Zorro's 90th Anniversary: 1919-2009
The legend of Zorro has changed and developed throughout 90 years of cinema, television, and stories.
Each subsequent version of the Zorro legend fits into one of two categories.
- The first type of Zorro story is when the title character is the original Zorro himself and the story is the retelling of or a variation of the original legend. The Mark of Zorro - 1920 (See below), The Bold Caballero - 1936 (See Below) , Zorro's Fighting Legion - 1939 (See Below), The Mark of Zorro - 1940, Walt Disney's Zorro television series - 1957 to 1959, the New World Zorro television series - 1990 to 1993, Zorro: La Espada y la Rosa - 2007.
- The second type of Zorro story is when the title character is either a direct descendant of the original Zorro or is someone who has heard of the legend and takes on the mask of Zorro.Don Q, Son of Zorro - 1925, Zorro Rides Again - 1937 (See Below), Zorro's Black Whip - 1944 (See Below), Son of Zorro - 1947, Ghost of Zorro - 1949, The Mark of Zorro - 1974, Zorro - 1974, the Zorro and Son television series - 1983, The Mask of Zorro - 1998, The Legend of Zorro - 2005
The Zorro Legend started with the short story "The Curse of Capistrano" - 1919. This serialized story by Johnston McCulley first introduced the character of Zorro. The story originally appeared as a serialized story in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly in 1919. It was later released as a novel under the name The Mark of Zorro.
1. Zorro in The Bold Caballero (1936) - Robert Livingston [COLOR]
The first Zorro (Robert Livingston) picture shot with sound and the first to be produced by Republic Pictures. Republic spent more money on this production than they typically did.
Don Diego (Robert Livingston) is fighting for the peons against the Commandante. Shortly after the Governor and his daughter Isabella arrive, the Governor is killed and marked with a Z. When Don Diego's identity as Zorro is revealed to Isabella, she has the Commandante arrest him as the killer. But he convinces her the Commandante was the killer as the Z was backwards.
This is the only film to accurately depict Zorro as wearing a mask which covers his entire face, as he appeared on the cover of the August 9th, 1919 issue of All-Story Weekly; the magazine which first introduced him in the five part story The Curse of Capistrano. All subsequent film and television depictions which leave Zorro's chin, and usually his entire mouth, exposed are variations of the design first created for Douglas Fairbanks in his silent film The Mark of Zorro (1920).
2. Mark of Zorro (1920) [Silent] - Douglas Fairbanks
Mark of Zorro was the transition between Douglas Fairbanks' early career as a brash all-American hero and the lavish 1920s costume adventures.
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. brings fame to McCulley's creation by starring as Don Diego Vega and Zorro in this 1920 movie. Fairbanks is lauded for his humorous portrayal of the lifeless Don Diego and the playful Zorro.
3. Serial: Zorro's Fighting Legion - Reed Hadley
4. Serial: Zorro's Black Whip - George J. Lewis
5. Serial: Zorro Rides Again - John Carol
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