Presenting Señor Zorro

Season 1 - Episode 1

Airdate: 10/10/57
Starring: Guy Williams (Zorro and Don Diego)
With: Britt Lomond (Capitan Monastario), Henry Calvin (Sergeant Garcia), Gene Sheldon (Bernardo), George J. Lewis (Don Alejandro), Jan Arvan (Nacho Torres), Than Wyenn (Licenciado Piña)
Directed by: Norman Foster
Teleplay by: Norman Foster, Bob Wehling. Based on the Zorro Stories by Johnston McCulley
Associate Producer: William H. Anderson
Music: William Lava
Set Decoration: Emile Kuri, Hal Gausman
Art Director: Marvin Aubrey Davis
Photography: Gordon Avil, A.S.C.
Film Editors: Roy Livingston, A.C.E., Hugh Chaloupka
Costumer: Chuck Keehne
Make-up: Pat McNalley
Matte Artist: Albert Whitlock
Sound: Robert O. Cook
Fencing Master: Fred Cavens
Assistant Director: Vincent McEveety
Production Coordinator: Louis Debney
Production #5851

The Story Line

The story of the masked rider in Old California opens as Don Diego de la Vega is returning to California from Spain, where he has been studying for several years. He passes the time at sea by fencing with the ship's captain, who tells him that the Pueblo de Los Angeles is under the rule of a cruel dictator, Capitan Monastario. This helps Diego understand the meaning behind a vague letter his father had sent urging him to return home.

Realizing that open opposition to Monastario and his troops would be fruitless, Diego decides to work in secrecy. He assumes the role of a foppish student more interested in books than in swordplay. To protect his true identity, Diego will become El Zorro - "The Fox". His servant Bernardo, a mute, also takes on a new role when he decides to pretend he is deaf, thus allowing him access to secrets he can share with Diego.

Not long after they arrive in Los Angeles, the travelers are provided with proof of the capitan's cruelty. Don Ignacio Torres, a neighbor of Diego's, is thrown into jail for treason, and others are jailed for taxes they cannot pay. Diego notes the injustices in silence before traveling to his father's hacienda.

Diego's arrival first pleases then saddens his father, Don Alejandro. Diego decides not to endanger him with knowledge of his plans, and the older man's pain at his son's seeming inaction provides even greater incentive for Diego to ride as Zorro. He takes Bernardo to a secret valley where a beautiful horse has been cared for while Diego was away. Tornado will remain hidden until Zorro is ready to appear.

Zorro's first act is to save the life of Torres, whom Monastario plans to release and then kill, claiming the prisoner had escaped. Sneaking into the fort, Zorro loosens the saddle straps on the soldiers' horses so they can't interfere. He then frees Torres, who escapes while Zorro battles the capitan. With Monastario locked in one of his own cells, Zorro rides off without fear of the lancers, while their leader, the bumbling Sergeant Garcia, fearfully frees his capitan. Zorro parts ways with a grateful Torres, promising that he will continue to fight injustice.

Production Notes

  • Eumenio Blanco had an uncredited role as the Alcalde. He reprised the role in several other episodes.
  • Albert Cavens, son of fencing master Fred Cavens, appeared as the ship's captain but is not listed in the credits.
  • The shepherd that had cared for Tornado is never seen or spoken of again, nor is the reason for the secrecy while Diego was in Spain ever explained.

Scene Images

first scene
The first scene helps set the mood as Don Diego returns home.
A Man of Action
Our first look at Don Diego shows that he is a man of action, and quite skilled with the sword.
The pleasant journey home is spoiled
The pleasant journey is spoiled, though, when the ship's captain tells him that Los Angeles is under the rule of a merciless dictator.
Diego returns to his cabin
Puzzled and worried by the news, Diego returns to his cabin to discuss the situation with his mute man servant, Bernardo.
Re-reading a letter from home
Re-reading a letter from home, Diego realizes why his father has asked him to return from Spain.
Use stealth and cunning as his weapons
Knowing that one man could never overcome the dictator by force, Diego says he will have to use stealth and cunning as his weapons.
Sergeant Garcia is surprised
Sergeant Garcia is surprised to see that Diego has returned from his studies in Spain.
Garcia reports
Garcia reports the unexpected news to Licenciado Piña and Capitan Monastario.
Monastario isn't worried,
Monastario isn't worried, though, vowing that nothing will stop him from becoming the richest man in all of California.
Falsely accused of treason
Falsely accused of treason, Don Ignacio Torres is brought into the cuartel under arrest.

Scene Images

the start of a nightmare
Monastario sets his eyes on Diego for the first time. This will be the start of a nightmare he will never forget.
Holding back his anger
Holding back his anger, Diego plays the part of a bookish student and Monastario falls for the ruse.
Diego then heads home
Diego then heads home to meet his father. The use of matte paintings helped bring a theatrical quality to the series.
fans believed a full-size house was used
While only a small portion of the de la Vega hacienda was actually constructed, the special effects were so well done that many fans believed a full-size house was used.
Alejandro is overjoyed
At first, Alejandro is overjoyed to see Diego again.
The mood changes
The mood changes, though, when Diego shows more interest in his books and music than in the turmoil in Los Angeles.
Diego carves the first of many Z's
Upset at disappointing his father, Diego vows to take action as Zorro, "the fox," and carves the first of many Z's.
Diego is re-united with his faithful horse
The next day Diego is re-united with his faithful horse Tornado, explaining that a lonely shepherd has been caring for him in secrecy.
Zorro is seen for the first time!
Finally, Zorro is seen for the first time!
Sergeant Garcia has his first encounter
Poor Sergeant Garcia has his first encounter with the mysterious Zorro.
Monastario is no match for Zorro
Monastario is no match for Zorro, and Torres is set free.
His work done
His work done, Zorro waves as he rides off into the night.

Publicity Photos

All captions are from the Disney syndication publicity kit. Click on the photos for larger versions

Don Diego (Guy Williams), minus his disguise

Don Diego (Guy Williams), minus his disguise as the masked rider, Zorro, discusses with his valet and aide, Bernard (Gene Sheldon), how to frustrate the savage tyranny of the local commandant.

Commandante Monastario (Britt Lomond) and Don Diego (Guy Williams)

Commandante Monastario (Britt Lomond) and Don Diego (Guy Williams) meet for the first time in the Pueblo de Los Angeles.

Britt Lomond, as the tyrannical commandante Monasatrio

Britt Lomond, as the tyrannical commandante Monastario, meets his match in Guy Williams, portraying the Masked Rider Zorro, in a tense fencing duel.

Opening titles

Syndicated version

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Season 1 Episode List