Friday, September 20, 2019

The History of the CISCO KID on the Motion Picture and Television Screens: La historia del CISCO KID en las pantallas de cine y televisión

There are two classic Hispanic Literary Heroes that transitioned to both the Motion Picture and Television screens. One is "ZORRO" and the other was  known as "The Robin Hood of the Old West" the "CISCO KID". It is the later that this article is about.

"Don Diego Vega" better known as "Zorro" was created in 1919 not by an Hispanic writer, but an Anglo named Johnston McCulley in the story "The Curse of Capistrano". My article on the character may be found at:

"The Cisco Kid" was created also not by a Hispanic author, but another Anglo named William Sydney Potter. He was a short story writer known by his pen name of "O. Henry".

A picture of the author O. Henry

The short story "The Caballero's Way" was published in 1907 and introduced the "Cisco Kid". Whereas, Johnston McCulley's "Don Diego Vega" returns from Spain to "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los angeles (The Town of Our  Lady the Queen of the Angels)". Finding it under the tyranny of the evil "Captain Ramon" and "Sergeant Garcia" and becomes "El Zorro (The Fox)" to fight them.

O. Henry's "Cisco Kid" isn't even Hispanic and is described as:
The short story's opening paragraph reads:
Later O. Henry writes:
O. Henry doesn't tell his reader how "Goodall" got the name the "Cisco Kid", or his first name. Additionally at the end he arranges for his unfaithful girlfriend, "Tonia",to be murdered by her new lover "Ranger Lieutenant Sandridge".

The following link will take my reader to the website "American" and the complete short story:

The First Motion Pictures

On April 1, 1914, the motion picture studio "American-Eclair", founded in 1912 by a French film society in Fort Lee, New Jersey, released their short film "The Caballero's Way".

The Caballero's Way (1914)

The motion picture follows O' Henry's short story, but changed the "Cisco Kid" into a Mexican desperado living on the Southern Border. Once again quoting the short story it is obvious that the "Cisco  Kid" was Anglo and not even half Mexican as "Tonia":
The Caballero's Way (1914)

I could not locate a picture of  Astoria, New York, born William R. Dunn who played the "Cisco Kid". Above the role of  "Tonia" was portrayed by New York City born Edna Payne. Payne would portray Mexican young women in several silent films,but had been born to a pair of traveling Vaudeville performers. The actor in the above still is Kilkea, County Kildare, Ireland born Jack W. Johnson as "Lieutenant Sandridge".

The next film version of O. Henry's short story was 1919's "The Border Terror". All I could find out about this silent short is that Appleton City, Missouri, actor Vester Pegg and San Francisco born actress Yvette Mitchell were in it and the following newspaper description..

The Warner Baxter Motion Picture Series

The very first sound Western was also the very first sound version of O' Henry's the "Cisco Kid" and would be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award.

Warner Baxter, Dorothy Burgess, and Edmund Lowe in In Old Arizona (1928)

Released on December 25, 1928 was "In Old Arizona" featuring Warner Baxter, with thick stereo typical accent, as the "Cisco Kid". Baxter wasn't Hispanic and was born in Columbus, Ohio. He had been acting since 1918 and among his notable films was the romantic drama 1931's "Daddy Long Legs" co-starring Janet Gaynor. She portrays the older girl from an orphanage Baxter is unknowingly sponsoring and falls in love with. In 1955 the story would be turned into a musical motion picture with Fred Astaire in Baxter's role and Leslie Caron in the Gaynor role.

In 1933 Warner Baxter starred in the comedy, musical and romance picture "42nd Street". While in 1936 he portrayed "Dr. Samuel Mudd" who innocently treated the assassin of "President Lincoln", "John Wilkes Booth' and was imprisoned for it. The still excellent  motion  picture was "The Prisoner of Shark Island". Baxter was also somewhat type cast as Hispanic bandits and in 1936 was also California legend "Joaquin Murrieta" in "Robin Hood of El Dorado". For the role of the "Cisco Kid" Warner Baxter would win the Best Actor Academy Award.

Dorothy Burgess was "Tonia Maria". Burgess was born in Los Angeles and also was not Hispanic. In 1932 she was in the James Cagney and Loretta Young film "Taxi". Burgess was being billed by the  by the major studios as competition for Jean Harrow.

Dorothy Burgess.jpg

Above Dorothy Burgess and below Warner Baxter and Dorothy Burgess in heavy Hollywood make-up as the films two lovers.

Warner Baxter and Dorothy Burgess in In Old Arizona (1928)

The third lead was Edmund Lowe not as "Ranger Lieutenant Sandridge", but "Cavalry Sergeant Mickey Dunn". Lowe was originally going to be a Catholic Priest, but several times he switched professions, including  law, before landing in acting. The mostly "B" actor's other 126 roles included the 1931 mystery "The Spider", the Bela Lugosi 1932 serial "Chandu the Magician" and portraying literary detective  "Philo Vance" in 1936's "The Garden Murder Case". Lowe would portray "Vance" in several films of the series.

Above Dunn with Baxter.

O. Henry's short story was turned into a screenplay by Tom Barry. This was Barry's third screenplay and he would be nominated for an Academy Award for it.

Raoul Walsh was set to direct the picture, but an accident prevented that. In two years Walsh would direct 1930's "The Big Trail", in wide screen 78 mm, about a wagon train that would star, after Raul Walsh re-named the actor, John Wayne. Walsh was  also an actor and was supposed to have played the Edmund Lowe Role. My link to "The Big Trail", the story of John Wayne's name, and the 78 mm Grandeur process can be read at:

What had happened to Walsh was an accident caused by a jackrabbit jumping into his car's windshield on a dark road. As a result Raul Walsh lost an eye, but earned the affectionate moniker of "One Eyed Raul Walsh. William Fox the owner of "Fox Film Corporation" left Walsh's name on the film.

Irving Cummings was assigned to direct "In Old Arizona" after the accident. Cummings, like Raul Walsh, was also an actor. In 1922 he had directed Lon Chaney in "Flesh and Blood", In 1935 he directed Shirley Temple in "Curly Top", in 1936 it was Temple in "Poor Little Rich Girl" and in 1938 Cummings directed "America's Sweetheart" in "Little Miss Broadway". Other of his work included 1939's "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell"  and 1941's "Belle Star". Irving Cummings would be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Director for  this picture.

Tom Barry's screenplay changed the image of the "Cisco  Kid". He was still the 1914 Mexican desperado, but also somewhat of a charming and happy-go-lucky tragic character. In fact there are a few small singing sequences, including "Cisco" composing a love song to "Tonia Maria", by Warner Baxter and overdub songs by others. All projecting the upcoming concept of the "Singing Cowboy".

In Arizona a bandit  known as the "Cisco  Kid" robs a stage and "Sergeant Dunn" gets his superior to post a reward, Dead or Alive, for $5,000.

Here's how the actual robbery scene plays out in the movie. The "Cisco  Kid" stops the stagecoach containing five passengers including a beautiful young women.

The "Cisco Kid" has the driver and guards pass down the strong box and the passengers come out. He looks them over and sees that the young women, actress Helen Lynch, is wearing a lovely broach. He has the other four passengers go back into the coach and asks the girl for the broach. After he puts it in a pocket. The "Cisco Kid" reaches into one of his other pockets and pulls out some money. He next pays the young women for it saying he never robs individuals. She enters the stagecoach and they all leave him with the strong box. The character of the motion picture "Cisco Kid" has been created and is contrary to the "Dead or Alive" poster of "Sergeant Dunn", or the cold blooded murderer of "Mexicans" written by O.Henry.

"Mickey Dunn" and the "Cisco Kid" meet in a barber shop and the cavalry sergeant is unaware to whom he is speaking too. Until after the bandit leaves the shop, rides away, and the barber mentions it.

Above Warner Baxter with the barber portrayed by Henry Ametta.

"Sergeant Dunn" meets "Tonia Maria" and they start an affair behind the "Cisco Kid's" back. "Tonia Maria" has had many other men than both "Mickey" and "Cisco". The Bandit is blindly in love with her and wants "Tonia Maria" to settle down with him, but she won't stop "Flirting" with other men.

"Tonia's" affair with "Mickey Dunn" is getting out of hand and has come close to exposing the "Cisco Kid". This is becoming a major concern for the bandit and he tells her so, but she still carries on with the Sergeant. After the stagecoach robbery occurred the young women's real self is further revealed. Learning of the $5,000 reward "Tonia Marie" makes "Dunn" promise to give it to her if she helps him get the "Cisco Kid".

At this point the screenplay picks up O. Henry, but as I said the way the bandit as written by Tom Barry isn't the cold blooded killer of the short story. So the audience supports his revenge against "Tonia Maria" at the film's climax.

The switch in clothing in the short story is handled differently. Instead of the young women sending a letter to "Sandridge" saying "Cisco" suggests they wear each others clothes to confuse anyone watching her house. She just writes a letter telling "Mickey" that the other will be at her house that night and he should have no trouble killing him.

However, the "Cisco Kid" intercepts the letter and changes it to read as O.Henry wrote. That the two will be wearing each others clothes. Thereby setting "Sergeant Mickey Dunn" up to believe the person in women's clothing is the desperado. When in fact neither has changed their clothing.

That night "Mickey Dunn" talks with some of the other soldiers he has had watching "Tonia Maria's" house and decides to ambush "Cisco" as the letter indicates.

"Mickey Dunn" waits in a tree over looking "Tonia Maria's" house and see's someone in "Cisco's" clothing ride off and the other wearing women's clothing still in front. He shoots and kills the double dealing young women and the "Cisco  Kid" rides off thinking that "Tonia Maria's" flirting days are over and, sardonically, she can now settle down.

