for him to do.

Let's do another.

- One more?
- Yes.

That one weighs a ton...

and it's double.

Would you
describe this era of your life

as being in "semi-retirement"?

No, never! I will never retire.

I'm going to die
with my boots on.

What are you saying, retire?

I will never retire.

I'm full of energy.

I'm 20 years old and I began a new journey

in the life of a hero.

Life is so short.

I'm Walter, a body.

But more important than the body,

my spirit and my message
is going to be eternal.

Mucho mucho...

I was in the office
and he called me on the phone.

And he said, "Please come, I fell down."

And apparently he got
tangled up with sheets.

So when he got out of the bed, he fell.

Three of us went running
and untangled him.

But then he went to take a bath
and he slipped and he fell.

And Willie said he heard
how hard he hit himself against the floor.

He had black and blues on his back.

It's hard for all of us.

You know, we've never seen him like that.

Take a look, Jesse.

Thank you, Jesse. Many thanks.

With all my heart, thank you.

You've made my life happy.

After we took him for tests
and we saw those first X-rays,

uh... the diagnosis was
that he had fractured a rib

and part of the dorsal vertebrae
of his spine.

In addition to the fracture
he has on his pelvis.

I'm taking it easy,
but it's driving me crazy.

Nothing scares me
and nothing stops me, so...

Sometimes I'm in pain, sometimes I'm not.

Yesterday, I was in tremendous pain.

Being in front of the cameras
gives him energy.

Do you want more light? Less light?

It's okay how it is.

How do I look?

Not "okay."
You have to check.

Just like the cameras
and the filming

and the lights gives him energy,

his public gives him even more.

Even though he has a fracture
and even though he's in pain,

he's definitely going to go
to the event in Miami.

He's going to be there.

Oh, my goodness.

Hi, Walter. How are you?

This is our second home.

Oh, my gosh.

Muchas gracias.

- How does the song go?
- What?

"And you, and you, and you..."

It's like, "May the skies..."

♪ I care about you
And you and you ♪

♪ And no one else but you
And you and you ♪

♪ I care about you
And you and you ♪

♪ And no one else but you... ♪

Who's coming now? Who's coming?

- Right now, Primer Impacto.
- Primer Impacto.


Look how privileged we are,
ladies and gentlemen,

to be with Walter Mercado today.

I'm here with Walter Mercado.
I don't need to introduce him.

I would like to ask you
about this incredible exhibit.

It's been 50 years
in front of the lens.

What does it mean to you,
to share with your public?

It's so they get a little of the flavor...

and the fragrance, the essence
of Walter Mercado.

Walter is not only the cape,
or the hair, or what they think.

Walter Mercado
is a force of nature.

Would you return
to Primer Impacto, Walter?

I don't know because some things
belong to their era.

You were an actor,
a singer, a dancer...

Keep going, keep going, it's all true.

What is your message to Hispanics?

That every day we should be more united,
more heart.

Diversity makes us stronger.

It's a shame
that I woke up without a voice.

I don't know why,
but I have many ailments.

I have sciatica, too, but I told myself,
"You can't ever miss Jorge Ramos!"

But then one says to oneself, "You have to
be healthy first in order to get sick."

In other words, you're doing well?

Of course I'm well!

- And with tremendous energy.
- I know.

Can I say your age? 87?

No! No!

Between 50 and death,
and that's it.

That seems extraordinary to me.

So, let me ask you...

I am agnostic.

When we die,

I don't know what's gonna happen.

That's good. You will have surprises.

I hope that we have surprises.

And I hope that I'm wrong.

When we die,

what happens, Walter?

The body, which is just a house or a cage,

you begin from earth, to return to earth.

You are just atoms and molecules,
but there is inside you

something eternal, immortal.


So you think that
we'll be there without our body?

Yes, until you are reincarnated.

Because I believe...

Not believe.
I know that there is reincarnation.

Are you going to die
in Puerto Rico?

Wherever they catch me.

It's that death doesn't worry
me that much.


