The wind howls where it goes. Slim and silent, her clothing is so light that it seems to blend into the darkness. The shadows envelop him like a lady, while moonlight illuminates his smile.

This is the hero of the sword and cape Zorro, who this August completes 100 years of existence. Their adventures are known to most people on the planet. Even if you don’t know all of its true origin, you have certainly seen your brand somewhere.

According to IMDB, the largest movie database, Zorro’s cloak and sword, has had 74 versions, including one Indian.

Therefore, it is known worldwide in some way. Most of them in their thirties meet him by actor Antonio Banderas, who played him in 1998. Older ones, just over 40, through the Disney series, which popularized the character who was played by Guy Williams, aka by the public as the Robinson family patriarch in Lost in Space.

The actor with the cast of the series created by Irwin Allen. The series – 1965-1968 – featured Williams and June Lockhart.

His origins

The hero underwent some changes over time, but nothing that changed its origins. Don Diego de La Vega is a “criollo”, the son of Spanish-born Spaniards, who, upon seeing the injustices that the people of the city of Los Angeles, California, suffer at the hands of the Dons, landlords who practically enslaved. decides to face this tyranny. As he realizes that he will not be able to face these men and the main one alone, he creates a character for himself, an effeminate and totally oblivious to the world around him, while the night with his mask and sword is the hero Zorro.
Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939), one of the most famous holywoodian stars of silent cinema, was very fond of the work created by police reporter Johnston McCulley (1883-1958), buying his rights and making an adaptation. Fairbanks then created the black cover, hideout, and Zorro’s famous brand Z for the movie “The Mark of Zorro.” McCulley liked the idea and incorporated it into his new book, “New Adventures of Zorro” of 1922.

The mark of Zorro

Basically, this is how the character gained all the personality, charm, and psychological structure we know, all coming from a time when California still belonged to Mexico and the Spanish crown treated the state as its colony.

Johnston McCulley and Guy Williams.

Zorro was not just a sword-clad hero jumping from ceiling to ceiling or riding his black horse called Tornado – in the original Diamond Decorator, but a social criticism of a time when minorities suffered at the hands of those who had the most. And still suffer today.

In addition, Zorro is a history class on colonization, the way of life of the former landlords, who looked more feudal but were actually landlords.

Therefore, its origin may have been 100 years ago, but its representativeness was 100 years later, that is, of our time.

Cloak and Sword Mickey

Johnston McCulley sold TV rights to agent Mitchell Gertz in 1950. The agent then attempted to pass them on to Walt Disney. Unfortunately Disney at the time was totally focused on building Disneyland. Mickey’s creator nevertheless saw the full potential and tried to get ABC to get him on TV. Unfortunately, the network preferred to sponsor “Disneyland”, which would be an anthology of drawings and fairy tales presented by Shirley Temple, then the American girl prodigy.

Shortly after, Walt needed more money for his park and brought back the idea of Zorro for ABC, which this time approved and thus began building the hero’s set and in 1957 Guy Williams was chosen to live the character.

Walt Disney and Guy Williams. Interestingly Walt had already selected actor Britt Lomond to be Zorro. Britt Lomond ended up with the role of Captain Monaster.

This stage is one of the best known of the public, for bringing a charismatic actor and always smiling without his fights, as well as silent cinema. Even so, now Zorro could be seen by millions of people through TV and not limited to movies or matins. And also conquer the world.

Over the years…

The hero gained new versions, the most famous being the French, made by Alain Delon in 1975. The French actor was the most coveted of his time, both for his fame as well as his beauty.

Alain Delon as Zorro

In addition to this version, another very remembered and as described at the beginning of the article, is with Antonio Banderas, who lived the character twice.

THE MASK OF ZORRO, Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, 1998, (c) Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

Zorro also had a Mexican soap opera, literary adaptation by Chilean writer Isabel Allende, animations, comics etc.

Speaking of comics, many – even if they haven’t read or watched anything from Zorro – remember one of the most famous comic book scenes that is the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents when he left the movies after watching “A Zorro’s mask “.

Currently Zorro is being planned to come to life in theaters again, and already has a musical version.


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