The Arizona Kid released April 27, 1930
"The Arizona Kid" was the first of three sequels to "In Old Arizona". This  film should not be confused with the 1939 "The Arizona Kid" starring Roy Rodgers.

Warner Baxter is back as the "Cisco Kid", but is not called that. He is referred too by the picture's title as the "Arizona Kid".

Baxter's co-star was Mona Mars as "Lorita". Her real name was Rosa Emma Mona Maria Marta Capdeville and was born in Argentina of Spanish and French parents. She would appear is several Spanish language films after sound came in, because her English was terrible.

Warner Baxter and Mona Maris in Romance of the Rio Grande (1929)

Above Warner Baxter and Mona Mars.

The other actress is the film was not known enough to have her name on the poster in 1930. Although she had appeared on screen 39 times, but mostly in short subjects or in a crowd scene. She was Carole Lombard and the following year Lombard would marry actor William Powell. They would divorce in 1933 and in 1939 she married Clark Gable, but Lombard would be killed in a plane crash on January 16, 1942. She was 33 years old.

Above 21 year old Carol Lombard as "Virginia Hoyt". Below left to right are Baxter, Theodore von Eltz as "Dick Hoyt" and Lombard.

The story and the screenplay were by Ralph Block and Joseph Wright. The two followed Tom Barry's lead with the "Cisco Kid". His personality, with Warner Baxter's help, now completely became a charming, happy-go-lucky rogue and moved him from O. Henry's "Assassin". In fact the screenplay created:
The Robin Hood of the Old West, The Cisco Kid!

Baxter appears to be a wealthy miner, but this is his secret identity as a "Robin Hood" bandit stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Enter "Virginia Hoyt" and her brother ""Dick Hoyt". The "Kid" starts to fall for "Virginia". However, after his mine is robbed and two of his friends murdered. It will turn out "Virginia" and "Dick" are the real crooks and "Dick" isn't "Virginia's" brother, but her husband.

The Cisco Kid released November 1, 1931Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe, and Conchita Montenegro in The Cisco Kid (1931)

Screenplay writer Alfred A, Cohn's story for the movie "The Cisco Kid" is interesting because of the two main characters. He goes back to both O' Henry and "In Old Arizona" and the audience sees both "The Cisco Kid" and now "Sergeant Michael Patrick 'Mickey' Dunn".

Cohn's screenplay writing goes back to 1923 and in 1927 he wrote the story and screenplay for the first sound motion picture "The Jazz Singer". The same year he created both the story and screenplay for the classic comedy mystery "The Cat and the Canary".

Irving Cummings was back as the films director.

Warner Baxter was "The Cisco Kid" and Edmund Lowe was back as this version of "Sergeant  Mickey Dunn".

"Tonia Maria" is not in this picture, but there are two main actresses.

Conchita Montenegro was "Carmencita". Montenegro was born in Spain and was a Spanish model, dancer and stage and movie screen actress. Her major film was the 1944 "Lola Montez" made in Spain. Most of Conchita Montenegro's work were in Spanish language films.

Above Edward Lowe with Conchita Montenegro.

The other actress was Nora Lane as "Sally Bemton". :Lane was an actress appearing in many "B" Westerns starting in 1927. She appeared in 83 motion  pictures, mostly Westerns, through 1944.

Above Edward Lowe, Nora Lane and Warner Baxter.

Chris-Pin Martin was, "Gordito", the first side kick of the "Cisco Kid". Between 1925 and 1953 character actor Pin-Martin, born in Tuscon, Arizona as Ysabel Ponicana Chris-Pin Martin Piaz, would  appear in 145 different roles mostly as a stereo typical Mexican side kick.

Willard Robertson was "Enos Hankins". Robertson's career included some major movies. Such as the first all technicolor Horror movie 1932's "Dr. X", the same years classic "I Was A Fugitive From A Chain Gang", William Wellman's 1933 "Wild Boys of the Road" and Wellman's classic Western 1942's "The Oxbow Incident" co-starring Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews. Willard Robertson was also in 1940's "Lucky Cisco Kid".

The "Cisco Kid" in this film keeps his "Robin Hood of the Old West" image and this is not O'Henry's "Mickey Dunn". Who came from New York to the American West and become a Calvary Sergeant. His friendly enemy is the "Cisco Kid" and when "Dunn" hears of a $5,000 reward for the other. "Dunn" thinks he might go after the cattle rustler and not  stagecoach robber.

While rustling cattle with his two friends "Lopez", Charles Stevens, and "Gorito",he spots "Dunn" with two others "Dixon", James Bradburry, Jr., and "Bouse", Jack Dillon. The clever "Cisco" has "Gordito" start shooting at him and he rides away. "Dunn" and his two men arrive and believe the stolen cattle are "Gordito's" and lets him take them away. Meanwhile, the "Cisco Kid" is safely away.

In the town of Carrizo the "Cisco Kid" is in a cafe listening to the singer "Carmencita". The local Sheriff, who also likes the singer, shoots the heel off one of the "Kid's" boots and in turn has the glass he is holding shot out of his hand. "Dunn" enters, but with "Carmencita" help "Cisco" escapes. However, not before "Dunn" wounds the rustler.

The "Cisco Kid" arrives at the ranch of widow "Sally Benton" and her young children "Billy", Douglas Haig, and "Annie", Marilyn Knowlden. There he is nursed back to health and befriends the two children.

"Cisco" finds out that "Sally" is going to loose her ranch, if she doesn't pay "Enos Hawkins" $5,000. As it turns out "Hawkins" is the town's banker and owns the mortgages of many ranch's he wants. The "Cisco Kid" robs the bank to use "Hawkins" own money to pay him off. "Mickey Dunn" arrives and attempts to shoot "Cisco".and  "Carmencita" runs between the two men and feigns being shot. "Dunn" rushes to her aide and the "Kid" once again escapes him.

"Cisco" arrives at "Sally's" ranch and gives her the money. "Sergeant Dunn" also arrives shortly afterwards. "Sally's" daughter "Annie", is upset that the kid didn't say good-bye to her. In anger sge closes the gate "Cisco" must go through to leave, before being caught by "Dunn". The gates closing forces the him to have his horse jump over it. Which causes "Annie" to fall being apparently hit by the horse. "Cisco" rides back to check on "Annie" and is captured by "Dunn". However, the girl is not hurt and when "Mickey" hears why "Cisco" robbed the bank. He shakes the other's hand and lets him ride away.

The last film with Warner Baxter was:

The Return of the Cisco Kid released April 28, 1939

Lynn Bari and Warner Baxter in The Return of the Cisco Kid (1939)

The screenplay was by Milton Sperling. Sperling would become a producer in 1940 and only wrote from time to time, but as a writer some of his work included 1939's "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell", 1955's "The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell" and 1962's "Merrill's  Marauders".

This feature was directed by Herbert I. Leeds. Leeds was a film editor turned director of  "B" Westerns and Detective thrillers, but would also direct some of the "Cisco Kid" television episodes later.

However, it is the cast of this picture that is extremely high quality for a "B" Western.

Warner Baxter is the "Cisco Kid", but he is also known as "Senor Gonzales Sebastian Rodrigo Don Juan Chicquello" as an alias.

Chris-Pin Martin was back as "Gorito".

Lynn Bari was "Ann Carver". Bari would become one of the leading "B" actresses of the 1940's. Among her films  are 1942's "The Falcon Takes Over" with George Sanders, 1944's "The Bridge of  San Luis Rey", 1946's "Nocturne" with George Raft and 1946's "Shock" with Vincent Price.

Above Lynn Bari with Warner Baxter.

Henry Hull portrays "Colonel Jonathan Bixby". By this time among the other work character Hull had been were 1935's "The Werewolf of London", 1939's "Jesse James" with Tyrone Power and  Henry Fonda, Hull would repeat his role in 1940's "The Return of Frank James starring Henry Fonda as "Frank James". In 1941 Henry Hull would be in 1941's "High Sierra" starring Humphrey Bogart, in 1944 it was Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" and in 1949' "The Fountainhead" starring Gary Cooper and Patrica Neal.

Portraying the role of "Lopez" was Cesar Romero. I will go more into the actor in the next section. When he becomes the next "Cisco  Kid".

Kane Richmond was "Alan Davis". Kane Richmond would become a major 1940's Chapter Serial hero. Those serials included playing "Alan Armstrong" better known in 1942 as "Spy Smasher", he was "Jim Marsden" in 1942's  "Haunted Harbor","Lieutenant Larry Farrall" in 1945's "Brenda Star Reporter",  also in 1945 he was "Bob Moore" in  "Jungle  Raiders", in 1947 he was "Brick Bradford" and not to forget Kane Richmond was also "Lamont Cranston" in 1946's "The Shadow Returns".

Robert Barrat is "Sheriff McNally". Barrat was a character actor and would portray "Jim Harbison" in "Cisco Kid and the Lady". He appeared in Cecil B. DeMille's 1939 "Union Pacific", John Wayne's "Allegheny Uprising" and was in King Vidor's 1940 "Northwest Passage" with Spencer Tracy.

The film starts at the Northern Mexico and Arizona border as the "Cisco Kid" faces a firing squad. The rifles blaze and the "Kid" falls and is killed. That night he rises from the grave with the help of "Lopez" and "Gordito". They had placed blanks in the guns of the firing squad the night before "Cisco's" execution. Now the three head for Arizona and new identities.