It's a topic I don't like
to broach because

we all know we're going to die someday.

The day you're born they mark a document
saying you'll die someday.

Is there someone? A god?

Who tells us what is going to happen?

God is in there, God is in here.

The God that is in me...

salutes the God that is in you.

The Namaste.

You know I can't end the interview

without asking you to do
your "with lots of love" thing.

May God bless all of you, even though
he doesn't believe in God...

May God bless all of you...

today, tomorrow and always.

And may you receive from me always...

a lot of peace.

But above all, what?

A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot... of love.

I'm in the front page.

Look at that.

My capes in the museum.

I'm happy tonight.

I'm flabbergasted.

I'm bombarded with many beautiful words.

Everybody's talking about tonight.

And I have all my family here.

Yeah, okay. My bad.

What do you think?
Is it too big?

A little big?

Very humble.
It's very you.

When I wake up
in the morning,

it's the first morning of my life.

Today is my day.

Today, I'm going to be
the best version of Walter.

Life is a constant reinvention.

I never rehearse to be myself.

Are you ready
for your close-up?

I'm ready...

I'm ready...

I'm ready for my close-up.

Don't film my chair.

Don't shoot.

Only the upper part of the body.

This way, Walter.

I've never been
in the same room with Walter.

I look forward to that.
We're all here for him.

Hi, Walter.

Mucho, mucho, mucho amor.

Mucho, mucho amor.

Mucho, mucho amor.

It's hot.
I'm telling you it's a little hot.

It's hot.

- There's no more room for people?
- What?

There's no more space?

No, no more space.
They're not letting more people in.

This just in. We are dying
of heat waiting for Walter Mercado.

Music's playing...

...but he's nowhere
to be found.

Haven't seen him.
We're super fangirling.

The homage to Walter
is about to begin.

I don't know.
I don't know what's going to happen.

I feel emotional and happy.

I don't know
what his energy level will be right now,

but we're super excited.

So excited.

Ah! My God.

You have to sit on the throne now.

But they have to do the dance
first and all that.

- But he has to be seated already.
- I know.

Now? Should I get on it?

Okay, Walter, let's go.

I know that I look really calm,

but I'm about to freak out because...

I watched when I was a kid. I love you.

I love your vest!

- You like it?
- I love it!

I follow you from Spain.


Like a good Cancer,
I always listened to you.

You're so beautiful!

Thank you... I'm a Scorpio.

Okay, next.

Bless them for me please,
for the photo.

For me...

it was the most beautiful and memorable
moment of my life.

Look at that!

My God...

What good publicity!

It's all beautiful... my hair...
It's all beautiful.


Look at this one.
How beautiful.

Look at the photo of my family
when I was a child.

Oh, my God.

- I don't think I'm in this one, Willie.
- Where?

Over there.

- This one is you.
- No. I don't believe it.

This is Cuca, Henry,
your dad and your mom.

- How depressing.
- Oh, please...

How depressing.

I'm a fortune teller,
but I don't like to know my future.

I just want to enjoy
each moment of my life.

Look, look!

Look at that!

I was very cute, wasn't I?


I feel
that I'm in heaven right now,

living the life I'm choosing to live

and with the people that I love.
That's heaven for me.

I don't expect another heaven.

Heaven is today and heaven is now.

That's precious!

Walter will never...

He will never leave.

This will leave, yes.

This is a carapacho. This is, uh...

This is nothing.

♪ If you go away ♪

♪ If you go away ♪

When he passes away,

the essence of Walter will live

forever and ever

in the heart of everybody that love him.

Walter Mercado
is a force of nature

without beginnings and endings.

He used to be a star, but now,

Walter is a constellation.

We dedicate this film to our grandmas
and to all the grandmas of the world.

With lots of love,
Alejandrito, KanKan and Ceena

God bless you all
today, tomorrow, and forever.

And may you receive from me always peace,
lots of peace.

But above all,
receive lots and lots of what?


Thank you.

The One-Take Wonder!