Featured Attractions

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Horseman Known as Zorro

After the success of Davy Crockett, the world was wondering what Walt Disney would do for an encore. ABC wanted westerns, but Mr. Disney was never someone who would just do what everyone else was doing. He would always put his spin on anything he did. So instead of doing a traditional western, he chose to make Zorro, the masked avenger who fought against the Spanish government in pre-revolution California on behalf of the Californios and the native population.

Zorro was a huge success, inspiring the traditional merchandise like books:

Lunch kits:


And costumes:

Zorro even appeared in live performances at DISNEYLAND:

And he was visited by other Disney celebrities:

Unfortunately, Zorro couldn't conquer his biggest foe- Hollywood lawyers. In the late 1950's, ABC was dragging its feet in upgrading its technology and paying Walt Disney Productions. The network was also obstructing various projects at DISNEYLAND. Roy Disney decided to buy out their shares in DISNEYLAND and Walt took his weekly show to NBC. ABC, which saw the writing on the wall, decided to claim ownership of Zorro to prevent the show from jumping ship too. Walt chose to fight back; after all, ABC was never promised a piece of Zorro and never fully paid the studio its licensing fees. Tied up in court, the show left the airwaves. By the time the case was decided in favor of Walt Disney Productions, the show had been off the air for so long, it was felt that it would no longer be viable to bring it back on NBC. Zorro had been vanquished.