Using his alias of "Senor Gonzales Sebastian Rodrigo Don Juan Chicquello" the "Robin Hood of the Old West", the "Cisco Kid", helps a young women and her grandfather being manipulated by an evil "Sheriff  McNally". "McNally" of course owns the mortgage on their ranch. Not as good as the previous  films, but firmly projecting "Cisco's" anti-hero image to the Depression years audience to root for.

Warner Baxter was "Cisco" in 1939, but also the year Cesar Romero was introduced in the very popular role.

The Cesar Romero Motion Picture Series

Cisco Kid and the Lady was released December 29, 1939
Cesar Romero and Marjorie Weaver in The Cisco Kid and the Lady (1939)

The tone of the motion picture changed with newspaper ads using tag lines like:
Anyone reading the original O. Henry short story wouldn't call "The Cisco Kid" a "Gay Bandit", but the motion pictures had now completely changed his image.

Herbert I. Leeds was back as director.

The screenplay was by Stanley Rauh. Raugh had written over 60 short subjects and provided additional dialogue on two "B" features since he started in 1930. This was Stanley Rauch's first complete motion picture screenplay.

Cesar Romero's Latin good looks completely changed the "Cisco Kid" for future generations. Romero was born in New York City, but his father was from Barcelona, Spain and his mother was said to be the daughter of Cuban National Hero Jose Marti,

By the time of this motion picture the future "Joker," of television's "Batman", had appeared in 29 motion pictures mostly as a dancer and singer. In 1939 besides "The Return of the Cisco Kid" were "The Little Princess" starring Shirley Temple, in which he sang and danced, and "Frontier Marshall". Cesar Romero became the first actor to portray gunfighter "Doc Holliday" opposite Randolph Scott's "Wyatt Earp". This was the second motion picture about the "Gunfight at the OK Corral", but the first motion picture using the actual names of those involved. The screenplay would be remade and expanded by John Ford in 1946 as "My Darling  Clementine" with Victor Mature in the Romero role and Henry Fonda in the Scott role. For those of my readers interested in how Hollywood has portrayed the famous gunfight. My article comparing the actual event to the movies can be read at:

Marjorie Weaver was "Julie Lawson". Lawson was a solid "B" leading lady. The actress appeared in several detective motion pictures opposite Lloyd Nolan as author Brett Halliday's "Michael Shayne". Weaver is seen with Romero in the above lobby card.

Chris-Pin Martin was back as "Gordito".

Virginia Field portrayed "Billie Graham". Field, like Weaver, was a familiar supporting "B" actress. She was seen in the major 1936 film "Lloyd's of London" with Tyrone Power, 1937's "Lancer Spy" with George Sanders and Peter Lorre and with Lorre again both in 1939's "Mr. Moto's Last Warning" and "Mr. Moto Takes A Vacation".

Above Virginia Field, Cesar Romero and Chris-Pin Martin.

Also in the picture was actor George Montgomery as "Tommy Bates". "B" actor Montgomery would appear in many film genres, He was in the Ginger Rodgers comedy-drama 1942's "Roxy Hart" that was the basis of the musical "Chicago". Montgomery would star in many Westerns such as 1948's "Bell Star's Daughter", 1950's "Davy Crockett, Indian Scout", the 3-D film from 1953 "Fort Ti" and 1954's "Masterson of Kansas".

Above a very young George Montgomery and Marjorie Weaver.

Robert Barrat was "Jim Harbison".

Cesar Romero, Robert Barrat, Virginia Field, and Chris-Pin Martin in The Cisco Kid and the Lady (1939)

Above left to right  Virginia Field, Chris-Pin Martin, Cesar Romero and Robert Barrat.

The basic plot has the "Cisco Kid" finding a motherless infant whose father was just murdered. The men responsible want the baby dead also. Then their leader, "Jim Harbison", can take over the gold mine the child has inherited without  problems.

"Cisco" convinces school teacher "Julie Lawson" to take care of the baby, but when her fiance "Tom Bates" arrives. Complications arise as he now believes "Julie" is really an unwed mother. Meanwhile, "Cisco" starts to romance "Jim Harbison's" girlfriend "Billie Graham".

Cesar Romero, John Beach, Victor Cox, Virginia Field, Al Haskell, Chris-Pin Martin, and Artie Ortego in The Cisco Kid and the Lady (1939)

In the end "Cisco" straighten things out for "Julie" and "Tom" by finding the babies mother. "Jim Harbison" is tricked at the gold mine and is killed and "Cisco" continues his romance with "Billie". All in typical "B" Western style.

Viva Cisco Kid released April 12, 1940

After following "The Cisco Kid and the Lady" with 5th billing in the Joel McCrea and Nancy Kelly "He Married His Wife. Cesar Romero was back as the "Cisco Kid" in "Viva Cisco Kid".

The picture was directed by Norman Foster. Foster was a "B" series director and was used on both the "Charlie Chan" and "Mr. Moto" series. Among his other work was the Film Noir "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands" from 1948 co-starring Burt Lancaster and Joan Fontaine. For television he became associated with "The Loretta Young Show", but my generation knew his directing, without realizing it, for the Walt Disney series "Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier" and its sequel "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates".

For those fans of those two Walt Disney series. My article may be read at:

The screenplay was by Samuel G. Engel. He only wrote 16 screenplays and then became a producer. His other screenplays included director John Ford's 1946 "My Darling Clementine" which he also produced. Engel would do the same double duty with the excellent 1950 War Drama "The Frogmen" co-starring Richard Widmark and Dana Andrews.

Jean Rodgers portrayed "Joan Allen". Rodgers is best remembered for playing "Dale Arden" in the Universal Pictures "Flash Gordon" serials.

Chris-Pin Martin is back as "Gordito".

Minor Watson played "Joan's" father "Jess Allen". Watson was a character actor seen in both "B" and "A" features. Look for him in the 1934 version  of Sinclair Lewis' "Babbitt", William Wyler's "Dead End" with Joel McCrea and Humphrey Bogart, 1938's "Boys Town" with Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, 1939's "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" with Raymond Massey and 1941's "They Died With Their Boots On" co-starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland and you get the picture.

Lucky Cisco Kid was released June  28, 1940

The motion picture was directed by H. Bruce Humberstone. He became one of the founders of the "Directors Guild of America". His films ranged from Westerns to Film Noir and included series films for the characters of "Philo Vance" and "Charlie  Chan". One of the best Film Noirs was Humberstone's "I Wake Up Screaming" co-starring Victor Mature, Betty Grable and Carole Landis.

The screenplay was by Robert Ellis. Ellis between 1913 and 1934 appeared as an actor in 185 different roles. As a screenplay writer, by this film, had written 53 of  his total 68. 8 of those screenplays were in the "Charlie Chan" series.

The story for this film was by  Julian Johnson. This was his last, but among his silent motion picture story and title card writings was 1929's "The Four Feathers" produced by Merian C. Cooper. Cooper would, among other films, bring the world 1933's "King Kong". Both motion pictures featured actress Fay Wray. My article on her 1929 feature film is part of  "Fay Wray Before King Kong" and may be read at:

Cesar Romero was of course the "Cisco Kid".

Mary Beth Hughes was "Lola". Hughes was a typical series "B" actress and would appear in one of Lloyd Nolan's "Michael Shayne" Detective thrillers, That was 1941's "Dressed to Kill" and in the same year would appear in "Charlie Chan in Rio". Hughes also appeared as one of the towns people in William A. Wellman's classic Western "The Ox-Bow Incident" co-starring Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews in 1942.

Speaking of Dana Andrews. He appeared in this film in the familiar named role of "Sergeant Dunn". This was the actor's first motion picture role.

Above left to right Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes and Cesar Romero.

Evelyn Venable was "Emily Lawrence".Venable was mainly a 1930's actress and appeared with Will Rodgers. Just before this picture Evelyn Venable received no on screen credit, but people around the world knew her voice. She was the "Blue Fairy" in Walt Disney's 1940 animated "Pinocchio".

Chris-Pin Martin was back as "Gorito".

Willard Robertson was "Judge McQuade",

The plot was typical formula "B" Western. A gang of outlaws being unknowing led by "Judge McQuade" is driving settlers out of the area. Then the Judge buys their land at ridiculously low prices to create his own large ranch. The problem for the "Cisco Kid" is the Judge has one of the outlaws playing "Cisco" and the blame is falling upon him. While this is happening the "Kid" romantically falls for "Emily Lawrence:" and becomes "Sergeant Dunn's" competition.

The Gay Caballero released October 4, 1940

The Gay Caballero (1940)

The screenplay was by Albert Duffy. Duffy only has 25 writing credits, but those include screenplays for Gene Autry, the characters of the "Cisco Kid", "Michael Lanyard" aka: "The Lone Wolf",
"Blondie and Dagwood" and "The Lone Ranger" on television,

The picture was directed by Otto Brower. Brower directed mostly "B" Westerns and is known for one Chapter Serial 1935's "The Phantom Empire". In which Gene Autry's "Melody Ranch" is located over the "Lost Continent of Mu". Brower also directed the safari sequences in 1939's "Stanley and Livingston". Otto Brower's last directed motion pictures was the Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton 1946 "Duel in the Sun". The credits say it was directed by King Vidor, but Brower was one of SIX directors without on screen credit. They also include the film's producer David O'Selznick, William Cameron Menzies, Joseph von Sternberg, William Dieterle and Sidney Franklin all  covering for the fired King Vidor.

Chris-Pin Martin was back as Romero's side kick "Gordito".

