Zorro is an American action-adventure drama series produced by Walt Disney Productions. Based on the well-known Zorro character, the series premiered on October 10, 1957 on ABC. The final network broadcast was July 2, 1959. Seventy-eight episodes were produced, and 4 hour-long specials were aired on the Walt Disney anthology series between October 30, 1960 and April 2, 1961.
- Don Diego de la Vega (portrayed by Guy Williams) is depicted as a former University student, newly recalled by his father from Spain to his home outside El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles sobre El Rio Porciuncula (later shortened as Los Angeles). Just before reaching California, Diego learns of the tyranny of Captain Monastario, and realizes that his father, Don Alejandro, summoned him to help fight this injustice. Although he won medals for his fencing back in Spain, Diego decides that his best course of action is to conceal his ability with a sword, and to affect the demeanor of a milquetoast intellectual rather than a decisive man of action. His alter ego, Zorro operates primarily at night, taking the direct action that Diego cannot. This deception does not always sit well with Diego, especially as it affects his relationship with his disappointed father. In reality, Diego relies heavily on his wits, both with and without the mask on. Later in the series, Diego emerges as a respected figure in his own right, a clever thinker and loyal friend who just happens to be hopeless at swordplay. The character's name in Johnston McCulley's writing and previous adaptations was Diego Vega; the Disney version expands the name to Diego de la Vega, an innovation retained in some subsequent versions of the story. Diego's singing voice is supplied by Bill Lee of the Mellomen.
- Don Alejandro de la Vega (portrayed by George J. Lewis) is a hot-tempered cattle baron (or ranchero) with a strong sense of morality and fair play. His cattle and land holdings are said to be among the richest in California, which helps to make Don Alejandro an influential community leader. His impetuous nature often gets him into trouble, however, as he seeks to do battle himself, sometimes getting fooled and manipulated along the way. Don Alejandro eventually learns of his son's identity, and is strongly in favor of Zorro's work continuing.
- Bernardo (portrayed by pantomimist Gene Sheldon) is Diego's manservant, confidant and co-conspirator, the only person at first to know Diego's secret. Unable to speak, Bernardo uses gestures to communicate. Bernardo pretends to be deaf as well as mute, the better to overhear the plans of Zorro's enemies. He also plays the fool, adopting clownish behavior so as to seem harmless. Although Bernardo is sometimes portrayed as a little silly even when no pretense is required, he is also a capable and invaluable disciple for Zorro and Diego, even wearing the mask himself occasionally when the need arises. The character had appeared in the original stories as both deaf and mute; giving him hearing in this iteration helped to make Bernardo more integral to the series as Zorro's spy. It also helped to advance the plot by giving Diego a partner with whom he could confide feelings, plans, and intended actions, while also communicating these things to the viewers.
- Sergeant Demetrio López García (portrayed by Henry Calvin) is fat, superstitious and overfond of drink, but also kind-hearted, brave and loyal. Sergeant García believes that he must obey orders from his commanding officers, however cruel or unjust they may be. He tries to soften the blow with his friendly manner, often saying "Please?" as he issues an unpalatable order to a civilian. Although García seldom departs from his sworn duty, he develops considerable respect for Zorro and later in the series is openly glad when Zorro escapes capture. Nevertheless, García dreams of catching Zorro himself to collect the reward money, a dream that Diego encourages from time to time. He also has an excellent singing voice, and performs a number of songs over the course of the series, usually with mug in hand. García replaces McCulley's Sergeant Gonzales from the original stories, played by Noah Beery, Sr. as a hardcore villain in the 1920 film version.
Other recurring cast
- Don Diamond as Corporal Reyes (Magistrado storyline and onward) — Sergeant Garcia's assistant, introduced midway through season 1
- Britt Lomond as Captain Enrique Sanchez Monastario (season 1) — The evil but dashing Commandante was Zorro's first continuing foe, both on screen and at Disneyland (see "Other appearances" below).
- Than Wyenn as Licenciado Pina (season 1) — Monastario's adjutant and lawyer.
- Jan Arvan as Don Ignacio Torres (season 1) — A local don who is arrested by Monastario for speaking out. Often known as 'Don Nacho'.
- Romney Brent as Padre Felipe (season 1) - A priest at the Mission of San Gabriel and a friend to Diego. He provides Church sanctuary to Torres before he escapes to Monterrey.
