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Zorro (Diego de la Vega)
Artwork for the cover of Zorro #2 (March 2008 Dynamite Entertainment). Art by Mike Mayhew
First appearance All-Story Weekly (August 1919)
Last appearance Short Story Magazine (April 1959)
Created by Johnston McCulley
Portrayed by Douglas Fairbanks
Robert Livingston
Reed Hadley
Tyrone Power
George Turner
Clayton Moore
José Suárez
Guy Williams
Frank Langella
George Hamilton
Rodolfo de Anda
Duncan Regehr
Anthony Hopkins
Antonio Banderas
Alain Delon
Christian Meier
Full name Diego de la Vega
Aliases Zorro
Gender Male
Occupation Nobleman
Nationality Novohispanic / Mexican
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Zorro (Spanish for "fox") is a fictional character created in 1919 by American pulp writer Johnston McCulley, and appearing in works set in the Pueblo of Los Angeles during the era of Spanish California (1769–1821). He is typically portrayed as a dashing masked vigilante who defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of California against corrupt and tyrannical officials and other villains. His signature all-black costume includes a cape, a hat known as sombrero cordobés, and a domino mask that covers the upper part of his face.

In the stories, Zorro has a high bounty on his head, but is too skilled and cunning for the bumbling authorities to catch, and he also delights in publicly humiliating them. Zorro is an acrobat and an expert in various weapons, but the one he employs most frequently is his sword, which he also uses to often carve his initial, a Z, on his defeated foes and other objects. He is also an accomplished rider, his trusty steed being a black horse called Tornado. Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega (originally Don Diego Vega), a young man who is the only son of Don Alejandro de la Vega (originally Don Alejandro Vega), the richest landowner in California, while Diego's mother is dead. In most versions, Diego learned his swordsmanship while at university in Spain, and created his masked alter ego after he was unexpectedly summoned home by his father because California had fallen into the hand of an oppressing dictator. Diego is usually shown living with his father in a huge hacienda, which contains a number of secret passages and underground tunnels, leading to a secret cave that serves as headquarters for Zorro's operations and as Tornado's hiding place. In order to divert suspicion about his identity, Diego hides his fighting abilities while also pretending to be a coward and a fop.

Zorro made his debut in the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano, originally meant as a stand-alone story. However, the success of the 1920 film adaptation The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks convinced McCulley to write more Zorro stories for about four decades: the character was featured in a total of five serialized stories and 57 short stories, the last one appearing in print posthumously in 1959, the year after his death. The Curse of Capistrano eventually sold more than 50 million copies, becoming one of the most sold books of all time, while the rest of McCulley's Zorro stories didn't enjoy the same popularity, as most of them were never reprinted until the 21st century. The character also appears in over 40 films and in ten TV series, the most famous being the Disney-produced Zorro series of 1957-'59, starring Guy Williams. Other media featuring Zorro include stories by other authors, audio/radio dramas, comic books and strips, stage productions and video games.

Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media, and is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books.

Publishing historyEdit


Zorro's debut in the novel The Curse of Capistrano (1919).

Zorro debuted in Johnston McCulley's novel The Curse of Capistrano, serialized in five parts between August 9 and September 6, 1919 in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly.[1] The story was originally meant as a standalone tale, and at the denouement, Zorro's true identity is revealed to all.

Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, on their honeymoon, selected the story as the inaugural picture for their new studio, United Artists, beginning the character's cinematic tradition. The novel was adapted as the film The Mark of Zorro (1920), which Fairbanks produced, co-wrote and starred in as Diego/Zorro. The movie was a commercial success,[1] and the 1924 reprint of McCulley's story by publisher Grosset & Dunlap used the same title, capitalizing on the movie's popularity. The novel has since been reprinted using both titles.

Zorro's creator Johnston McCulley (right) with Zorro's first television portrayer, Guy Williams, circa 1958

In response to public demand fueled by the film, McCulley wrote more than sixty more Zorro stories, beginning in 1922. The 1922 story was The Further Adventures of Zorro and was also serialized in Argos All-Story Weekly. Fairbanks picked up the movie rights for the sequel that year; however Fairbanks's sequel, Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925), was more based on the 1919 novel Don Q's Love Story by the mother-son duo Kate Prichard and Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard than The Further Adventures. Thus McCulley received no credit on the film.[2]

At first, production of new Zorro stories proceeded at irregular intervals: the third novel, Zorro Rides Again (not to be confused with the 1937 theatrical serial) was published in 1931, nine years after the second one. Then, between 1932 and 1941, McCulley wrote four short stories and two serialized novels. Zorro stories were published much more frequently between 1944 and 1951, a period in which McCulley published 52 short stories with the character for the West Magazine. "Zorro Rides the Trail!", which appeared in Max Brand's Western Magazine in 1954, is the last story to be published during the author's lifetime, and the second-to-last story overall. The last, "The Mask of Zorro" (not to be confused with the 1998 film), was published posthumously in Short Stories for Men in 1959. These stories ignore Zorro's public revelation of his identity.