Sheila Ryan was "Susan Weatherby". Ryan fits most of the leading ladies. Blink and you will miss her in 1941's "The Mad Doctor" co-starring Basil Rathbone and "B" actress Ellen Drew. She was in Lloyd Nolan's "Michael Shayne" 1941 feature "Dressed to Kill" with Mary Beth Hughes, Sheila Ryan was in 1947's "The Lone Wolf in Mexico" and the same year was in "Philo Vance's Secret Mission".Cesar Romero and Sheila Ryan in The Gay Caballero (1940)

Above Romero and Ryan.

Robert Sterling was "Billy Brewster". Sterling had already appeared in 28 features, but this film was only his 3rd with on screen credit. He's best remembered as the Ghost of "George Kerby", co-starring with his wife Ann Jeffreys as the Ghost of  "Marion Kerby", happily haunting banker "Cosmo Topper" played by Leo G. Carroll on televisions "Topper" from 1953-1955. Sterling was in MGM's 1951 musical "Show Boat" and played "Captain Lee Crane" in Irwin  Allen's 1961 feature film "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea".
Above left to right Chris-Pin Martin, Cesar Romero, Shelia Ryan and Robert Sterling.

Janet Beecher played "Kate Brewster". Brewster was a leading actress on the Broadway stage, but become a character actress in 50 roles between 1933 and 1943. Besides this picture she  played Tyrone Power's mother "Senora Isabella Vega" in 1940's "The Mark of Zorro" and was in Cecil B. DeMilles 1942 "Reap the Wild  Wind" starring John Wayne, Paulette Goddard and  Raymond Massey.

The plot has "Cisco" and "Gordito" arriving in a town to find out that the "Cisco  Kid" is dead. Prior to his death he attempted to steal the land of "Susan  Weatherby". It is up to "Cisco" to prove he's still alive, it wasn't him that attempted to steal "Susan's" land, and find out whose really behind everything in typical 58 minute "B" Western style. It turns out that it's "Kate Brewster", but at the climax she is killed running from "Cisco" in a wagon that over turns.

Above left to right in front, Robert Sterling, Sheila Ryan and Hooper Atchley as "Sheriff McBride".

Romance of the Rio Grande premiered in NYC December 24, 1940 and went to General Release on January 17, 1941

Herbert I. Leeds was back to direct this entry and Samuel  E. Engel was back as the screenplay writer. The motion picture was based upon a work by novelist Katherine Elizabeth Fullerton Gerould.

Released on November 17, 1929 from a screenplay by Marian Orth, was an early talkie Western "Romance of the Rio Grande". The same titled feature film was based upon the same Katherine Elizabeth Fullerton Gerould novel.

I bring this up, because that film was from the then Fox Film Corporation. The main character is "Pablo Wharton Cameron", in this version, the son of a Hispanic mother and Anglo father. He's played by Warner Baxter. "Pablo" hates his maternal grandfather "Don Fernando", Robert Edison, for disinheriting his mother, but finds himself injured and brought to  the grandfather's ranch. There he falls in love with "Manuelita", Mona Maris. Another member of the family is "Juan", Antonio Moreno, who wants to become the family heir. The two will battle each other as "Pablo" realizes his love for his grandfather. In the end he defeats "Juan" and finds love with "Manuelita".

So now Samuel L. Engel took Marion Orth's screenplay and reworked it into a "Cisco Kid" screenplay.

Cesar Romero had the double role of "Cisco" and "Ramon".

Patricia Morrison was "Rosita"  In 1943 Morrison appeared in an "Inner Sactum" mystery "Calling Dr. Death" featuring Lon Chaney, Jr., also that year she was in the religious  "Song of Bernadette" co-starring Jennifer Jones and Charles Bickford, in 1946 the actress was in "Dress to Kill" co-starred Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as "Sherlock Holmes" and "Dr. Watson", in 1947 Patricia Morrison was "The Queen of the Amazons" and had half the title role in "Tarzan and the Huntress".

Cesar Romero and Patricia Morison in Romance of the Rio Grande (1940)

Above Patricia Morrison with Cesar Romero

Lynne Roberts was "Maria Cordova". Roberts dropped the "E" in her first name, or at times changed her name to "Mary Hart" for some  films. She was the heroine in the 1938 Chapter serial "The Lone Ranger", co-starred in 1938's "Dick Tracy Returns" and as "Mary Hart" co-starred in 1938's "Billy the Kid Returns" with Roy Rodgers. The first of several of her features with the "King of the Cowboys", before Dale Evans appeared.

Above Lynne Roberts. To her left is Chris-Pin Martin back as "Gordito".

Ricardo Cortez was "Ricardo de Vega". Cortez was born Jacob Krantz, but  took the Latin sounding name to get motion picture roles. in 1941 Humphrey Bogart was"Sam Spade" in John Huston's the "Maltese Falcon". What is forgotten was the excellent pre-Motion  Picture Code original from 1931 starring Cortez as "Sam Spade". In 1936 the actor was "Perry Mason" in "The Case of the Black Cat" and the same year was in the Boris Karloff picture "The Walking Dead".

Above left to right are Ricardo Cortez, Patricia Morrison and Cesar Romero

Pedro de Cordoba was "Don Fernando de Vega". Cordoba wasn't a Mexican actor like his fans thought. His mother was French and his father was Cuban. He started acting in the silents in 1915 and when sound  came in. He appeared in Cecil B. DeMille's 1935 "The Crusades", Errol Flynn's 1935 "Captain Blood", Todd Browning's 1936 "The Devil-Doll" and the Boris Karloff features 1939 "Devil's Island" and 1940's "Before I Hang".

Cesar Romero, Pedro de Cordoba, Ricardo Cortez, and Patricia Morison in Romance of the Rio Grande (1940)

Above left to right Lynne Roberts, Patricia  Morrison, Ricardo  Cortez and Pedro de Cordoba

The revised "Cisco  Kid" screenplay of "Romance of the Rio Grande". Begins as the "Cisco Kid" and "Gordito" come upon the body of "Carlos Hernandez", but discover the man is still alive. He has been shot  by gunmen sent by "Ricardo  de Vega". "Ricardo" wanted "Carlos" killed and removed as the favorite heir of "Don Fernando de Vega". "Cisco" and "Gorito" get "Carlos" medical  treatment and "Cisco", who is the double for "Carlos", goes to investigate the attempted murder.

When "Carlos-Cisco" arrives at the ranch the conspirators  "Carlos" and "Rosita" can't believe their eyes. "Cisco" makes romantic advances at both the cunning "Rosita" and "Maria Cordova". Who is the god daughter of "Don Fernando". At the climax "Rosita" and "Ricardo" get into a jealous range over what has happened, both have guns, and kill each other. The real "Carlos" is brought back to the ranch and he gets the girl and the inheritance.

Cesar Romero's next "Cisco Kid" motion picture was "Ride On Vaquero" released April 18, 1941.

The picture was once more directed by Herbert I. Leeds from a screenplay by Samuel G. Engel.

Back with Romero are Mary Beth Hughes as "Sally Slocum, Lynne Roberts as "Marquerita Martinez".and "Chris-Pin Martin" as "Gordito".


Robert Lowery was "Carlos Martinez". Lowery had been in several "Charlie Chan" and "Mr. Moto" mysteries and would be in several "B" horror  films. These include 1945's "The Monster and the Ape" and 1946's "House of Horrors". In 1949 he became the second actor to portray "Bruce Wayne" aka: "Batman" on screen in the Chapter serial "Batman and Robin". Lowery is remembered by my generation as "Big Jim Champion" on televisions "Circus Boy" featuring a young Mickey Dolenz. Along with two  other forgotten  television series "Cowboy G-Men" and "Pistols and Petticoats".
My article  "Batman Before Time Burton" can be found at:

The "Cisco Kid"  is captured while romancing a dance hall girl, but the Cavalry officer really wants him to help capture a kidnapping gang. According to "Marquerita Martinez" the gang has taken her husband "Carlos Martinez".  At the "Crystal Palace Saloon" "Cisco" runs into his old girlfriend"Sally  Slocum"  There he also runs afoul  of "Sheriff Johnny Burns", Arthur Hohl, who is actually part of the kidnapping gang. Eventually, "Cisco" captures the gang and frees "Carlos".

Today, these less than one hour "B" motion pictures seem so predictable, but during the "Great Depression" and the "Second World War". These same movies were also predictable escapism from reality. "Ride On Vacquero" was the last entry starring Cesar Romero, but the character just seemed to keep on going even if the face changed.


It would be four years before another "Cisco Kid" motion picture appeared. That didn't mean "Cisco" wasn't around. On October 2, 1942 radio audiences heard the first episode of "The Cisco Kid".
Jackson Beck voiced the familiar character.


One main change was "Cisco's" side kick "Gordito" was out and he was replaced by "Pancho" voiced by Louis Sorin.

The two would be replaced in 1947 by Jack  Mather, below left, as "Cisco" and Harry Lang, below right, as "Pancho". The two would be "Cisco" and "Pancho" through series end having performed 600 episodes. I could not locate the number of original radio episodes.

In 1944 "Baily Publishing" tried a "Cisco Kid Comic  Book", but sales were so bad there is only the  one issue.

The First Duncan Renaldo Motion Picture Series

This "Cisco Kid" returned to the motion picture screen in appropriately "The Cisco Kid Returns"
released February 16, 1945.

Cecilia Callejo, Martin Garralaga, and Duncan Renaldo in The Cisco Kid Returns (1945)

The first thing noticeable about this entry is that the "Cisco Kid" had moved from major studio 20th Century Fox to "Poverty Role Studio", located on Gower Street in Hollywood, Monogram Pictures. The quality of the previous films dropped as a result.

