Re: El Zorro

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: alt.movies.serials
Date: Saturday, May 09, 1998 7:21 PM

The Maverick wrote in message <>…
>Also, a caveat on Zorro Rides Again. It's an excellent serial, but it's
>also a twist on the Zorro legend since it features one of his
>descendents fighting evildoers in the 30's.

ALL of the Zorro serials alter the original set-up somewhat. "Zorro Rides Again" (1937) is set in modern Mexico; it has radio and cars.

"Zorro's Fighting Legion" (1939) takes place in the interior of Mexico, NOT in California, as was the original.

"Zorro's Black Whip" (1944), set in 1880s Idaho, never mentions Zorro. In the first chapter, a male hero is dressed up in a Zorro-style costume. In the subsequent chapters, his sister (Linda Stirling) replaces her fallen brother in the crusade for proper government. Perhaps her whip had belonged to Zorro, but beyond that, the title does more to catch attention than describe what goes on. This is likely due to Republic having bought the story property apart from Zorro before adapting it with the studio-assigned title.

"Son of Zorro" (1946) has a descendant of Zorro fulfilling his ancestor's shoes, and of course, the time period has been adjusted.

"Ghost of Zorro" (1950) follows its predecessors.

The strange thing about the Zorro property is the character was introduced in a 1919 story called "The Curse of Capistrano." Capistrano is short for San Juan Capistrano (or possibly also the neighboring community of Capistrano Beach) -- where the Swallows return on March 19 of every year. It's mid-way between Los Angeles and San Diego, yet the moviemakers choose to write it out of their screenplays. Republic was not alone in doing this.

20th Century-Fox, in making their "The Mark of Zorro" in 1940, kept the 1840s time period and the Mexican sovereignty of the original story, but changed the locale 60 miles north to LOS ANGELES. Why? (That's the least of the changes; Fox seemed determined to repeat Warner Brothers' success with "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938), so they made numerous changes to Zorro that essentially turned him into Robin Hood. Odder still, they hired Alan Hale Sr. and Eugene Pallette to repeat their "Little John" and "Friar Tuck" roles in "Mark of Zorro" but with new names that were supposed to disguise what the studio was doing.)

Disney, making its 1950s TV series of Zorro (currently showing on the Disney Channel every night), changed the location to Monterey, California. Again -- why?

David Hayes


Return to Table of Contents

Go to next article