The Curse of Capistrano eventually sold more than 50 million copies, becoming one of the most sold books of all time, while the rest of McCulley's Zorro stories didn't enjoy the same popularity, as most of them were never reprinted until the 21st century.

Over 40 Zorro titled films were made over the years, including The Mark of Zorro, the 1940 classic starring Tyrone Power. The character was also featured in ten TV series, the most famous being the Disney-produced Zorro series of 1957-'59, starring Guy Williams.[1] Zorro appears in several stories written by other authors, comics books and strips, stage productions, video games and other media. McCulley died in 1958, just as Zorro was at the height of his popularity thanks to the Disney series.

Appearances in mediaEdit

Stories by Johnston McCulleyEdit

  • The Curse of Capistrano, All-Story Weekly Vol. 100 No. 2 – Vol. 101 No. 2, serialized in five parts, August 9, 1919 – September 6, 1919 – novella The Curse of Capistrano published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1919, and reissued as The Mark of Zorro in 1924 by the same editor
  • The Further Adventures of Zorro, Argosy Vol. 142 No. 4 – Vol. 143 No. 3, serialized in six parts, May 6, 1922 – June 10, 1922
  • Zorro Rides Again, Argosy Vol. 224 No. 3 – Vol. 224 No. 6, serialized in four parts, October 3, 1931 – October 24, 1931
  • "Zorro Saves A Friend", Argosy Vol. 234 No. 1, November 12, 1932
  • "Zorro Hunts A Jackal", Argosy Vol. 237 No. 6, April 22, 1933 (aka Zorro Hunts by Night)
  • "Zorro Deals With Treason", Argosy Vol. 249 No. 2, August 18, 1934
  • Mysterious Don Miguel, Argosy Weekly, Vol. 258 No. 5 – No. 6, serialized in two parts, September 21, 1935 – September 28, 1935
  • "Zorro Hunts By Night", Cavalier Classics Vol. I No. 2, September 1940 (aka "Zorro Hunts a Jackal")
  • The Sign of Zorro, Argosy Vol. 305 No. 2 – Vol. 305 No. 6, serialized in five parts, January 25, 1941 – February 22, 1941
  • "Zorro Draws a Blade", West Magazine Vol. 56 No. 2, July 1944
  • "Zorro Upsets a Plot", West Magazine Vol. 56 No. 3, September 1944
  • "Zorro Strikes Again", West Magazine Vol. 57 No. 1, November 1944
  • "Zorro Saves a Herd", West Magazine Vol. 57 No. 2, January 1945
  • "Zorro Runs the Gauntlet", West Magazine Vol. 57 No. 3, March 1945
  • "Zorro Fights a Duel", West Magazine Vol. 58 No. 1, May 1945
  • "Zorro Opens a Cage", West Magazine Vol. 58 No. 2, July 1945
  • "Zorro Prevents a War", West Magazine Vol. 58 No. 3, September 1945
  • "Zorro Fights a Friend", West Magazine Vol. 59 No. 1, October 1945
  • "Zorro's Hour of Peril", West Magazine Vol. 59 No. 2, November 1945
  • "Zorro Lays a Ghost", West Magazine Vol. 59 No. 3, December 1945
  • "Zorro Frees Some Slaves", West Magazine Vol. 60 No. 1, January 1946
  • "Zorro's Double Danger", West Magazine Vol. 60 No. 2, February 1946
  • "Zorro's Masquerade", West Magazine Vol. 60 No. 3, March 1946
  • "Zorro Stops a Panic", West Magazine Vol. 61 No. 1, April 1946
  • "Zorro's Twin Perils", West Magazine Vol. 61 No. 2, May 1946
  • "Zorro Plucks a Pigeon", West Magazine Vol. 61 No. 3, June 1946
  • "Zorro Rides at Dawn" West Magazine Vol. 62 No. 1, July 1946
  • "Zorro Takes the Bait", West Magazine Vol. 62 No. 2, August 1946
  • "Zorro Raids a Caravan", West Magazine Vol. 62 No. 3, October 1946
  • "Zorro's Moment of Fear", West Magazine Vol. 63 No. 3, January 1947
  • "Zorro Saves His Honor", West Magazine Vol. 64 No. 1, February 1947
  • "Zorro and the Pirate", West Magazine Vol. 64 No. 2, March 1947
  • "Zorro Beats the Drum", West Magazine Vol. 64 No. 3, April 1947
  • "Zorro's Strange Duel", West Magazine Vol. 65 No. 1, May 1947
  • "A Task for Zorro", West Magazine Vol. 65 No. 2, June 1947
  • "Zorro's Masked Menace", West Magazine Vol. 65 No. 3, July 1947
  • "Zorro Aids an Invalid", West Magazine Vol. 66 No. 1, August 1947
  • "Zorro Saves an American", West Magazine Vol. 66 No. 2, September 1947
  • "Zorro Meets a Rogue", West Magazine Vol. 66 No. 3, October 1947
  • "Zorro Races with Death", West Magazine Vol. 67 No. 1, November 1947
  • "Zorro Fights for Peace", West Magazine Vol. 67 No. 2, December 1947
  • "Zorro Starts the New Year", West Magazine Vol. 67 No. 3, January 1948
  • "Zorro Serenades a Siren", West Magazine Vol. 68 No. 1, February 1948
  • "Zorro Meets a Wizard", West Magazine Vol. 68 No. 2, March 1948
  • "Zorro Fights with Fire", West Magazine Vol. 68 No. 3, April 1948
  • "Gold for a Tyrant", West Magazine Vol. 69 No. 1, May 1948
  • "The Hide Hunter", West Magazine Vol. 69 No. 2, July 1948
  • "Zorro Shears Some Wolves", West Magazine Vol. 69 No. 3, September 1948
  • "The Face Behind the Mask", West Magazine Vol. 70 No. 1, November 1948
  • "Hangnoose Reward", West Magazine Vol. 70 No. 3, March 1949
  • "Zorro's Hostile Friends", West Magazine Vol. 71 No. 1, May 1949
  • "Zorro's Hot Tortillas", West Magazine Vol. 71 No. 2, July 1949
  • "An Ambush for Zorro", West Magazine Vol. 71 No. 3, September 1949
  • "Zorro Gives Evidence", West Magazine Vol. 72 No. 1, November 1949
  • "Rancho Marauders", West Magazine Vol. 72 No. 2, January 1950
  • "Zorro's Stolen Steed" West Magazine Vol. 73 No. 3, March 1950
  • "Zorro Curbs a Riot", West Magazine Vol. 73 No. 3, September 1950
  • "The Three Stage Peons", West Magazine Vol. 74 No. 1, November 1950
  • "Zorro Nabs a Cutthroat", West Magazine Vol. 74 No. 2, January 1951
  • "Zorro Gathers Taxes", West Magazine Vol. 74 No. 3, March 1951
  • "Zorro's Fight for Life", West Magazine, Vol. 74 No. 2, July 1951
  • "Zorro Rides the Trail!", Max Brand's Western Magazine, May 1954
  • "The Mask of Zorro", Short Stories for Men Vol. 221 No. 2, April 1959