The director was John P. McCarthy. This was his final motion picture and including this entry all 39 were "B" Westerns. They had featured Tex Ritter, Bob  Steele, Johnny Mack Brown, Harry Carey, Sr., Tom Tyler and names long forgotten.

The screenplay was by Betty Burbridge. Her 130 films and television credits were all "B" Westerns. She wrote for stars such as Gene Autry, Sunset Carson, Johnny Mack Brown, Charles Starrett, Jimmy Wakely and others. So for a "B" Western, Duncan Renaldo  and Martin Garralaga were in good hands. Also in this screenplay we learn the "Cisco's" real name is not OHenry's "Goodall", but "Juan Francisco Hernandez".

Duncan Renaldo was the new "Cisco Kid" and would be the actor most associated with the role, but not until the age of television. Renaldo was not Mexican, or Hispanic. He had been born in Romania as Vasile Dumitru Cugheanos, but told interviewers many other stories about his birth. Among his early motion pictures were the original 1929 "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", 1931's "Trader Horn", the 1937' Chapter serial "Zorro Rides Again" not in the title role, the 1939 Chapter serial "The Lone Ranger Rides Again", not in the title role, many "B" Westerns and the Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman 1943 "For Whom the Bell Tolls". In 1933 Duncan Renaldo had been convicted of illegally entering the country, but was pardoned by FDR.

Martin Garralaga was "Pancho". Garralaga had appeared in 14 Mexican motion pictures, before having 7th billing in the George O'Brien American Western 1932's "The Gay Caballero". No story relation to Cesar Romero's picture of the same title.
For the next four years Martin Garralaga returned to the Mexican film industry and then appeared in the Wallace Beery and Barbara Stanwyck 1936 "A Message to Garcia" and remained in the American film industry. Only returning occasionally to Mexico to make a motion picture.


Cecelia Callejo was "Rosita Gonzales". Callejo was a Puerto Rican actress with only 15 movie credits. This was her 13th film.

Cecilia Callejo and Duncan Renaldo in The Cisco Kid Returns (1945)

Above Cecilia Callejo with Duncan Renaldo.

The bad guy "John Harris" was portrayed by Roger Pryor. He was being called by film critics as "The Poor Man's Clark  Gable". Pryor's "B" films included the 1934 Mae West feature "Belle of the Nineties", 1936's "The Return of Jimmy Valentine", Boris Karloff's 1940 "The Man With Nine Lives" and the same years Karloff feature "The Man They Could Not Hang".

Mad at the "Cisco Kid's" roving eye for other women. His sweetheart "Rosita" decides to get even and marry "John Harris". This is stopped when "Cisco" shows up with a baby he claims is his and "Rosita's". So far, so good, but when "Cisco" goes to return the borrowed baby. He finds the father murdered and a women claiming to be the baby's mother, but "Cisco" and "Pancho" are not sure she is what she claims to be.

In the end the mother turns out to be a fake hired by "Harris". Who is working with a crooked attorney attempting to get the now dead father's land. At the end of the film "Cisco" convinces "Rosita" to ride on with him to new adventures.

In Old New Mexico was released May 15, 1945

"Cisco": may have persuaded "Rosita: to ride off with him to new adventures, but "In Old New Mexicxo" she is nowhere to be seen.

Phil E. Rosen was the director. Between 1915 and 1951 he directed 143 motion pictures. The majority were "B" Detective thrillers and some are part of both the "Charlie Chan" and "The Shadow" series of films.

Betty Burbridge was back as screenplay writer and a slightly different real name for "Cisco". He was now "Juan Carlos Francisco Antonio Hernandez"

Duncan Renaldo was "Cisco" and "Martin Garralaga was back as "Pancho".

Gwen Kenyon was "Ellen Roth". Between 1937 and 1941 she appeared in 31 motion pictures without on screen credit. Which is significant as her total film work was only 56 motion pictures. She was in  Bela Lugois in 1942's "The Corpse Vanishes". "In Old New Mexico" was her last film.

Above Gwen Kenyon is being questioned by bandit "The Cisco Kid".

Norman Willis portrays "Will Hastingts". Willis is a familiar bad guy face in "B" Westerns and some "A" gangster films. His films include the Charles Starrett 1937 "Outlaws of the Prairie". John Garfield's 1939 "Blackwell's Island", the James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart 1939 "The Roaring Twenties", John Ford's 1940 "The Grapes of Wrath", Errol Flynn's 1940 "Virginia City". the same years George Raft and Humphrey Bogart "They Drive By Night" and 1941's "Belle Starr" starring Randolph Scott and Gene Tierney.

Norman Willis Picture

Aurora Roche was "Delores". She made only one other motion picture

Duncan Renaldo and Aurora Roche in The Cisco Kid in Old New Mexico (1945)

Above Duncan Renaldo and Aurora Roche. Below Gwen Kenyon, Renaldo and Roche,

Robbing a stagecoach "Cisco" and "Pancho" abduct ""Ellen Roth". "Roth" tells the two her story of being a nurse framed for the murder of her charge by the nephew "Will Hastings". The two decide to help her. There is the usual romance between "Cisco" and "Delores". In the end they clear "Ellen" and ride off into the sunset.

South of the Rio Grande released September 15, 1945

Not to be confused with the Buck Jones Western of the same title from 1932 with a different story line.

The entry was promoted as a musical. It evens opens with the "Cisco Kid" serenading a senorita. Most of the music was provided by "The Guadalajara Trio".

The director of this picture was Lambert Hillyer. Who has the distinction of directing the first appearance of "Batman" in the 15 Chapter serial of that name in 1943. He directed several Buck Jones " B" Westerns including 1932'a original "South of the Rio Grande". In 1936 Hillyer directed Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in "The Invisible Ray". Lambert Hillyer would also directed 40 episodes of the "Cisco Kid" television show.

The screenplay was by Victor Hammond and Ralph Bettinson. Hammond only had 9 screenplays to his credit and two were for the "Kitty O'Day" detective series. Bettison only had 19 screenplays to his credit, but they include the 1956 motion picture adaptation of George Orwell's "1984".
Duncan Renaldo and Martin Garralaga were back as "Cisco" and "Pancho". As to "Cisco's" real name it was back to "Juan Francisco Hernandez.

George L. Lewis was "Miguel Sanchez". Lewis was a Mexican born actor and appeared in many "B" Westerns and Chapter serials. He was in 1943's "Batman", 1944's "Captain America" 1946's "Tarzan and the Leopard Women", 1948's "The Adventures of Frank and Jesse James". in 1944 he had been in the serial "Zorro's Black Whip" and in 1949 it was the "Ghost of Zorro" starring future television "Lone Ranger" Clayton Moore in the title role. Including television George L. Lewis played over 306 different roles.


Above George L. Lewis with Duncan Renaldo

Lillian Molieri was "Dolores Gonzales". Molieri was a Nicaraguan actress who would have 35 roles to her name. This was her second feature and among her roles were 1956's "The Creature Walks Among Us" and playing "Ricky Ricardo's" old girlfriend on television's "I Love Lucy". Molieri would also appear in the "Cisco Kid" television series.

Above Lillian Molieri with George L. Lewis

Armida Vendrell  played "Pepita". Armida was a Mexican born actress and singer. She has 35 forgotten films to her credit, but most showed off her dancing and singing. In this film she sings in the Cantina sequences.

Armida Vendrell 1949.JPG

In a small Mexican town run by corrupt official "Miguel Sanchez. At the local Cantina "Sanchez's" girlfriend "Pepita" sings and dances. As with other films in the series "Miguel" owns a large ranch and is stealing cattle from smaller land owners and having those who fight back murdered. Enter "Cisco" and "Pancho" visiting the Cantina and listening to "Pepita". They realize that the new singer "Dolores" is in actuality a women abducted by "Miguel Sanchez" and the two assume other names to work for "Sanchez" and get the goods on him. In the end "Cisco" frees "Dolores", kills "Miguel" and ends his corruption.

The Gilbert Roland Motion Picture Series
"The Gay Cavalier" released March 30, 1946

The picture was directed by William Nigh. Nigh started directing in 1914 and ended his career in 1940 with 120 directed "B" motion pictures of all genres. One of those is a forgotten Boris Karloff low  "B" entitled "The Ape" from 1940, but Nigh also directed the excellent 1938 "Mr. Wong Detective" starring Karloff and several of the following series entries. In 1942 it was Lionel Atwill in "The Strange Case of Dr. Rx" and the same years "Black Dragons" starring Bela Lugosi.

The screenplay was by Charles Belden. Belden wrote the 1933 "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" that would be remade in 1953 as "House of Wax". He co-wrote 1936's "Dracula's Daughter" and wrote several of the "Charlie Chan" and "Mr. Moto" series.

Gilbert Roland was the new "Cisco Kid". Luis Antonio Damasco de Alonso was born in Mexico and would take on the screen name of Gilbert Roland. His first on screen role was an extra in Lon Chaney's 1923 "The Hunchback of Notre Damn", he was an extra in Willis O'Brien's classic 1925 "The Lost World". Among Roland's films were Mae West's 1933 "She Done Him Wrong", 1939's "Juarez" with Bette Davis and Paul Muni, 1940's "The Sea Hawk" with Errol Flynn, 1952's "The Bad and the Beautiful" starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner and 1956's "Bandido" with Robert Mitchum. This series of films added something to Roland's "Cisco Kid" and that was the sword fights as the actor was a skilled fencer.

