A Fair Trial

Season 1 - Episode 9

Airdate: 12/5/57
Starring: Guy Williams (Zorro and Don Diego)
With: Britt Lomond (Capitan Monastario), Henry Calvin (Sergeant Garcia), Sebastian Cabot (Judge Vasca), Gene Sheldon (Bernardo), George J. Lewis (Don Alejandro), Jan Arvan (Don Ignachio Torres)
Directed by: Norman Foster.
Teleplay by: Jackson Gillis, Bob Wehling. Based on the Zorro Stories by Johnston McCulley
Associate Producer: William H. Anderson
Music: William Lava
Art Director: Marvin Aubrey Davis
Photography: Gordon Avil, A.S.C.
Film Editor: Cotton Warburton, A.C.E.
Set Decoration: Emile Kuri, Hal Gausman
Costumer: Chuck Keehne
Make-up: Pat McNalley
Sound: Robert O. Cook
Fencing Master: Fred Cavens
Unit Manager: Roy Wade
Assistant Director: Vincent McEveety
Production Coordinator: Louis Debney
Production #5859

The Story Line

Don Alejandro and Torres have surrendered to Monastario on advice from the governor, who has promised them a fair trial. The governor has sent Judge Vasca, known for his honesty, to Los Angeles to conduct the trial, but the capitan has other plans. He sends Garcia and a party of lancers northward to meet the Judge and delay him. This will allow the capitan's henchman, Licenciado Piña, to conduct the trial in his absence and sentence the prisoners to death.

Diego worries that Monastario may attempt such a plan so he shadows Garcia to the inn where Vasca is spending the night. The sergeant challenges the portly jurist to an eating contest but discovers he is not able to keep up with his opponent. Zorro then sees the sergeant drug the judge in an attempt to keep him from reaching the trial. Zorro, in turn, drugs Garcia's wine and sends the sleepy judge off to Los Angeles. Zorro rushes to the pueblo, where he finds that Monastario has already started the trial and Piña is conducting a mockery of justice. Monastario is amazed, however, when Piña suddenly announces a verdict of "not guilty", for Zorro has snuck up behind Piña and is holding a sword against his back.

To further complicate matters, the missing judge arrives, and Monastario realizes he cannot win this battle. The scheming commandante turns the misfortune to his advantage by smilingly telling the judge he had ordered the "not guilty" plea to prove his fairness.

Production Notes

  • The chase scenes, filmed at the Bell Ranch near Chatsworth, were directed by legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt.
  • Than Wyenn (Licenciado Piña), William Schallert (Innkeeper), James Griffith (Lancer), Eumenio Blanco (Alcalde), and Carl Bensen (Lancer) appeared in this episode but were not listed in the credits.

Scene Images

A pleasant surprise at the jail
Visiting his father and Torres in jail, Diego is surprised to see the men in such good spirits. They are happy as the governor has promised them a fair trial.
Monastario has other plans
Diego's skepticism is well founded, for Monastario is planning to conduct his own trial where they will be sentenced to death.
Diego becomes suspicious
When Diego learns that Garcia has been dispatched to meet the judge he decides to make sure nothing goes wrong.
Diego tells Bernardo of his fears
Diego tells Bernardo of his suspicions, then the two set off to the pueblo of San Fernando, where Garcia has gone to meet the judge.
Garcia asks the innkeepr to delay the judge
Garcia tells the innkeeper of his plans to delay the judge, then pays him to serve an elaborate meal once Vasca arrives.
Zorro and Bernardo keep watch
Still not sure what Monastario has in mind, Bernardo and Zorro keep watch outside the inn.
Garcia greets Judge Vasca
When Judge Vasca arrives he tells Garcia he wants to leave for Los Angeles as soon as possible, but the sergeant convinces him to have a meal before they depart.
Vasca enjoys his dinner
The innkeeper has done his part well, serving up a multi-course meal accompanied by musicians and attractive hostesses.
Zorro slips inside the inn
Zorro tells Bernardo to get the judge's horses ready, then slips inside the inn to keep an eye on Garcia and the judge.
The two men try to out eat each other
The two men, both of substantial girth, have challenged each other to an eating contest. It looks like it will be quite a battle!
Garcia is enjoying himself
Vasca notices a similarity between the meal and his dining companion, but the sergeant is too busy eating to react.
Finally Garcia can eat no more
Soon, though, Garcia realizes he has met his match and has to leave the table when desert is finally served.

Scene Images

The innkeepr mixes up a sleeping potion
The innkeeper offers to help and mixes a potent sleeping powder into a drink for the judge.
The men share a drink
At first Vasca turns down the drink, but he finally agrees to a toast in the name of the king.
The judge finally succumbs
Finally, well after most men would have succumbed, the potion takes effect on the judge.
The judge is taken to bed
Still half awake, the judge is placed into a bed but told he's on his way to Los Angeles.
Poor Bernardo is trapped under the bed
Garcia bounces up and down on the bed to simulate the journey, much to the displeasure of Bernardo, who is hiding underneath it.
Zorro makes Garcia drink the drugged drink
Once again, Zorro gets the advantage over Garcia. He makes the sergeant drink another of the laced drinks and his prisoner is soon fast asleep.
They sneak the judge out of the inn
Bernardo dresses in Garcia's uniform and they slip the dazed judge outside into his waiting carriage.
Zorro tricks the pursuing lancers
When the soldiers realize Vasca is missing they set chase, but Zorro is able to trick them into taking the wrong road.
The trial is not going well
In Los Angeles, the trial has started with Piña as the judge. Fearing the worst, Don Alejandro bitterly protests "This is not a courtroom, it is an execution chamber!"
Piña suddenly stops the trial
Just as he is about to announce a verdict, Piña suddenly stops with a strange look on his face.
Zorro races to freedom
Unseen to those in the courtroom, Zorro has his sword at Piña's back. He warns that a sentence of death could bring the same penalty to the crooked lawyer.
A surprising verdict
Monastario is completely amazed when Piña pronounces the men innocent.
Monastario tries to salvage the situation
Just then Judge Vasca finally arrives, and the wily commandante says he had given the prisoners a fair trial and was sure they had been innocent all along.
The prisoners are set free
The prisoners are set free. Zorro has beaten Monastario yet again.

Publicity Photos

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

Monastario strikes a pose

Evil conspirators, Capt. Monastario (Britt Lomond) and his obedient civil servant, played by Than Wyenn, plot to trap the mysterious masked rider, Zorro (Guy Williams) who constantly frustrates their vicious schemes against his neighbors.

Zorro heps Alejandro

The buffoonish Sergeant Garcia (Henry Calvin) is helped to his feet by three lancers after a sleep walking accident in this scene from Walt Disney's "Zorro" series.

Preview of this episode

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