Stories by other authorsEdit

  • Walt Disney's Zorro by Steve Frazee 1958 Whitman Publishing Company, novelization of some episodes of the 1957 Zorro TV series
  • "Zorro Outwits Death", Walt Disney's Magazine Vol. III No. 3, April 1958. Loosely based on the episode "Zorro's Secret Passage" of the 1957 Zorro TV series
  • "Zorro's Merry Chase", Walt Disney's Magazine, Vol. III No. 5, August 1958
  • "The Fire of the Night", Walt Disney's Magazine, Vol. III No. 6, October 1958 and Vol. IV No. 1, 1958
  • "Zorro and the Missing Father", Walt Disney's Magazine, Vol. IV No. 3, April 1959 and No. 4, June 1959. Adapted from the episodes "The Missing Father", "Please Believe Me", and "The Brooch" of the 1957 Zorro TV series
  • Il Ritorno di Zorro by B.F. Deakin 1968 Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, anothology of nine short stories
  • Zorro arrive ! by Jacques Van Hauten 1971 Hachette, novelization of some episodes of the 1957 Zorro TV series
  • Le Retour de Zorro by Jean-Claude Deret 1972 Hachette, novelization of some episodes of the 1957 Zorro TV series
  • Zorro et le sergent Garcia by Thérèse Bertels 1973 Hachette, novelization of some episodes of the 1957 Zorro TV series
  • Zorro et le trésor du Pérou by Thérèse Bertels 1973 Hachette
  • Zorro contre le gouverneur by Jean-Claude Deret 1974 Hachette, novelization of some episodes of the 1957 Zorro TV series
  • L'Épée de Zorro by Jean-Claude Deret 1975 Hachette
  • Zorro et l'épee du cid 1991 Hachette
  • Zorro et la forteresse du diable by Valentin Dechemin 1991 Hachette, novelization of some episodes of the 1990 Zorro TV series
  • Zorro and the Jaguar Warriors by Jerome Preisler September 1998 Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. Books
  • The Mask of Zorro: A Novelization by James Luceno 1998 Pocket Books, novelization of the 1998 movie The Mask of Zorro
  • The Treasure of Don Diego by William McCay 1998 Minstrel Books, based on the film The Mask of Zorro
  • Zorro and The Dragon Riders by David Bergantino March 1999 Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. Books
  • Skull and Crossbones by Frank Lauria 1999 Minstrel Books, based on the film The Mask of Zorro
  • The Secret Swordsman by William McCay 1999 Minstrel Books, based on the film The Mask of Zorro
  • The Lost Temple by Frank Lauria 1999 Minstrel Books, based on the film The Mask of Zorro
  • Lo Spirito e la Spada by Louis A. Tartaglia 1999
  • Zorro and the Witch's Curse by John Whitman April 2000 Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. Books
  • La vera storia di Zorro by Isabella Parrini 2000 Alberti & C.
  • Zorro: l'ultima avventura ovvero la storia di Zorro, Volume 2 by Isabella Parrini 2001 Alberti & C.
  • The Legend of Zorro: A Novelization by Scott Ciencin 2005 HarperCollins, novelization of the 2005 movie The Legend of Zorro
  • Zorro by Isabel Allende 2005 HarperCollins
  • Young Zorro: The Iron Brand by Jan Adkins 2005 Harper Collins
  • Zorro l'angelo nero della California by Irene Sartini 2007 Alberti & C
  • Zorro l'angelo nero della California - L'avventura continua by Irene Sartini 2008 Alberti & C
  • Tales of Zorro anthology of 17 short stories written by 22 authors, edited by Richard Dean Starr 2008 Moonstone Books