Gilbert Roland in The Gay Cavalier (1946)
 Martin Garralaga is not "Pancho", but "Don Felipe Geralda".

Nacho Galindo played "Baby" the new sidekick for "Cisco".Mexican born Galindo became a recurring face on television dramas in the 1950's and 1960's in character roles especially as the bar tender.

Above Gilbert Roland, Nacho Galindo with Gil Frye. Frye's work was mostly without on screen credit and were either Westerns, or Detective thrillers.

Ramsey Ames portrayed "Pepita Geralda". New York born "B" actress Ames is probably best known for playing "Amina Masori". Who is really the reincarnated "Princess Ananaka" in Lon Chaney's 1944 "The Mummy's Ghost" with Robert Lowery. She was also with Chaney in 1943's "Calling Dr. Death".

Helen Gerald was "Angela Geralda". Gerald only had 17 roles and one was providing voices on the 1969 "Pink Panther" animated series.

Tristram Coffin is "Lawton".  Coffin was a strong leading man and has the distinction of being the first person to wear Republic Pictures's "Rocket Suit" in the 1949 "King of the Rocket Men". He was the district attorney in the cult favorite 1955's "Creature  with the Atom Brain". On television he was seen on "The Cisco Kid", "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok", "The Lone Ranger", "The Adventures of Superman" and "77 Sunset Strip" among others.

Above Helen Gerald, Tristram Coffin and Gil Frye

Several Outlaws rob a stagecoach of gold that was going to help a local mission. The "Cisco Kid" is on the trail of the robbers leading to a small town. There "Angela Geralda" forced to marry a wealthy suitor named "Lawton" to save the family Hacienda. "Cisco" discovers that "Lawton" is  a fraud and also the man behind the stagecoach robbery.


South of Monterey released June 15, 1946

William Nigh was back as director and the screenplay was also by Charles Belden.

Gilbert Roland is back as "Cisco", but as in the previous picture Martin Garralaga is not "Pancho", but "Commandente Aurturo Morales".

Frank Yaconelli plays "Baby" in this film. In 1940 Yaconelli was in the classic and overlooked Science Fiction film "Dr. Cyclops". Over his 138 motion picture and television roles. Frank Vaconelli has appeared with the Marx Brothers and in his many "B" Westerns with Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Lupez Velez, Tim Holt and Leo Carrillo.  Yaconelli was in 1940's "The Mark of Zorro" starring Tyrone Power and 1951's "A Place in the Sun" starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.

Gilbert Roland and Frank Yaconelli in South of Monterey (1946)

Above Frank Yaconelli and Gilbert Roland.

Majorie Riordan was "Maria Morales". Riordan in the early 1950's would quit acting and return to  college to get a Master's degree in speech pathology. However, her 10 appearances included roles in 1944's "Mr. Skeffington" starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains and 1945's "Pursuit to Algiers" starring Basil Rathbone as "Sherlock  Holmes" and  Nigel Bruce as "Dr. Watson".

Above Majorie Riordan and Gilbert Roland.

Harry Woods was "Bennett". Woods was in the 1928 "The Viking" as one of the competing Viking Leaders for the love of a women. Among his  255 roles were many "B" Westerns usually as one of the bad guys, but he also appeared in the Marx Brothers 1931 "Monkey Business" and 1947's "Road to Rio" starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

Gilbert Roland and Harry Woods in South of Monterey (1946)

Above Gilbert Roland and Harry Woods.

The "Cisco Kid" finds out about a land grabbing scheme by the "Commandante" and his partner and tax collector "Bennett". He goes to the rescue and romances a beautiful senorita. Typical "B" fare, but with more gun play than the other "Cisco Kid" motion pictures.

Gilbert Roland in South of Monterey (1946)

Gilbert Roland in South of Monterey (1946)

Beauty and the Bandit released November 9, 1946

As before with the Gilbert Roland entries the picture was directed by William Nigh and written by Charles Belden.

Gilbert Roland was once more the "Cisco  Kid". Ramsay Ames was the beauty "Jeanne du Bois".Martin Garralaga was "Dr. Juan Valegra" and Frank Yaconelli was "Baby".

Ramsay Ames and Gilbert Roland in Beauty and the Bandit (1946)

Above and below Ramsay Ames and Gilbert Roland.

Ramsay Ames and Gilbert Roland in Beauty and the Bandit (1946)

In Old California a young Frenchman is transporting a chest full of silver by stagecoach to complete a business deal with "Dr. Juan Valegra". The bandido the "Cisco Kid" and his gang stop the stagecoach and demand the silver. It has been extorted from the poor of the region and the "Cisco Kid" wants to return it to them.

A battle of wills over the  silver starts between "Cisco" and the Frenchman. Who turns out to be a young  women named  "Jeanne du Bois". She decides to follow him to his  hideout to get the silver back, but the two start to fall in love. "Cisco" offers to give her back the silver and "Jeanne" finds herself torn between her mission and her love for "Cisco".

Of course it turns out that it's "Dr. Velagra" who has been stealing the silver and other things from the poor.

Ramsay Ames and Gilbert Roland in Beauty and the Bandit (1946)

Riding the California Trail released January 11, 1947

William Nigh continued directing for Monogram Pictures, but the story and screenplay was now by Clarence Upson Young. Between 1936 and 1967 Young only wrote 24 screenplays, but some were noteworthy. 1940's "The Devil's Pipeline" was part of a series co-starring Richard Arlen and Andy Devine, 1942's "North to the Klondike" was a "B" picture with three above average leads. They were Broderick Crawford, Evelyn Ankers and again Andy Devine. That same year Young wrote two above average "B" Horror films. They were Lionel Atwill's "The Strange Case of Dr. Rx" and "The Night Monster" co-starring Atwill and Bela Lugosi. The year of this feature Clarence Upton Young wrote the Randolph Scott Western "Albuquerque".

Gilbert Roland was back as the "Cisco Kid". Martin Garralaga was now "Don Jose Ramirez" and Frank Yaconelli was still "Cisco's" sidekick "Baby".

Teala Loring is "Raquel". Loring was born Marcia  Eloise Griffin. She had two sisters one went by the acting name of Lisa Gaye and was a regular on 1950's and 1960's television. On Walt Disney's "Zorro", in multiple roles on shows such as "Sea Hunt", "How to Marry A Millionaire" "Hawaiian Eye", "Perry Mason", "Burke's Law" and "77 Sunset Strip" among many others. However, it was Loring's third sister that became well known as Debra Paget. Paget's motion pictures include 1950's "Broken Arrow" starring James Stewart and Jeff Chandler, the 1952 "Les Miserables", Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 "The Ten Commandments" and as the girl who married Elvis in 1956's "Love Me Tender".

While Teala Loring made "B" films in small non screen credited roles. She was a hit and run victim in Bob Hope's 1942 "My Favorite Blonde", a cigarette girl in the Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire 1942 "Holiday Inn" and a telephone operator in the Fred MacMurry and Barbara Standwyck 1944 "Double Indemnity". Not to say she didn't get leading roles, but those films were 1944's "Return of the Ape Man" co-starring Bela Lugosi, John Carradine and George Zucco and the same years "Bluebeard" starring Carradine.

That;s Tela Loring with Gilbert Roland above on this poster.

Inez Cooper was "Dolores Ramirez". Atlanta, Georgia, born Cooper appeared in 22 motion pictures. 10 of those 22 are without on screen credit. Several were patriotic films such as 1942's "Wings Over the Pacific" with first billing and stopping a Nazi plot. Another was"Stand By For Action" with Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy and Charles Laughton. Inez Cooper had 17th billing in that "A" picture.

Inez Cooper in Riding the California Trail (1947)

Ted Hecht is "Don Raul Pedro Reyes". In 1942 he portrayed Japanese "Lieutenant Shimoto" in the WW2 drama "Lady from Chungking". The following year Ted Hecht was an American platoon  leader trapped on "Corregidor". He was also a Filipino doctor in 1943's So Proudly We Hail" starring Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard and Veronica Lake/ In 1947 Hecht was "Prince Ozira" in "Tarzan and the Huntress" and later on television Hecht was in episodes of "Terry and the Pirates", "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger", "The Adventures of Superman" and "Gang Busters".
Martin Garralaga, Ted Hecht, and Gilbert Roland in Riding the California Trail (1947)

 Above left to right Gilbert Roland, Ted Hecht and Martin Garralaga.

"Cisco: first meets "Raquel" and then "Dolores".. He discovers that "Raquel" is unaware that "Raul", while being the boyfriend, is actually engaged to "Dolores" the daughter of "Don Jose Ramirez". "Raquel" is to inherited a large sum of money and land and "Cisco" realizes there's a conspiracy to get it from "Raquel" and kill the girl.

 Ted Hecht and Gilbert Roland in Riding the California Trail (1947)

Robin Hood of Monterrey released December 6, 1947

Evelyn Brent, Jack La Rue, Chris-Pin Martin, and Gilbert Roland in Robin Hood of Monterey (1947)

This picture has some changes to Monogram's formula, because the co-writer was Gilbert Roland. The main writer was Bennett Cohen. Between 1915 and 1953 Cohen would have 191 screenwriting credits to his name. In the 1930's he wrote "B" Westerns for very forgotten Cowboy stars such as Rex Lease, Fred Humes, Hal Taliaferro and Fred Scott. He even wrote screenplays for the Western team of "Starlight the Horse" and "Rex the Dog". He also wrote 1933's "The Three Musketeers" set in the French Foreign Legion and with 4th billed John Wayne, 1935's "The New Adventures of Tarzan" starring Bruce Bennett and 1942's "B" Western "Red River Robin Hood" with Tim Holt. The same year Holt was 4th billed in Orson Wells' "The Magnificent Ambersons" and six years before he was in John Huston's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre".
The pictures new director was Christy Cabanne. Cabanne would have 166 directing credits to his name between 1912 and 1948. Of interest to Western film buffs is Cabanne's 1915 "The Outlaw's Revenge", because the title character was portrayed by Raul Walsh. Christy Cabanne directed1939's "The Roaring Twenties" starring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, 1941's "They Died With Their Boots On" starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland and Gregory Peck in 1951's "Captain Horatio Hornblower".
Below, Riding beside Gilbert Roland's "Cisco Kid" was Chris-Pin Martin back as "Pancho".