- Henry Rowland as Count Kolinko (season 1) — Juan Greco and José Sebastián Vargas's conspirator.
- Vinton Hayworth as Magistrate Carlos Galindo (season 1) — The local leader of a conspiracy to take over California.
- Jay Novello as Juan Greco (season 1) — José Sebastián Vargas's conspirator.
- Charles Korvin as José Sebastián Vargas (season 1) — The man Galindo was working for, self-styled "the Eagle".
- Steve Stevens as Don Rodolfo (season 1) — One of the local dons, who vacillates on his commitment to help defend Los Angeles from the conspirators.
- Jolene Brand as Ana María Verduzco (season 2) — A love interest for Diego and Zorro, based in Monterey.
- Eduard Franz as Señor Gregorio Verduzco (season 2) — Ana Maria's father, leader of a group trying to finance bringing a supply ship to California.
- Richard Anderson as Ricardo del Campo (season 2) — Diego's old friend and rival who is also courting Ana Maria.
- Cesar Romero as Esteban de la Cruz (season 2) — Diego's uncle, an aging gigolo with a dishonest streak and a propensity for trouble.
- Annette Funicello as Anita Campillo (season 2) — A young woman who comes to Los Angeles to see her father, except that nobody has ever heard of him; Funicello was given the role as a birthday present.
- Everett Sloane as Andrés Felipe Basilio (season 2) — Another of Zorro's foes, a greedy official who gathers treasure for Spain but seeks to keep it for himself.
- John Litel as Governor of California (season 2) — Honest but petulant, the governor is the subject of two conspiracies against him, and Diego's house guest at the time.
- Eugenia Paul as Elena Torres
For most of its brief run, Zorro's episodes were part of continuing story arcs, each about thirteen episodes long, which made it almost like a serial. The first of these chronicles the arrival of Zorro / Diego and his battle of wits with the greedy and cruel local Commandante, Captain Enrique Sanchez Monasterio. After Monasterio's final defeat, in the second storyline, Zorro must uncover and counter the machinations of the evil Magistrado Carlos Galindo, who is part of a plot to rule California. The third story arc concerns the leader of that conspiracy, the shadowy figure of "The Eagle", revealed as vain and insecure José Sebastián Vargas. Season one concludes with Varga's death.
Season two opens with Diego in Monterey, the colonial capital, where privately collected money to bring a supply ship to California is consistently diverted to a gang of bandits. Diego stays to investigate, both as himself and as Zorro, and becomes interested in Ana Maria Verduzco, the daughter of the man organizing the effort. Once Zorro defeats the thieves, he enters into a rivalry with his old friend Ricardo del Campo, a practical joker who is also interested in Ana Maria. Ana Maria in turn is in love with Zorro. While in Monterey, Zorro and Sergeant Demetrio Lopez Garcia also get involved in a dispute between the peons and a repressive Lieutenant Governor. Diego is on the verge of giving up his mask to marry Ana Maria, but Don Alejandro talks him out of it. Zorro (and Diego) says goodbye to Ana Maria and returns to Los Angeles, where he gets involved in a series of shorter adventures. In one three episode story arc, guest starring Annette Funicello, Zorro must solve the mystery of Anita Campillo's father, a man who does not seem to exist. Other storylines late in the series involve Diego's never-do-well uncle (Cesar Romero), a plot against the governor of California, an encounter with an American "mountain man" (Jeff York, reprising a role from The Saga of Andy Burnett), and outwitting a greedy emissary from Spain.
