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Zorro (ABC 1957-1959, Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon)

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Sometimes it’s hard to find that heroic balance. Make him too tough, and he’s too scary for the kids. Make him too nice, and nobody takes him seriously. Make him too ugly, and you lose the romance. Make him into a pretty boy, and once more, nobody takes him seriously. But every once in a while, somebody gets it exactly right. Such was the case of Zorro, the handsome and heroic man in black.

Created by Johnston McCulley in 1919, Zorro starred in dozens of magazine stories and novels, becoming an international smash. Douglas Fairbanks had brought “the fox” to the silver screen in 1920’s The Mark of Zorro, and subsequent sequels and remakes found John Carroll, George Turner and Tyrone Power taking up the mask in cinematic adventures. Walt Disney took notice of the Zorro hoopla, and in the early 1950’s, he took control of the rights to the famed character. When extra funds were needed to boost the Disneyland theme park, Disney brought the man in black out for his first television series.

TV’s Zorro told the story of Spanish nobleman Don Diego de la Vega, son of Don Alejandro de la Vega. The elder Don lived in the Los Angeles area of 1820’s California, and when ruthless Spanish armies started making trouble in town, Don Alejandro called Don Diego back home to defend the common man. To Don Alejandro’s dismay, Don Diego didn’t seem to care, adopting a cowardly attitude toward his persecutors. But what the father didn’t know was that by night, Don Diego rode into action on his trusty black mount, Tornado, fighting the forces of evil as Zorro (so named for the ‘Z’ sign he made with three sword strokes).

Always at Zorro’s side was his trusty manservant Bernardo, a mute who pretended to be deaf in order to listen in on conversations for his master. Together, the two opposed the rule of army commandant Captain Monastario and other heartless officers. Somewhere in the middle was the exotically plump Sergeant Garcia, a comic relief character whose love of food and strong drink often made him an accidental ally of Zorro’s.

In his first season on television, Zorro didn’t have much time for love—there were too many swordfights to be swordfought, after all—but Disney eventually rewarded the masked swordsman with a lady love in Anna Marie Verdugo. Wanted political activist Nacho Torres and his daughter Elena figured heavily into many second-season episodes as well, but Zorro stuck primarily with his one-man vigilante show.

Zorro 1957

Zorro was an absolute smash on television, thanks in part to the large sums Disney lavished on sets and other production design. The show was one of the more expensive programs on television in the mid-50’s, but the gamble paid off. Not only was Zorro a success, it also led to a Davy Crockett-sized cornucopia of merchandise: toys, playsuits, games, swords, lunchboxes and so on. The show’s theme song was another hit, reaching the Top-20 with a version by The Chordettes. And in a less appreciated sign of the program’s popularity, kids carved large Z’s into anything that stood still long enough to be tagged.

Unfortunately for The Fox’s many young fans, the show was cut short by business and legal problems. Arguments between Disney and ABC over ownership of both Zorro and the Disneyland TV program escalated in 1959, and Zorro was taken off the air. Disney planned to return the character to full-time action once the fracas settled, but four one-hour specials were all Zorro fans got. The character lived on in books, cartoons, movies, toys and future television series, but in the minds of 50’s kids, there was only one true man in black, and he had one swell theme song.

theme song
“Out of the night, when the full moon is bright,
Comes the horseman known as Zorro,
This bold renegade carves a ‘Z’ with his blade,
A ‘Z’ that stands for Zorro…”
“Zorro, Zorro, the fox so cunning and free,
Zorro, Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z…”

production details
USA / ABC – Walt Disney / 70×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 10 October 1957 – 24 September 1959

Creator: Johnston McCulley / Producer: William H. Anderson / Executive Producer: Walt Disney / Theme Music: Norman Foster, George Bruns

cast
GUY WILLIAMS as Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro
GENE SHELDON as Bernado
HENRY CALVIN as Sgt Demetrio Lopez Garcia
BRITT LOMOND as Captain Monastario (1958-58)
JOLENE BRAND as Anna Maria Verdugo (1958-59)
GEORGE J. LEWIS as Don Alejandro
JAN ARVAN as Don Ignacio Torres (1957)
VINTON HAYWORTH as Magistrate Carlos Galindo (1958)
ROMNEY BRENT as Padre Felipe (1957)
DON DIAMOND as Cpl Reyes (1958-59)

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)

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A Christmas Reunion Lifetime

In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.

Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.

cast
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen

crew details
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015

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TV

Final Vision (ID 2017, Scott Foley, Dave Annable)

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Final Vision ID

Final Vision is a twisted psychological thriller and a true-crime drama based on the longest running criminal case in U.S. history. It’s the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

Told through the eyes of best-selling author Joe McGinniss (Annable), who was approached by MacDonald to write a book about his personal nightmare as he was about to go to trial.

cast
Scott Foley as Jeffrey MacDonald
Dave Annable as Joe McGinniss
John Doman as Bernie Segal
Lochlyn Munro as Wade Smith
Jessica Harmon as Colette MacDonald
Caroline Aaron as Leslie Sterling
Primo Allon as MP Sergeant
Julia Maren Baker as Kimberly MacDonald
Julia Benson as Nancy McGinniss
Baylee Breen-Wood as Kristen MacDonald
April Cameron as Nurse at St. Mary’s
Aaron Craven as James Blackburn
Bruce Dawson as Doctor
Parveen Dosanjh as Woman at Party
Lane Edwards as Brian Murtagh

crew details
Writer: Denis O’Neill
Director:  Nicholas McCarthy
Executive Producers: Angela Bromstad, Christine Connor, Linda Berman S

production details
Country:  USA
Network and Production Companies: ID – Lincoln Square Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From:  Sunday 10 December 2017

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