Theatrical films and film serialsEdit

Television series and television filmsEdit

Audio/radio dramasEdit

  • Walt Disney's Zorro: [1. Presenting Señor Zorro; 2. Zorro Frees The Indians; 3. Zorro And The Ghost; 4. Zorro's Daring Rescue] (1957) released by Disneyland Records. This album retold stories from the Disney Zorro television series and featured Guy Williams as Zorro and Don Diego, Henry Calvin as Sergeant Garcia, Phil Ross as Monastario, Jan Arvan as Torres, Jimmie Dodd from The Mickey Mouse Club as Padre Felipe, with other voices by Dallas McKennon and sound effects by Jimmy MacDonald and Eddie Forrest. Record story adaptations by Bob Thomas and George Sherman. Music composed and conducted by William Lava.
  • The Adventures of Zorro. (1957) Based on the original Johnston McCulley story The Curse of Capistrano (aka The Mark of Zorro). It was written by Maria Little, directed by Robert M. Light and produced by Mitchell Gertz. This short-lived radio show was a series of short episodes. Only a handful of episodes are known to have survived.
  • The Mark of Zorro. (1997) [No longer available] Produced by the BBC it starred Mark Arden as Zorro, Louise Lombard as Lolita and Glyn Houston as Friar Felipe. It aired in 5 parts. 1. July 3 97 Night of the Fox: 2. July 10 97 Deadly Reckonings: 3. July 17 97 The Avenging Blade 4. July 24 97 The Place of Skulls 5. July 31 97 The Gathering Storm
  • Zorro and the Pirate Raiders. (2009) Based on the D.J. Arneson adaptation of Johnston McCulley's The Further Adventures of Zorro. Produced by Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air. Published by Brilliance Audio. It features Kevin Cirone, Shonna McEachern, Hugh Metzler, J.T. Turner, Sam Donato, Joseph Zamperelli Jr., and Dan Powell.
  • Zorro Rides Again. (2011) Based on the D.J. Arneson adaptation of Johnston McCulley's "Zorro Rides Again". Produced by Colonial Theatre on the Air. It features the voice talents of Kevin Cirone, Jeremy Benson, Shonna McEachern, Shana Dirk, Sam Donato, and Hugh Metzler.
  • The Mark of Zorro. (2011) Based on The Curse of Capistrano. Produced by Hollywood Theater of the Ear for Blackstone Audio. It features the voice talents of Val Kilmer as Diego de la Vega/Zorro, Ruth Livier as Lolita Pulido, Elizabeth Peña as Doña Catalina Pulido, Armin Shimmerman as the Landlord, Mishach Taylor as Sgt Pedro Gonzalez, Keith Szarabajka as Cpt Ramone, Ned Schmidtke as Don Carlos Pulido, Scott Brick as the Governor, Stefan Rudnicki as Fray Felipe, Kristoffer Tabori as Don Alejando de la Vega, Philip Proctor as Don Audre, John Sloan as the Magistrado, and Gordo Panza in numerous roles.


Due to the popularity of the Disney TV series, in 1958, The Topps Company produced an 88-card set featuring stills from that year's movie. The cards were rare and became collectors' items. In the same year the Louis Marx company released a variety of Zorro toys such as hats, swords, toy pistols and a playset with the Lido company also making plastic figures.