Season 1 (1957-1958)
|1||1||"Presenting Señor Zorro"||1957·Oct·10|
|2||2||"Zorro's Secret Passage"||1957·Oct·17|
|3||3||"Zorro Rides to the Mission"||1957·Oct·24|
|4||4||"The Ghost of the Mission"||1957·Oct·31|
|6||6||"Zorro Saves a Friend"||1957·Nov·14|
|7||7||"Monasterio Sets a Trap"||1957·Nov·21|
|8||8||"Zorro's Ride into Terror"||1957·Nov·28|
|9||9||"A Fair Trial"||1957·Dec·05|
|10||10||"Garcia's Secret Mission"||1957·Dec·12|
|11||11||"Double Trouble for Zorro"||1957·Dec·19|
|12||12||"Zorro, Luckiest Swordsman Alive"||1957·Dec·26|
|13||13||"The Fall of Monastario"||1958·Jan·02|
|14||14||"Shadow of Doubt"||1958·Jan·09|
|15||15||"Garcia Stands Accused"||1958·Jan·16|
|16||16||"Slaves of the Eagle"||1958·Jan·23|
|17||17||"Sweet Face of Danger"||1958·Jan·30|
|18||18||"Zorro Fights His Father"||1958·Feb·06|
|19||19||"Death Stacks the Deck"||1958·Feb·13|
|20||20||"Agent Of The Eagle"||1958·Feb·20|
|21||21||"Zorro Springs a Trap"||1958·Feb·27|
|22||22||"The Unmasking of Zorro"||1958·Mar·06|
|23||23||"The Secret of the Sierra"||1958·Mar·13|
|24||24||"The New Commandante"||1958·Mar·20|
|25||25||"The Fox and the Coyote"||1958·Mar·27|
|26||26||"Adios, Señor Magistrado"||1958·Apr·03|
|27||27||"The Eagle's Brood"||1958·Apr·10|
|28||28||"Zorro by Proxy"||1958·Apr·17|
|29||29||"Quintana Makes a Choice"||1958·Apr·24|
|30||30||"Zorro Lights a Fuse"||1958·May·01|
|31||31||"The Man with the Whip"||1958·May·08|
|32||32||"The Cross of the Andes"||1958·May·15|
|33||33||"The Deadly Bolas"||1958·May·22|
|34||34||"The Well of Death"||1958·May·29|
|35||35||"The Tightening Noose"||1958·Jun·05|
|36||36||"The Sergeant Regrets"||1958·Jun·12|
|37||37||"The Eagle Leaves the Nest"||1958·Jun·19|
|38||38||"Bernardo Faces Death"||1958·Jun·26|
|39||39||"The Eagle's Flight"||1958·Jul·03|
Season 2 (1958-1959)
|1||40||"Welcome to Monterey"||1958·Oct·09|
|2||41||"Zorro Rides Alone"||1958·Oct·16|
|3||42||"Horse of Another Color"||1958·Oct·23|
|4||43||"The Señorita Makes a Choice"||1958·Oct·30|
|5||44||"Rendezvous at Sundown"||1958·Nov·06|
|6||45||"The New Order"||1958·Nov·13|
|7||46||"An Eye for an Eye"||1958·Nov·20|
|8||47||"Zorro and the Flag of Truce"||1958·Nov·27|
|10||49||"The Practical Joker"||1958·Dec·11|
|11||50||"The Flaming Arrow"||1958·Dec·18|
|12||51||"Zorro Fights a Duel"||1958·Dec·25|
|13||52||"Amnesty for Zorro"||1959·Jan·01|
|15||54||"The Iron Box"||1959·Jan·15|
|16||55||"The Gay Caballero"||1959·Jan·22|
|17||56||"Tornado Is Missing"||1959·Jan·29|
|18||57||"Zorro Versus Cupid"||1959·Feb·05|
|19||58||"The Legend of Zorro"||1959·Feb·12|
|20||59||"Spark of Revenge"||1959·Feb·19|
|21||60||"The Missing Father"||1959·Feb·26|
|22||61||"Please Believe Me"||1959·Mar·05|
|24||63||"Zorro and the Mountain Man"||1959·Mar·19|
|25||64||"The Hound of the Sierras"||1959·Mar·26|
|27||66||"The Man from Spain"||1959·Apr·09|
|28||67||"Treasure for the King"||1959·Apr·16|
|29||68||"Exposing the Tyrant"||1959·Apr·23|
|30||69||"Zorro Takes a Dare"||1959·Apr·30|
|31||70||"An Affair of Honor"||1959·May·07|
|32||71||"The Sergeant Sees Red"||1959·May·14|
|33||72||"Invitation to Death"||1959·May·21|
|34||73||"The Captain Regrets"||1959·May·28|
|35||74||"Masquerade for Murder"||1959·Jun·04|
|36||75||"Long Live the Governor"||1959·Jun·11|
|37||76||"The Fortune Teller"||1959·Jun·18|
|38||77||"Señor China Boy"||1959·Jun·25|
Hour-Long Specials (1960-1961)
|2||80||"Adios, El Cuchillo"||1960·Nov·06|
|3||81||"The Postponed Wedding"||1961·Jan·01|
Guy Williams was introduced to the Disney audience as Zorro in a segment of the Disney anthology television series, "The Fourth Anniversary Show". During this episode, which starred the Mouseketeers and featured upcoming shows, Moochie (Kevin Corcoran) repeatedly asks Walt Disney, "What about Zorro?" Finally Zorro appears, but not in the same shot with the Mouseketeers. Zorro explains who he is, and coyly answers the question of whether he's "real."