Chris-Pin Martin and Gilbert Roland in Robin Hood of Monterey (1947)

Evelyn Brent was "Maria Belmonte Sabchez". Brent would have 126 film credits between 1915 and 1960. She had been a leading lady during the 1920's and 1930's in "A" productions.

Jack La Rue was "Don Ricardo Gonzales". La Rue was originally brought to Hollywood from Broadway to play a gangster in Howard Hawks' original 1932 "Scarface", but lost the role to George Raft. Next La Rue was to play gangster "Duke Mantee" in the film version of "Petrified Forest", but was replaced by the actor who played the role on Broadway, Humphrey Bogart. La Rue still got roles as what was always described as a "Sexy Gangster". However, New York City born, Jack La Rue was portraying the Hispanic heavy in "Robin Hood of Monterey".

Pedro de Cordoba was "Don Carlos Belmonte".

Thornton Edwards was "El Captain". Maine born Edwards was seen in "B" Westerns primarily playing Hispanic roles.. He had the non screen credited role of "Walter" in 1939's "The Return of the Cisco Kid", another non screen credited role as a "Ranch Foreman" in 1940's "Lucky Cisco Kid" and in 1945's "The Cisco Kid Returns" Edwards was again "Walter" without on screen credit

Pedro de Cordoba, Thornton Edwards, George Navarro, and Gilbert Roland in Robin Hood of Monterey (1947)

Above left to right Gilbert Roland, Pedro de Cordoba, Thornton Edwards and a non on screen credited George Navarro.

Donna Martell was "Lolita". Martell was seen in 1949's "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff" and 1953's "Project Moonbase". She was in several episodes of  television's "Gene Autry Show", "The Range Rider"  and "The Adventures of Kit Carson".
Donna Martell and Gilbert Roland in Robin Hood of Monterey (1947)

Above Martell and Roland.

Travis Kent was "Eduardo Belmonte". This is Kent's only known motion picture  role.

Travis Kent, Chris-Pin Martin, and Gilbert Roland in Robin Hood of Monterey (1947)

Above Roland, Kent and Martin.

Nestor Paiva was the "Alcade". Character actor Paiva was known to 1950's Science Fiction buffs for portraying the "Skipper of the Rita" in both 1954's "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and  1955's "Revenge of the Creature". He was also seen in 1955's "Tarantula" and 1956's "The Mole People".

"Eduardo Belmonte" over hears his step-mother "Maria" plotting with her lover"Don Ricardo" to take over the "Belmonte Rancho". "Eduardo" offers "Maria" money to leave, but she refuses and "Eduardo's" father is told his son attempted to make love to his stepmother. The lights go out and the "Don" is murdered and "Maria" quickly blames "Eduardo". It is up to a local "Robin Hood" like bandit to bring justice for "Eduardo" and stop "Maria" and "Ricardo". Of course nobody seems to realize  that the "Cisco Kid" and the bandit are one and the same.

King of the Bandits released November 8, 1947

Gilbert Roland's last "Cisco Kid" feature was directed by by Christy Cabanne and written by Cabanne, Bennet Cohen and Gilbert Roland.

Roland was back as the "Cisco Kid" with Chris-Pin Martin as "Pancho"

Angela Greene was "Alice Mason". Greene had been in several features without on screen credit and "King of the Bandits" is the one motion  picture she is known for. Afterwards Angela Greene appeared on many television shows such as playing "Tess Trueheart" in 1950's "Dick Tracy". She appeared in single episodes of "Racket Squad", "Sky King", "Topper" and both detective shows "The Adventures of the Falcon" and "The Whistler". Angela Greene was also in the very low budget Science Fiction 1958's "Night of the Blood Beast", In the 1960's she was in Elvis' 1965 "Tickle Me", seen on television's "Batman" and "Adam 12" and ended her career in the 1976 movie "Futureworld".
Angela Greene and Gilbert Roland in King of the Bandits (1947)

Above Angela  Greene and Gilbert Roland

Anthony Warde was "Smoke Kirby". Wade was "King Turan of the Forest People" in 1938's "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars" starring Larry "Buster" Crabbe.and showed his true villainous self as "Killer Kane" in the 1939 Chapter serial "Buck Rodgers" also with "Buster" Crabbe. Anthony Wade was seen in many films in many genres such as "Marat" in 1938's "Marie Antoinette", 1940's "The Sea Hawk", 1941's "Dick Tracy vs Crime Inc", the 1943 Chapter serial "Batman" and was a detective in 1944's "The Mummy's Ghost".

 Angela Greene, Gilbert Roland, and Anthony Warde in King of the Bandits (1947)

Above Anthony Warde, Angela Greene and Gilbert Roland

The plot is familiar as somebody is  robbing stagecoaches and blaming it on the "Cisco  Kid". After the real "Cisco Kid" tracks down some of the stolen loot he is captured and placed in a Cavalry guard house, but is broken out by a friend. "Cisco" then sets out to find whose behind the thefts and clear himself.

The Second Duncan Renaldo Motion Picture Series

The Valiant Hombre released December 15, 1948

Monogram Pictures was out and Inter-American Productions was in and the stories extremely simple and predictable.

Leo Carrillo, Terry Frost, and Duncan Renaldo in The Valiant Hombre (1948)

Duncan Renaldo returned to the role of the "Cisco Kid" in "The Valiant Hombre".
The feature was directed by forgotten Wallace Fox, but among his work for Monogram you find 1942's "The Bowery At Midnight" starring Bela Lugosi and John Archer (1950's "Destination Moon"),  1942's "The Corpse Vanishes" with Lugosi, several entries of "The East Side Kids" who were originally "The Dead End Kids" and would end as "The Bowery Boys". Fox's"B" Westerns starred Johnny Mack Brown, Rod Cameron and Kirby Grant before he became televisions "Sky King". Wallace Fox also directed some television Western episodes on "The Range Rider" that starred Jock Mahoney, "The Gene Autry Show" and "Annie Oakley" that starred Gail Davis.

The screenplay was by Adele Buffington. Her 102 screen credits included silent Westerns starring Buck Jones and forgotten Bill Cody., no relation to "Buffalo Bill", but his real name. When sound came in she wrote"B" Westerns for Tom Tyler, Hoot Gibson, and "King Kong's" Robert Armstrong.

Leo Carrillo now  portrayed "Pancho". Los Angeles born Carrillo would become the definitive "Pancho" on the 1950's television series alongside Renaldo, but that story is a little later. His film  work started in 1927, but in 1931 the Castilian Spanish actor played an Italian Godfather in "The Guilty Generation" and made a name for himself. That same year he starred with Johnny Mack Brown in "Lasca of the Rio Grande" as an obsessive Mexican rancher. Look at Carrillo's roles and you will be surprised how many times he plays Italians and not Hispanics. He was "Christine's" Italian opera coach in 1943's "The Phantom of the Opera". Leo Carrillo played a few Frenchmen and French Canadians also. He owned a beautiful Pacific Ocean side estate off what became Sunset Boulevard that had a Polo Field. On weekends the field was full of the Hollywood Elite playing, or watching. Part of his property was beachfront and you can go and swim at "Leo Carrillo Beach" still today.


John Litel played "Lon Lansdell". Litel's roles went from historical figures, to good guys and bad guys. He was a supporting actor in both "A" and "B" pictures in 216 different roles. Examples of his work include the "A" movies 1937's "The Life of Emile Zola", 1938's "Jezebel" and 1941's "They Died With Their Boots On". While he also portrayed "Carson Drew" the father of teenage detective "Nancy Drew" in the entire original movie series and was the doctor that knew Humphrey Bogart's secret in 1939's "The Return of Dr. X".

Leo Carrillo, John Litel, Duncan Renaldo, and Daisy in The Valiant Hombre (1948)

Above John Litel, look familiar(?), Leo Carrillo and Duncan Renaldo. The dog is "Daisy" being portrayed by Daisy". Talk type casting.

Barbara Billingsley was "Linda Mason". From 1957 through 1963 she was "Mrs. June Cleaver" on televisions "Leave It To Beaver".

Above in front John Litel, Barbara Billingsley and John James as "Paul Mason".

"Cisco" and "Pancho" find "Daisy" grieving at the death of her master. This will lead to a plot by "Lon Lansdell", the owner of a gambling saloon, to get "Paul Mason's" gold mine and "Linda Mason" believing "kind" "Mr. Lansdell's" story over the known bandit the "Cisco Kid".

The Gay Amigo released May 13, 1949

Wallace Fox directed this entry , but it was written by Doris Schroeder/ Schroeder started writing in 1915, but there's a 7 year gap between 1927 and 1934 in which she did not do motion picture work. During the 1920's her work was mainly for women directors and stories for female audiences. Starting in 1934 Doris Schroeder wrote mainly "B" Westerns and many for the William Boyd's "Hopalong Cassidy" series.