A major toy line based on the classic Zorro characters, motifs and styling, was released by Italian toy giant, Giochi Preziosi, master toy licensees of the property. The toy range was developed by Pangea Corporation and released worldwide in 2005 and featured action figures in various scales, interactive playsets and roleplaying items. New original characters were also introduced, including Senor Muerte, who served as a foil to Zorro.

In 2007, Brazilian toymaker Gulliver Toys licensed the rights to Zorro: Generation Z, which was co-developed by BKN and Pangea Corporation. The toy range was designed concurrent and in association with the animated program.

In 2011, US-based collectibles company Triad Toys released a 12-inch Zorro action figure.


Zorro 2008 01 cover

Zorro#01, 2008, by Dynamite Entertainment

Zorro has appeared in many different comic book series over the decades. In Hit Comics # 55 published by Quality Comics in November 1948, Zorro is summoned by Kid Eternity, in this version has only a whip and does not wear a mask.[6]

Dell Comics published Zorro in Four Color Comics # 228 (1949), 425 (1952), 497 (1953), 538 (1954), 574 (1954), 617 (1955) and 732 (1957). These stories featured artwork by Everett Raymond Kinstler (497, 538, and 574), Bob Fujitani, Bob Correa and Alberto Giolitti.[7]

Dell also had a licence to publish Disney comics in the United States and, following the launch of Disney's Zorro TV series in 1957, published seven more issues of Four Color dedicated to Zorro between February 1958 and September 1959, under said licence, with the first stories featuring artwork by Alex Toth.[8] In December 1959, Dell started the publication of a standalone Disney-licensed Zorro title, which started the numeration at #8 and continued to be published until issue #15 (September 1961). The character then appeared in four stories published in the monthly Walt Disney's Comics and Stories (also published by Dell), one story per issue from #275 (August 1963) to #278 (November 1963): these were the last Zorro stories produced in the United States under the Disney licence. However, Disney produced more stories from 1964 to 1978 through the Disney Studio Program, a unit producing comic book stories exclusively for foreign consumption.[9] In addition of publishing translations of American stories and Disney Studio stories, many foreign publishers also produced their own original stories under the Disney licence: these countries are the Netherlands (1964-1967),[10] Chile (1965-1974),[11] Italy (1969-1971),[12] Brazil (1973-1983),[13] France (1974-1986)[14] and Germany (1980-1982).[15]

Gold Key Comics started another Disney-licensed Zorro series in January 1966, but, like their contemporaneous Lone Ranger series, it featured only material reprinted from the earlier Dell comics, and folded after 9 issues, in March 1968. The character remained dormant in the United States for the next twenty years until it was revived by Marvel Comics in 1990, for a 12-issue tie-in with the Duncan Regehr television series Zorro. Many of these comics had Alex Toth covers.

In 1993 Topps Comics published a 2-issue mini-series Dracula Versus Zorro followed by a Zorro series that ran 11 issues. Topps published two miniseries of Lady Rawhide, a spin-off from the Zorro stories created by writer Don McGregor and artist Mike Mayhew.[16][17][18] McGregor subsequently scripted a miniseries adaptation of The Mask of Zorro film for Image Comics.

A newspaper daily and Sunday strip were also published in the late 1990s. This was written by McGregor and rendered by Tom Yeates. Papercutz once published a Zorro series and graphic novels as well. This version is drawn in a manga style.

Dynamite Entertainment relaunched the character with a 20-issue Zorro series which ran from 2008 to 2010, written by Matt Wagner and drawn by multiple artists. The publisher also released an earlier unpublished tale called "Matanzas" by Don McGregor and artist Mike Mayhew. Zorro (here a 1930s descendant) also appears in the 2013 Dynamite title Masks alongside Green Hornet, Kato, The Shadow, and The Spider. Written by Chris Roberson with art by Alex Ross and Dennis Calero.[19]

Dynamite Entertainment also published a seven-issue series titled Django/Zorro between November 2014 and May 2015, teaming Zorro with the character Django Freeman from Quentin Tarantino's movie Django Unchained (2012). The series was co-written by Tarantino and Matt Wagner, with art by Esteve Polls.[20]

Over the years, various English reprint volumes have been published. This include but are not limited to:

Stage productionsEdit

Approximately 65 separate Zorro live productions have been produced. These have included traditional stage plays, comedies, melodramas, musicals, children's plays, stunt shows, and ballets. Some examples include:

  • Ken Hill wrote and directed the musical production of Zorro, which opened on 14 February 1995 at the East Stratford Theater in London. Ken Hill died just days before the opening.[21]
  • Alvaro Cervino produced a musical comedy, "Zorro El Musical" in Mexico City, Mexico in July 1996. Critics called it "a show that captivates audiences both by its performances and above all, by its magnificent musical numbers".
  • Michael Nelson wrote a stage adaptation of Zorro for the Birmingham Children's Theater in 1996. Beaufort County Now called it "a fun and fast paced production perfect for children 6 and up." Abe Reybold directed with scenic design by Yoshi Tanokura and costume designs by Donna Meester. Jay Tumminello provided an original score.[22]
  • Theater Under the Stars in Houston, Texas, put on Zorro, the Musical as an opera in 1998. It was written and directed by Frank Young and starred Richard White as Zorro.[23]
  • Z – The Masked Musical by Robert W. Cabell was released in 1998 as a CD. The CD premiere with Ruben Gomez (Zorro) and Debbie Gibson (Carlotta) is published as a CD. In 2000, the stage play premiered at the South Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon, where it had four performances by the amateur group, ACE. It was then produced on June 13, 2013 at the Clingenburg Festspiele in Klingenberg am Main, Bavaria, Germany, with Karl Grunewald and Philip Georgopoulos as alternating Zorros, Judith Perez as Carlotta, Daniel Coninx as Governor Juan Carlos, Daniel Pabst as Capitàn Raphaél Ramerez and Christian Theodoridis as Sergeant Santiago Garcia. This production was directed by Marcel Krohn and premiered in the presence of the composer.
  • In 1999, Anthony Rhine and Joseph Henson wrote Zorro Live!, which was performed at the Riverside Light Opera theater.[24]
  • In 2000, Fernando Lupiz produced his first original "Zorro" show. It was such a crowd pleaser that he mounted a new production thereafter almost annually until 2014. His productions were performed most frequently in arenas, featuring live horses, rousing swordplay and songs.
  • In 2001, the Gaslight Theatre of Tucson, Arizona, reprised its 1994 spoof called "Zerro Rides Again" or "No Arrest for the Wicked". It was described as "full of silly wigs, ridiculous situations, songs that barely fit in, and dialogue so fat with wordplay that it's tough not to love it. 'Zerro' is a chance to laugh yourself silly. Seize it".
  • In 2002, playwright Michael Harris wrote The Legend of Zorro, which has been performed in many high schools.
  • In 2002, Luis Alvarez produced his "El Zorro El Spectaculo" in the Teatro Calderon in Madrid, Spain. Critics lauded it saying "Manuel Bandera makes the ideal Zorro. We hope he has the stamina necessary to endure the long run this play deserves."
  • Michael Smuin's critically lauded modern ballet version of Zorro premiered in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco in 2003. Composer Charles Fox provided the score, and Matthew Robbins wrote the libretto. Ann Beck was costume designer and Douglas W. Schmidt was set designer. Smuin himself choreographed.[25]
  • Culture Clash's Zorro in Hell opened in 2005 in the Berkeley Repertory theater, then in 2006 in the La Jolla Playhouse and the Montelban Theater in Los Angeles. Zorro In Hell was written and performed by Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza. Culture Clash used the legend of Zorro as a lens to examine California's cultural, economic and historical issues. The LA Times called it "a zany bicultural send-up of California history."[26]
  • Award-winning playwright Bernardo Solano wrote a modern adaptation of Zorro for TheatreWorks at the University of Colorado in 2007. Robert Castro directed and Justin Huen starred as Zorro. The Denver post called the production "a fresh take," and "a formula other companies should emulate."[27]
  • In Uppsala, Sweden, Erik Norberg wrote a Zorro stage adaptation for the Stadsteatern Theatre directed by Alexander Oberg and starring Danilo Bejarano as Zorro. The production opened in 2008.[28]
  • A musical titled Zorro opened in the West End of London in 2008. It was directed by Christopher Renshaw, choreographed by Rafael Amargo and features music composed by the world-famous Gipsy Kings. It was nominated for 5 Oliviers, including Best Musical.[29] It has since enjoyed professional productions in Tokyo, Paris, Amsterdam, Moscow, Prague, Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Shanghai, São Paulo and elsewhere. The US premiere production took place in 2012 at Hale Centre Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a further production at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta Georgia, where it won five awards including Best Musical.
  • The Scottish children's theater troupe Visible Fictions put on a touring production of The Mask of Zorro in 2009. Davey Anderson wrote the script and Douglas Irvine directed. Robin Peoples designed the sets, which The New York Times called "a triumph."[30]
  • Lifehouse Theater, a Redlands, CA-based company, put on 'Zorro, written and scored by Wayne Scott. Zorro opened in 2009.[31]
  • In 2012, Janet Allard and Eleanor Holdridge produced and directed Zorro at the Constellation Theatre in Washington, DC. Holdridge directed and Danny Gavigan played Zorro. The Washington Post said of the production, "Constellation augments its classical thrust in a thoughtful way with 'Zorro,' which continues the company's laudable efforts at delivering intimate theater with high standards for design."[32]
  • In 2012, Medina Produzioni, based in Rome, Italy, produced its musical, "W Zorro il Musical – liberamente ispirato alla storia di William Lamport" in numerous theatres throughout Italy.
  • The Oregon-based ballet troupe Ballet Fantastique produced Zorro: The Ballet as an opener to their 2013 season. Eugene Weekly called the ballet "zesty, fresh, fantastic treat."[33]
  • Elenco Produções produced its musical, "Zorro", in Porto, Portugal in 2013.


