In Part 4 of my Cowboy series on Ploughshares, I confessed my love of Zorro. The Zorro legend began as a pulp character in 1919. Zorro, which literally means fox, is the superhero identity of Don Diego de la Vega, a wealthy Spanish nobleman who battles the corrupt establishment during the Colonial Spanish era.
Zorro has been reinvented over the years, most recently with Antonio Banderas. However, long before Banderas donned the famous mask, I have had a fascination with Zorro, specifically the 1957 Disney television series.
It’s logical that Zorro would appeal to me–I loved Robin Hood and the Scarlet Pimpernel when I was kid. Zorro is of the same cloth. Add the allure of colonial era California to sword play, horsemanship, and Guy Williams’ matinee idol performance (although he was Italian rather than Spanish) and we’ve got a ball game.
When I think of that short lived series, I think of the music, particularly Bernardo’s theme, which highlighted the work of pantomimist Gene Sheldon. I think of the rhythmic speech patterns of both Williams and the fabulous Henry Calvin. And I think of laying on the floor of my grandparents back bedroom, glued to a show that had been off the air for almost 30 years.
I own the series on DVD in all its black and white glory (I am a huge critic of colorizing black and white–gross). Soon might be the time to introduce my daughter to the fox so cunning and free.