Renaldo and Carrillo are back as "Cisco" and "Pancho". Also returning was actress Armida as "Rosita".

Armida, Leo Carrillo, and Duncan Renaldo in The Gay Amigo (1949)

"Cisco" and "Pancho" find a dead Mexican bandit, but are arrested as criminals/ As the dead man is one of a group of outlaws entering Arizona and raiding and then crossing back into Mexico. The authorities believe "Cisco" and  "Pancho" are the gang's leaders. However, examining the body "Cisco" realizes the bandit is really Anglo posing as Mexican and the gang must hideout in Mexico, to keep their ruse in place, and then cross back into Arizona/

"Cisco" and "Pancho" straighten their situation out with the Arizona authorities and go in search of the real bandits.

The Daring Caballero released June 14, 1949

Once again William Fox directed the picture. Although Betty Burbridge wrote the screenplay. The original story was by Frances Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh's 35 films were either "B" Westerns, or Adventures stories. The Cowboy actors were even more obscure than most " B" stars.. Most of Francis Kavanaugh's films were for either Tom Keene and 1930's Country Western singer turned actor Eddie Dean. However, there were one, or two others like Bob Steele and Robert Lowery.

Leo Carrillo, Duncan Renaldo, and Kippee Valez in The Daring Caballero (1949)

Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo were back as "Cisco" and "Pancho".

Kippe Valez played the originally named "Kippe Valez". Racine, Wisconsin born Valez was in a total of 8 motion pictures and is known mainly for the Mickey Rooney race car drama 1949's "The Big Wheel".
Duncan Renaldo and Kippee Valez in The Daring Caballero (1949)

Above Kippee Valez and Duncan Renaldo.

Pedro de Cordoba was "Padre Leonardo".

Charles Halton is "Ed J. Hodges". In 1940 Halton was in two classic motion pictures. The first was the Science Fiction feature "Dr. Cyclops" and the other Alfred Hitchcock's "Foreign Correspondent". He played the producer for the acting troop in 1942's "To Be or Not to Be" starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard.

Stephen Chase is "Mayor Bruce Brady". Chase's early roles were mostly without on screen  credit, but in 1951 he was "Dr. George Frye" in George Pal's "When Worlds Collide" and in 1958 "Dr T. Hallen" in the classic Teen Science Fiction "The Blob" that starred "Stephen" McQueen. Between those films Chase was seen on many 1950's television series including "The Cisco Kid", "The Roy Rodgers Show", "Sky King" and "The Adventures of Kit Carson".

Above Chase as "Mayor Brady" is aware that "Cisco" knows his true criminal identity.

"Cisco" and "Pancho" arrive in the small town of Del Rio, Texas. There the Padre tells them that the young boy, "Bobby", Mickey Little, they just met. Has a father that is to be hung for a murder he didn't commit. "Cisco" figures out it is the Mayor, but how to prove it is the question as time is running out.

Satan's Cradle released October 7, 1949

The movie is directed by Ford Beebee who was also a screenplay writer for 127 motion pictures. As a director besides this motion picture. Beebee directed the 1932 version of "The Last of the Mohicans" starring Harry Carey, Sr,. Along with the first three "Flash Gordon" serials, the Bela Lugosi 1939 serial "The Phantom Creeps", 1944's "The Invisible Man's Revenge" and several of the "Bomba the Jungle Boy" motion pictures.

The screenplay was by J. Benton Cheney. Cheney had written "B" Cowboy films for Charles Starrlett, singer/actor Jimmy Wakley, Ken Curtis of the "Sons of the Pioneers" and "Festus" on televisions "Gunsmoke", William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd and Johnny Mack Brown.

The feature was released by United Artists.

Duncan Renaldo was "Cisco" and Leo Carrillo his sidekick "Pancho".

Ann Savage was "Lil". Savage was a major"B" actress and was seen in several "B" Film  Noir's. Savage co-starred with Tom Neal is the classic Film Noir 1945's "Detour". Co-starred with actor Richard Conte in the detective thriller from 1945 "The Spider". She also starred in the classic "B" Film Nor Western "Renegade Girl" from 1946.

Above Ann Savage and Duncan Renaldo

Douglas Fawley was "Steve Gentry". Fawley played every conceivable role for 337 motion pictures. A small sample are 1934's "The Thin Man" starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, 1938's "Alexander's Ragtime Band" starring Tyrone  Power and Alice Faye, 1939's "Dodge City" starring Errol Flynn, 1947's "Scared to Death" starring Bela Lugosi and George Zucco, 1949's "Battleground" starring Van Johnson, 1952's "Singing the Rain" starring Gene Kelley, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor, the cult 3-D Science Fiction 1953's "Cat-Women of the Moon" the very cheap Horror movie 1960's "Macumba Love" and Charles Bronson's 1976 "From Three to Noon".

above left to right Ann Savage, Leo  Carrillo, Duncan  Reynaldo and Douglas Fawley.

Town Boss "Steve Gentry" murders the town founder , takes over his businesses and a gold mine by using a women posing as the founder's widow. Enter "Cisco" and "Pancho" to take him down and set things right.

The Girl From San Lorenzo released February 24, 1950

The last of Duncan  Renaldo and Leo Carrillo's feature films was directed by Derwin Abrahams. Some of Abrahams "B" Western work included films by William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd, Charles Starrett, Johnny Mack Brown and a few that we know the titles, but not who was in them. Among Derwin Abrahams television  work were "The Cisco Kid", "Hopalong Cassidy" and the "Judge Roy Bean" series.

Jane Adams was "Nora Malloy". Some of Jane Adams' work included being the first actress to play "Vicki Vale" in the 1949 Chapter serial "Batman and Robin", before that she was in the "B" Thriller 1946's "The Brute Man" starring Rondo "The Creeper" Hatton and Tom Neal. Adams also appeared on the "Cisco Kid" television series along with "The Adventures of Kit Carson" and "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok".
The plot is now extremely familiar as "Cisco" and "Pancho" have to stop a group of stagecoach robbers impersonating themselves.

The Cisco Kid Television Series

Seven months after "The Girl From San Lorenzo" was released. The first episode of what would be 157 appeared on television. The date was September 5, 1950. The show was produced by "ZIV Television Programs Incorporated" and in the age of Black and White was shot in Color, but shown on our 17 and 20 inch Black and White Television Sets. Each episode ran 30 minutes.

This was how I first met "The Cisco Kid" played by Duncan Renaldo and "Pancho" played by Leo Carrillo. The series would be directed by 10 different men. As to writers that total was 47.

As to actors appearing with Renaldo and Carrillo there were 356. As to how many times a single actor appeared other than the two stars. That most went to Troy Melton and Bill Catching. Both with 26 appearances and both portraying a "Henchman", no name given, to whomever played the main bad guy.

Unlike that first comic book attempt/ Dell Publishing released a profitable series. As the power of television became apparent with its youthful audience

After 6 Seasons the last episode of the television series appeared on March 22, 1956 and still hadn't been seen in Color. The first commercial television series broadcast in color was yet another Western "Bonanza" on September 12, 1959.

After 38 years without a new adventure of the "Cisco Kid". On February 6, 1994 a made for television picture "The Cisco Kid" was shown on "Turner Network Television (TNT)".

Above Cheech Marin as "Pancho" and Jimmy Smits as "Cisco".

The feature was directed and co-written by Luis Valdez. Valdez directed 8 features before this movie and two of them stand out. They are 1981's "Zoot Suit" a version of Luis  Valdez's critically admired play and 1987's "La Bamba" about  singer Ritchie Valens.

The other writer was Michael Kane. Not the actor of that same spelling and not to be confused with Michael Caine. I could not locate anything about him other than the reference to this film's screenplay.

The characters of "Cisco" and "Pancho" are changed from what might be described as wandering heroes mistaken for bandits, which they originally are in the films and not the television series, to anti-French Mexican revolutionaries.

"Cisco" and "Pancho" are about to be executed by the French in Southern Mexico under Maximilian. When they are rescued by Mexican revolutionaries as an unplanned part of an attack on the French garrison. Once free "Pancho" and "Cisco" rob the French Tax collector and return the money to the people.

"Pancho" takes "Cisco" to his village. In "Pancho's" village is a church with a statue of the young Jesus. The French Commandant "General Martin Dupre", played by Bruce Payne, wants it. His enforcer is "Lieutenant Colonel Delacroix, Ron  Pearlman.


"Cisco" and "Pancho" get the peasants to throw out the setters from the "Second French Empire" and with some sword play defeat both "Dupre" and "Delacroix".

The basic story can be found in many Hollywood films without the characters of "Cisco" and "Pancho". Examples include the 1939 Paul Muni and Bette Davis "Juraez", or the Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster 1954 "Vera Cruz" with Cesar Romero as French officer the "Marquis Henri de Labordere". Not to forget Sam Peckinpah's 1965 "Major Dundee" co-starring Charlton Heston and Richard Harris set during the American Civil War.

There are some comedy elements and reviewers thought the Mexican  peasants were treated better than in most Hollywood motion pictures and that owes to Luis Valdez. Overall the film just disappeared except on DVD. As the other films and the television series can still be found.

Will "Cisco" and "Pancho" return? I don't know! When the 1994 feature came out. There appeared not to be that big an interest even within the Hispanic community. However, four years later when Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins appeared in "The Mask of Zorro". The films box office receipts lead to 2005's "The Legend of  Zorro". Perhaps "Cisco" and "Pancho" are just a forgotten twosome from my generation.

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