On the commercial release of the Zorro 1957 Disney TV series' Zorro theme, the lead vocal was by Henry Calvin, the actor who played Sergeant Garcia on the program. The song was written by Jimmie Dodd.

The Chordettes sang the single version of the song, complete with the "Sounds of the Z" and the clip clopping of Zorro's horse, which is heard at the song's end. The song hit Number 17 in 1958 according to the Billboard Charts.

In 1964, Henri Salvador sang "Zorro est arrivé." It tells from a child's point of view how exciting it is whenever a villain threatens to kill a lady in the television series. But every time again, to his relief, the "great and beautiful" Zorro comes to the rescue. An early music video was made at the time.

Alice Cooper's 1982 album Zipper Catches Skin includes the song "Zorro's Ascent" which is about Zorro facing his death.

The 1999 song "El Corona" by Suburban Legends tells the story of "Don Diego", the "hombre en negro" ("man in black"), a "tall Spaniard with a sharp sword" who was "down and out in LA" and defending the people from an unnamed corrupt ruler.

Computer and video gamesEdit

Role-playing games Edit

In July 2001, the Gold Rush Games published The Legacy of Zorro Introductory Adventure Game (

) by Mark Arsenault for Fuzion.

Copyright and trademark disputesEdit

The copyright and trademark status of the Zorro character and stories are disputed. Most of the entries of the Zorro franchise are still protected by copyright, but there are at least three exceptions: the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano, the 1920 film The Mark of Zorro and the 1922 novel The Further Adventures of Zorro are in the public domain in the United States since they publicly appeared before 1923. A company called Zorro Productions, Inc., asserts that it "controls the worldwide trademarks and copyrights in the name, visual likeness and the character of Zorro."[38] It further states "[t]he unauthorized, unlicensed use of the name, character and/or likeness of 'Zorro' is an infringement and a violation of state and federal laws."[39]

In 1999, TriStar Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures, sued Del Taco, Inc., due to a fast-food restaurant advertising campaign that allegedly infringed Zorro Productions' claims to a trademark on the character of Zorro. Sony and TriStar had paid licensing fees to Zorro Productions, Inc., related to the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro. In an August 1999 order, the court ruled that it would not invalidate Zorro Productions' trademarks as a result of the defendant's arguments that certain copyrights in Zorro being in the public domain or owned by third parties.[40]

The Queen of Swords 3

Tessie Santiago as the Queen of Swords


The Mark of Zorro (1920), starring Douglas Fairbanks, is out of copyright

A dispute took place in the 2001 case of Sony Pictures Entertainment v. Fireworks Ent. Group.[41] On January 24, 2001, Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Zorro Productions, Inc. sued Fireworks Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, and Mercury Entertainment, claiming that the Queen of Swords television series infringed upon the copyrights and trademarks of Zorro and associated characters. Queen of Swords was a 2000–2001 television series set in Spanish California during the early 19th century and featuring a hero who wore a black costume with a red sash and demonstrated similarities to the character of Zorro, including the sword-fighting skills, use of a whip and bolas, and horse-riding skills.

Zorro Productions, Inc., argued that it owned the copyright to the original character because Johnston McCulley assigned his Zorro rights to Mitchell Gertz in 1949. Gertz died in 1961, and his estate transferred to his children, who created Zorro Productions, Inc. Fireworks Entertainment argued that the original rights had already been transferred to Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in 1920 and provided documents showing this was legally affirmed in 1929, and also questioned whether the copyright was still valid.

The court ruled that "since the copyrights in The Curse of Capistrano and The Mark of Zorro lapsed in 1995 or before, the character Zorro has been in the public domain".[42] Judge Collins also stated that: "Plaintiffs' argument that they have a trademark in Zorro because they licensed others to use Zorro, however, is specious. It assumes that ZPI had the right to demand licenses to use Zorro at all." Judge Collins subsequently vacated her ruling following an unopposed motion filed by Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Zorro Productions, Inc.[43]

In another legal action in 2010, Zorro Productions, Inc., sued Mars, Incorporated, makers of M&M's chocolate candies, and ad agency BBDO Worldwide over a commercial featuring a Zorro-like costume.[44] The case was settled with "each party shall bear its own costs incurred in connection with this action, including its attorney's fees and costs" on August 13, 2010.[45]

In March 2013, Robert W. Cabell, author of Z - the Musical of Zorro (1998), filed another lawsuit against Zorro Productions, Inc. The lawsuit asserted that the Zorro character is in the public domain and that the trademark registrations by Zorro Productions, Inc., are therefore fraudulent.[46] In October, 2014, Cabell's lawsuit was dismissed, with the judge ruling that the state of Washington (where the case was filed) did not have jurisdiction over the matter.[47][48] However the judge later reversed his decision and had the case transferred to California.[49] In May 2017, U.S. District Judge Davila granted Zorro Productions, Inc.'s motion to dismiss Cabell's claim to cancel its federal trademark registrations.[50] Cabell did not appeal.