Williams and other key cast members also made a number of live appearances at Disneyland in 1958. Some of their shows involved Zorro and Monastario battling each other on the rooftops of Frontierland.
George J. Lewis, who portrayed Diego's father Don Alejandro, had previously appeared in the 1944 serial Zorro's Black Whip as Vic Gordon, an ally of the Black Whip.
The show was very popular, especially with children, and its theme song (written by Norman Foster and George Bruns and first recorded by the Mellomen) was a hit recording for The Chordettes, peaking at #17 on the Hit Parade. It also created a problem with "Z" graffitiing on school desks and walls across the United States.
Despite good ratings, the series ended after two seasons due to a financial dispute between Disney and the network over ownership of Zorro, Mickey Mouse Club, and the Disney anthology television series (at the time titled Disneyland). During the legal battle, however, Disney kept the franchise going for a few years in the form of four new Zorro adventures aired on the anthology series. Guy Williams was kept on full salary during this period, but by the time Disney and ABC resolved their differences, Walt Disney decided that public interest in the character had flagged. Nevertheless, Disney continued to pay $3,500 per year for the television rights until 1967.
The 1957-1959 episodes were colorized in 1992, and appeared in that format for a time on the Disney Channel and elsewhere, often alternating with the original black-and-white versions.
In 1983 a comedy follow-up, Zorro and Son, aired on CBS. The series was shot in color on many of the same studio lots where the original was filmed. Featuring none of the original cast (Guy Williams walked out after a script dispute), the show performed poorly in the ratings.
Several compilations from the series were issued on VHS over the years, but are now out of print. They are as follows: Theatrical films compiled from episodes
- The Sign of Zorro (overseas, 1958, U.S. 1960; Monastario storyline)
- Zorro the Avenger (overseas, 1959; based on the end of the Eagle storyline)
VHS television episodes
- Volume 1 - The Secret of El Zorro (four episodes) ISBN 1-55890-341-0
- Volume 2 - Zorro and the Mountain Man (three episodes) ISBN 1-55890-339-9
- Volume 3 - The Mystery of Don Cabrillo (three episodes) ISBN 1-55890-340-2
- Volume 4 - Invitation to Death (four episodes) ISBN 1-55890-362-3
- Volume 5 - The Gay Caballero (four episodes) ISBN 1-55890-173-6
- Volume 6 - The Man from Spain (four episodes) ISBN 1-55890-175-2
Two volumes from season one of Zorro were released on DVD in the United States in 2006, representing the entire Monastario storyline and the beginning of Magistrado Galindo storyline. Three more volumes soon followed, completing the season, which was then reissued as a boxed set entitled Zorro, the Complete First Season. All of the above DVDs are only available from the Disney Movie Club. Each volume contains the 1992 colorized version of about eight episodes. No special features are included. The Disney Movie Rewards program offers a Complete 1st Season set for 2,200 points.
- Walt Disney's Zorro, Season 1, Volume 1 ISBN 0-7888-7103-X
- Walt Disney's Zorro, Season 1, Volume 2 ISBN 0-7888-7104-8
- Walt Disney's Zorro, Season 1, Volume 3 ISBN 0-7888-7250-8
- Walt Disney's Zorro, Season 1, Volume 4 ISBN 0-7888-7251-6
- Walt Disney's Zorro, Season 1, Volume 5 ISBN 0-7888-7253-2
Recently, the Disney Movie Club released the second season, also consisting of five volumes.
The complete first (and later the second) seasons are also available in France, in Region 2 format.
- Zorro, Saison 1 (French box set, original English language available) ASIN B0000VKLP8
- Zorro, Seizoen 1 (Dutch box set) EAN 8717418063412
- Zorro, Saison 2 (French box set, original English language available) ASIN B001927NGW
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release date|
|Season 1||39||November 3, 2009|
|Season 2||39||November 3, 2009|
- Zorro at TV.com