Welcome to this celebration of one of the most memorable
television series of all time: Walt Disney's version of Zorro!
The series starred Guy Williams in the duel roles of Don Diego de la Vega, the son of a wealthy landowner in Spanish California, and as his alter ego, Zorro, who rode to fight injustice and oppression. It aired on the ABC network every Thursday at 8:00 P.M. during the 1957-58 and 1958-59 seasons.
Like many other children of the 50s, I was captivated by the series, both for the stories and Guy's portrayal of the masked avenger. Please join me for for an in-depth look at the creation of the series, a summary of each episode, information on merchandise, and more.
Getting Zorro on the air was not an easy task. Walt had first planned it as a way to generate money to build Disneyland, but his brother Roy disagreed and the project was shelved - until Disneyland was a success and ABC wanted another series. This section contains information on what it took the get the masked avenger on the small screen.
Each season consisted of 39 half-hour episodes. The year was divided into story arcs of 13 episodes, much like the old movie serials. The series got off to a great start as Zorro battled Monastario, the evil commandante of the pubelo of Los Angeles. Each of the episodes is included here.
The second season went for a less structured approach, abandoning the 13-episodes arcs used in the first year. This allowed for a wider variety of story lines, beginning with Zorro uncovering a robbery scheme while visiting Northern California, having to help save a cantankerous mountain man, and defeat a steady stream of evil-doers of all sorts.
Zorro was at the top of the Nielsen ratings when Walt Disney stunned fans and the television industry by pulling the show from the air due to a contractual dispute with the ABC television network. While the legal battles waged on Walt aired four hour-long episodes on the weekly Disneyland anthology series to keep the character alive in the hopes the series would return.
Although Zorro was only on the air for a relatively short time the series has remained quite popular with fans. It had a very popular run in syndication, and was one of the first shows aired on the Disney Channel. Several episodes were released on VHS, and in later years, the complete series was sold on DVD. Learn more about the home video versions of the series here!
In 1982 Disney and CBS began talks to bring a new version of Zorro back to television. Guy Williams was interested in reprising his iconic role and came to the studio to discuss this potentially exciting new show.
What went wrong? Pretty much everything. Read up on this television train wreck here.
As soon as Zorro took to the air fans clamored to buy merchandise based on the series. A tidal wave of material was produced, making Zorro the most popular licensed product of the time. There were book, toys, puzzles, dinner ware, clothes, games, and much, much more. It was all so popular that Guy Williams made far more off his percentage of the product sales than he did to star in the show.
Got a question about the series? Hopefully most of what you want to know is here somewhere on the site, but there are many questions that come up over and over, so I've prepared a page with them. If you still have a question, though, please drop me a note and I'll try my best to answer it for you.
These pages are maintained by Bill Cotter, author of The Wonderful World of Disney Television. My interest in Zorro led to the first book ever written about Disney television. Praised by critics such as Leonard Maltin, author of the outstanding book The Disney Films, my book includes a description and the credits of every episode of every Disney series ever aired. Please click on the link above and take a look at the book, which was published by Disney in 1997.
The site was last updated on December 9, 2020
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