The Cisco Kid (TV series)

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The Cisco Kid
GenreWestern
Written byO. Henry
J. Benton Cheney
Barry Cohon
Directed byPaul Landres
Lambert Hillyer
StarringDuncan Renaldo
Leo Carrillo
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes156 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)Frederick Ziv
Philip N. Krasne
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Ziv Television Programs
Broadcast
Original channelfirst-run syndication
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original runSeptember 5, 1950 – March 22, 1956
 
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The Cisco Kid
GenreWestern
Written byO. Henry
J. Benton Cheney
Barry Cohon
Directed byPaul Landres
Lambert Hillyer
StarringDuncan Renaldo
Leo Carrillo
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes156 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)Frederick Ziv
Philip N. Krasne
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Ziv Television Programs
Broadcast
Original channelfirst-run syndication
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original runSeptember 5, 1950 – March 22, 1956

The Cisco Kid is a half-hour American Western television series starring Duncan Renaldo in the title role, The Cisco Kid, and Leo Carrillo as the jovial sidekick, Pancho. Cisco and Pancho were technically desperados[citation needed], wanted for unspecified crimes[citation needed], but instead viewed by the poor as Robin Hood figures who assisted the downtrodden when law enforcement officers proved corrupt or unwilling to help.[1] It was also the first television series to be filmed in color,[2] although few viewers saw it in color until the 1960s.

Production notes[edit]

Promotional photo of Renaldo and Diablo.
Promotional photo of Carrillo and Loco.

The central character was created by the American short story author O. Henry in "The Caballero's Way", published in 1907 in the collection Heart of the West. Radio, television, and films have depicted the Cisco Kid as a heroic Mexican caballero, but in the original story, the Kid is non-Hispanic and a real, unusually vicious outlaw.[3] The character was adapted as the radio drama The Cisco Kid in 1942–1955.[4][5] Jackson Beck played the title role 1942–1945, and Jack Mather from 1946–1955.

The TV series began production in 1949, and was filmed by ZIV Productions at the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi Valley in Ventura County, California.[6] Renaldo, a native of Romania, and Carrillo, a native of Los Angeles, were the first regular Hispanic television stars. (Desi Arnaz, Sr, of Cuban descent, went on the air with his wife and co-star, Lucille Ball, in I Love Lucy a year later.)[7] When the series began, Carrillo was already 70 years of age; Renaldo, 46. Part of the humor of the series is reflected in Carrillo's mangling of the English language.[6] Pancho's catch-phrase, when amused by Renaldo, was a drawn-out "Ohhh, Ceesco!" Viewers also became acquainted with the characters' horses, Cisco's Diablo and Pancho's Loco.

The program, somewhat similar to The Lone Ranger, aired via syndication from 1950–1956. It was originally filmed in 16 mm Kodachrome,[8] later in 35 mm when the network owned-and-operated stations preferred the higher quality format.[9] Because the 156 episodes were filmed in color, the series was in demand until the 1970s.[1] However, most viewers of the original run saw the program in black-and-white.[10] In 1956, the year the original run ended, only 0.05 percent of U.S. households with a television set had a color set, and 10 years later only 9.7 percent had a color set.[11]

The Cisco Kid was nominated in 1953 for an Emmy Award for children's programming. By 1955 it was the most popular filmed television series among American children.[12]

In the 1960s, the series was distributed by Walter Schwimmer with the ZIV Television logo deleted from the opening/closing credits and replaced with a title card still: "A Walter Schwimmer Presentation."

Guest stars[edit]

A number of recurring guest stars on The Cisco Kid later had television series of their own:

Other guest stars included:

Episodes[edit]

Sample episodes[edit]

In the third episode entitled "Counterfeit Money", Cisco and Pancho are asked by Marshal Ben Lane to track down a gang of counterfeiters. Cisco cannot prove his hunch that the local banker and his clerk are involved in fraud until Pancho poses as an alleged bank robber. Other episodes included:

DVD release[edit]

MPI Home Video released 4 volume sets of The Cisco Kid on DVD in Region 1 in 2004/2005, each set contains 20 episodes. However, the releases feature a random collection of episodes, not in original broadcast order.

On January 15, 2008, Mill Creek Entertainment released Best of the Cisco Kid, a three-disc set which included 35 episodes from the first two seasons of the series. Many of the set's episodes, along with several others, have also been issued on the company's multi-series Western anthologies.

Popular culture[edit]

The Cisco Kid exhibit at Conrad Hilton's first hotel, the Mobley, in Cisco, Texas

The series was parodied on the comedy series Second City Television ("SCTV") in the sketch depicting Cisco and Pancho in "Friendlyville." Ironically, the SCTV series' producer-distributor, Rhodes Productions, acquired the distribution rights to the series in the mid-1980s and rebroadcast on Chicago's WGN-TV among other stations, hence the closing credits again altered at the end as: "A Rhodes Productions Presentation."

On the long-running children's show Wonderama, a character in a Western-style costume called "The Disco Kid" would appear during the dance segment.[16]

In 1994, Turner Network Television carried a Cisco Kid television movie, with Jimmy Smits as Cisco and Cheech Marin as Pancho.

The chamber of commerce office in Cisco, Texas, has a small exhibit on The Cisco Kid, but the character is not related to the community, the seat of Eastland County.

The Deep Purple song "Hey Cisco" from the album "Purpendicular" [sic] references the ban on Duncan Renaldo using the copyrighted character to profit, albeit minimally, from the character he portrayed on television. The song can also be heard on the Live Deep Purple DVD "Perihelion" where lead singer Ian Gillan explains briefly what inspired him to write the song.

Reruns[edit]

As of late August of 2013, reruns of The Cisco Kid were being transmitted on both This TV and the Retro Television Network.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 165
  2. ^ Interview with Frederick W. Ziv, in: Irv Broughton, Producers on Producing: The Making of Film and Television, McFarland, 1986, p. 18. ISBN 978-0-89950-199-4.
  3. ^ "He killed for the love of it — because he was quick-tempered — to avoid arrest — for his own amusement — any reason that came to his mind would suffice." O. Henry, "The Caballero's Way", Heart of the West.
  4. ^ "Program Reviews", Billboard, Nov. 7, 1942, p. 8.
  5. ^ Humongous Old-Time Radio Database, The Original Old Time Radio (OTR) WWW Pages.
  6. ^ a b c d "The Cisco Kid". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 6, 2009. 
  7. ^ "The Cisco Kid:Summary". www.oldies.com. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  8. ^ The History of Cinematography, Part 3: Advancing the Art Form, Kodak.
  9. ^ Interview with Frederick W. Ziv, in: Irv Broughton, Producers on Producing: The Making of Film and Television, McFarland, 1986, p. 19. ISBN 978-0-89950-199-4.
  10. ^ "To date there have been only experimental showings of color prints." "Ziv Producing Sixth Year of 'Cisco Kid,' Its Oldest", Billboard, April 30, 1955, p. 8.
  11. ^ Christopher H. Sterling and John Michael Kittross (2002). Stay tuned: a history of American broadcasting (3 ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 975. ISBN 0-8058-2624-6.  page 864
  12. ^ "'Cisco Kid' in Top Kid Spot", Billboard, April 30, 1955, p. 8.
  13. ^ "TV Show – The Cisco Kid: Dutchman’s Flat". The Classic TV Archive (CTVA). Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ "TV Show – The Disco Kid: Dutchman’s Flat". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  15. ^ List of The Cisco Kid episodes at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ The Bootleg Files: Wonderama at Film Threat

External links[edit]