Saturday, February 20, 2021

'Out Of The Night, When The Full Moon Is Bright, Comes The Horseman Known As Zorro': A Look Back At Walt Disney's Classic TV Series 'Zorro'

 Out of the night,

When the full moon is bright,
Comes the horseman known as Zorro.
This bold renegade
Carves a "Z" with his blade,
A "Z" that stands for Zorro.

Zorro, Zorro, the fox so cunning and free,
Zorro, Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z.

He is polite,
But the wicked take flight
When they catch the sight of Zorro.
He's friend of the weak,
And the poor and the meek,
This very unique, Señor Zorro.

Zorro, Zorro, the fox so cunning and free,
Zorro, Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z.

Zorro, Zorro, Zorro, Zorro, Zorro, Zorro....

I love listening to that theme song, as it reminds me of a happy time in my childhood in the 1950s when I watched Walt Disney’s Zorro on TV. 

I loved watching Guy Williams (seen in the above and below photos) as Zorro, clad in his black hat, eye mask and cape, whip that sword out and cut the sign of the Z onto the bad guy’s clothes, and then ride off on Tornado, his black stallion. 

(Guy Williams’ real name was Armando Joseph Catalano and he was born on January 14, 1924 and died on April 30, 1989).

Zorro offered adventure, romance, and comedy. I also loved the villains, the beautiful women, and the comic characters of fat Sergeant Garcia (portrayed by Henry Calvin) and Zorro’s deaf-mute assistant, Bernardo (portrayed by Gene Sheldon).

“Uncle Walt” Disney appeared on the TV screen and introduced the viewers to the adventures of Zorro

The TV series began on October 10, 1957 on ABC and after 78 episodes, ended on July 2, 1959. Later, in 1960 and 1961, Walt Disney’s offered four hour-long Zorro specials.

I read and enjoyed the Dell Zorro comic books and I later read and enjoyed the Zorro stories by the character’s creator, Johnston McCulley (seen in the below photo with Guy Williams). 

McCulley introduced Zorro in a serialized story, The Curse of Capistrano, in 1919 in the All-Story Weekly magazine. 

McCulley, who was born on February 2, 1883 and died at age 75 on November 23, 1958, wrote many short stories, fifty novels, screenplays for film and television. His most famous character was Zorro.   

I also later watched the earlier Zorro films, which starred silent screen star Douglas Fairbanks in 1920’s The Mark of Zorro, and the 1940 remake with Tyrone Power. And I watched Frank Langella’s TV remake of The Mark of Zorro in 1974 and the 1998 remake with Antonio Banderas as Zorro.

I recall one Christmas as a young child when money was an issue with my family, and my brother and I were allowed to pick only one “big” gift. The supermarket at the time used to offer toy sets on the tops of their shelves, and that year the Zorro toy set was a popular one. The set consisted of the fort featured on the TV show and toy figures of all of the TV show’s characters. I loved that set, as I loved the TV series.

You can watch the opening and closing Zorro theme (with snippets) via the below link:

Zorro 1957 - 1959 Opening and Closing Theme (With Snippets) - YouTube

And you can watch a history of Zorro via the below link:

Zorro The Life and Legend of Zorro Disney - YouTube

You can also watch the two hour-long episodes of Zorro, with Gilbert Roland and Rita Moreno, via the below links:  

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