In June 2015, Robert W. Cabell's legal dispute with Zorro Productions, Inc. resulted in the Community Trade Mark for "Zorro" being declared invalid by the European Union's Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market for goods of classes 16 and 41.[51] This follows the 'Winnetou' ruling of the Office's First Board of Appeal [52] in which the Board of Appeal ruled that the name of famous characters cannot be protected as a trademark in these classes. Zorro Productions appealed the decision and, on December 19, 2017, the EUIPO Fourth Board of Appeal nullified the lower court's ruling, declaring the contested trademarks as valid, and required Cabell to pay the costs of the legal action, the appeal and Zorro Productions' legal fees and costs. Zorro Productions, Inc. owns approximately 1300 other ZORRO related trademarks worldwide.



Texas Tech's The Masked Rider

The 1936 film The Vigilantes Are Coming features a masked vigilante with a costume similar to Zorro, which led several countries to name the movie after Zorro: the film was named Zorro l'indomptable in France, Zorro - Der blutrote Adler in Germany, Zorro - den blodrøde ørn in Denmark and Zorro - veripunainen kotka in Finland. The main character is played by Robert Livingston, who would then play the actual Zorro in the movie The Bold Caballero, also released in 1936.

The Masked Rider, the primary mascot of Texas Tech University, is similar to Zorro. Originally called "Ghost Rider", it was an unofficial mascot appearing in a few games in 1936 and then became the official mascot with the 1954 Gator Bowl.

Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media, and is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books. Bob Kane has credited Zorro as part of the inspiration for the character Batman, which was created in 1939.[53] Like Don Diego de la Vega, Bruce Wayne is affluent, the heir of wealth built by his parents. His everyday persona encourages others to think of him as shallow, foolish and uncaring to throw off suspicion. Frank Miller's comic book miniseries The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and The Dark Knight Strikes Again (2001-2002) both include multiple Zorro references like the Batman inscribing a Z on a defeated foe. In later tellings of Batman's origins, Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered by a robber as the family leaves a showing of the 1940 film The Mark of Zorro, starring Tyrone Power.

Zorro inspired a similar pulp character known as El Coyote, which was created in created 1943 by José Mallorquí.

The 1954 Man with the Steel Whip Republic serial features a masked hero similar to Zorro, called El Latigo. Republic had previously released five Zorro serials between 1937 and 1949, but had since lost the licence for the character and could not use him anymore. The serial makes frequent use of stock footage from all five Zorro serials, with scenes originally showing Zorro now being interpreted as showing El Latigo: the result of this is that the costume and body shape of El Latigo keeps changing between scenes, even becoming female in scenes taken from Zorro's Black Whip (1944).[54][55]

Hanna-Barbara Productions' animated series Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks (1958-1961) featured a Zorro-like character with a mask, cape and sword known in the episode "Mark of the Mouse" (1959). Hanna-Barbara Production's animated series The Quick Draw McGraw Show (1959-1962) features El Kabong, an alternate persona of the main character Quick Draw McGraw which is loosely based upon Zorro.

In the animated series Justice League (2001-2004), a DC Comics character, El Diablo, bears a striking similarity to Zorro, in that he wears the same style hat, mask, sash and cape. The main difference is that his primary weapon is a whip. The Lazarus Lane version of El Diablo appears in Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006), voiced by Nestor Carbonell. While designed after his comic appearance, elements from Zorro's appearance were added in. Seen in the episode "The Once and Future Thing" (2005), he appears alongside Pow Wow Smith, Bat Lash and Jonah Hex.

In 2015, The M7 Con Western Convention, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center featured a segment on the history of Zorro in film and television. The presentation focused on the great Zorro actors including Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power, Guy Williams, and Duncan Regehr. Maestro Ramon Martinez and actor Alex Kruz gave a live demonstration of the Spanish style of fencing known as La Verdadera Destreza. The two dueled live as Zorro and the Comandante much to the delight of the crowd.[56]

A cave that was used as a filming location in various Zorro productions is now known as "Zorro's Cave" and remains in place, now hidden behind a condominium complex, on land that was once the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., recognized as the most widely filmed outdoor shooting location in the history of Hollywood.



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