Beware commander! My sword is a flame to right every wrong, so heed well my name!
"Out of the night, when the full moon is bright, comes a horseman known as Zorro. This bold renegade carves a Z with his blade, a Z that stands for Zorro. Zorro, the fox so cunning and free. Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z. Zorro! Zorro! Zorro!"
was a 1957-1959 television series, featuring Guy Williams as Zorro
. It is not the only TV series of the character, but it is the most known one.
Don Diego de la Vega, son of rancher Alejandro de la Vega, lives in California, at the time it was a Spanish colony. He returns from Spain at the beginning of the series, and notices that the people is being oppressed by the military commander Enrique Monasterio. Diego, who had become a master swordsman, decides to act as a mild intellectual, and secretly creates a new Secret Identity
to fight against evil: the Zorro! He is helped by his servant Bernardo, who also has a secret: he's mute, and pretends to be both deaf and mute. This allows Bernardo to stay in places where others talk their secrets freely.
He helps Ignacio Torres against the political persecution of Monasterio, who is eventually removed from the military. Diego thinks that, with new military authorities, there won't be any further need for Zorro, but he's forced to continue when he discovers the conspiracies of "The Eagle", a figure that is plotting the secession of California.
Zorro contains examples of:
- Alternate History: The failed revolt by "The Eagle" is, of course, not based on any actual historical events. Still, California had briefly attempted to be an independent nation for a short time, and their flag used an animal (a bear, not an eagle, but it's still an animal).
- Because I Said So: García told Ana Campillo that she must return to Spain, because the interim commander says so. Not a hard guessing, who is the interim commander?
- Beleaguered Assistant: Corporal Reyes
- Big Brother Is Watching: Everybody else is amazed of how the Zorro always knows about everything.
- Big Eater: Sergeant García
- Doomed by Canon: "The Eagle" and his separatist revolt did not last for more than a few hours. It had to, Spanish California would secede from Spain to be part of Mexico, not an independent nation.
- Everybody Knew Already: Except for Bernardo, nobody knew Diego's secret, not even his father... or so he thought. The government filled the city with advertisments proposing Zorro to receive a pardon if he showed up in the plaza at a certain hour and unmasked himself. And Diego, who's in love, is tempted to do so. Alejandro ambushed Diego and kept him captive, to prevent him from commiting a grave mistake... yes, he knew his secret, since a long time ago.
- Fat Idiot: Sergeant Garcia.
- Flynning: Happens in all episodes. And if the enemy is supposed to be a master swordsman as well, it takes a longer time. The Flynning is made less obvious by using fencing drill (Guy Williams was a champion fencer) rather than a lot of wider swings.
- General Ripper: Monasterio. Anything can be done, no matter how evil, if it helps to capture that dammed Zorro!
- Gratuitous Spanish: Played completely straight, with characters peppering otherwise English dialog with common Spanish words and phrases.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Zorro may make many feats, but the best one was the wanderer Cleim. He fought against a swordsman with just a knife... and won.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Monasterio finally attacked Zorro by surprise, at De la Vega's ranch. He took out his mask, and realized it was Diego. He worn the mask and the costume, that he took from him, as a mark of his final victory. And so, he left the room and called the soldiers. "It's Zorro!! Kill him!!" And not with swords this time!! Monasterio died before revealing Diego's secret (who woke up and got dressed), and García did not understand how the Zorro could have been Monasterio.
- Live-Action Adaptation: The plots of the chapters of the series (not just the general theme) is an adaption of comic books of Zorro published by Disney.
- Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight: There are guns in the setting, and Zorro eludes a shot now and then; but most of the time, when Zorro is in the scene, everybody tries to best him in a sword fight (and, of course, loses).
- Police Are Useless: The military is completely useless, either to capture a mere man dressed in black, or to deal with any other threat, which is always stopped by Zorro.
- Sadistic Choice: Monasterio sent a rancher to trial for having English items, when it is forbidden to have anything that is not Spanish (but it was a long forgotten rule, that nobody actually followed). As he captured him, García would receive the ranch... and must give testimony that the rancher had violated the law. If he does not say so, he would be hanged for allowing such widespread violation of the law. Everybody despised him, thinking that he would send the rancher to his death to get his ranch, and this includes Zorro. If Garcia says that the rancher violated the law, the Zorro would mark a Z on him... a lot deeper. And then, the day of the trial is here. García must say something. Monasterio showed him a gallows toy, to remind him of the deal, and Bernardo played with a thing that reflected a Z in the wall, to remind him the other deal.