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Series / The Cisco Kid

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Cisco, let's win this, before we are dancing at the end of a rope, without music.
"Here's Adventure!"
"Here's Romance!"
"Here's O. Henry's famous Robin Hood of the old west, The Cisco Kid!"

The Cisco Kid was a half-hour American Western that ran from 1950 to 1956. Starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo, it was loosely based on the character of the same name in O. Henry's 1907 short story, "The Caballero's Way”.

Adapted from the films of the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s and 1940s and the '40s radio show of the same name, the TV series continued the adventures of Cisco and his partner Pancho. In the series, both Cisco and Pancho are technically desperadoes who are wanted for a number of unspecified crimes and wander the backcountry of Northern Mexico and the old American Southwest to elude the law. However, they are viewed by townsfolk and honest, upstanding peace officers alike as modern-day Robin Hoods because of their willingness to assist the oppressed and downtrodden when political figures and the law either shows itself to be too crooked or refuses to help out. In the end, Cisco and Pancho always catch the bad guy, Always Save the Girl and always save the day.

The Cisco Kid is also famous for a number of television firsts. It was the first TV show to be filmed entirely in color. And, it was the very first TV show to have Hispanic actors in regular starring roles.

It was also nominated in 1953 for an Emmy in children's programming.

By the time the show ended in 1956, it was rated by Billboard magazine as the most popular filmed television series for children in the United States. As well as becoming an influence in pop culture for generations of children and adults.

The Cisco Kid provides examples of:

  • Clear My Name: If they’re not trying to clear their own, Cisco and Pancho are often clearing other people’s names.
  • Cool Horse: Diablo, Cisco's blue-eyed, black and white paint horse. And, to a lesser extent, Pancho's horse Loco.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Dell Comics published 41 issues, from 1950 to 1958, based on the TV show. It was also adapted into a syndicated comic strip that ran from 1951 to 1967.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: In the episode, "Boomerang", a shifty land seller masterminds a string of robberies with two henchmen that dress, and ride similar horses, as Cisco and Pancho.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Though Cisco wears a black shirt, pants, belt and boots… he has a white hat.
  • The Drifter: After all, our heroes are wanted fugitives.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: "Oh, Cisco!" "Oh, Pancho!"
  • Just Like Robin Hood: "Here's O. Henry's Robin Hood of the Wild West..."
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Cisco and Pancho are described by locals as "caballero"; the Spanish word for "knight" or "gentleman".
  • Long Runner: The show ran for six years and a staggering 156 episodes. That’s not even counting the radio show that came before or the comics that contained their adventures.
  • Malaproper: Pancho is famous for his misspoken English. This is usually followed by a confused look from Cisco.
  • Outlaw: About one per episode… not counting our heroes, that is.
  • Outlaw Town: The town of Twin Butte, in the episode “Haven for Heavies”, was run by a sheriff that granted immunity to outlaws that settled there.
  • The Plague: Averted in "Cattle Quarantine", when a shady cattle spectulator and health inspector make up a completey phony bovine plague in order to buy out local ranches and flip the livestock for high prices.
  • Radio Drama: The TV series was adapted from the original 1940s radio program of the same name.
  • Shout-Out: The late 1960s and 1970s musical group War, whose members included Eric Burdon during its earlier years, wrote the song "Cisco Kid" in tribute to the series.
  • That's All, Folks!:
    Cisco: "Goodby amigos!"
    Pancho: "See you soon, ha!"