Cisco in the morning

Yesterday’s morning name: the Cisco Kid, heroic Mexican of American movies, radio, television, and comic books. A feature of my childhood.

From Wikipedia:

The Cisco Kid is a fictional character found in numerous film, radio, television and comic book series based on the fictional Western character created by O. Henry in his 1907 short story “The Caballero’s Way”, published in the collection Heart of the West, as well as in Everybody’s Magazine, v17, July 1907. In movies and television, the Kid was depicted as a heroic Mexican caballero, even though he was originally a cruel outlaw.

In O. Henry’s original story, the character is a 25-year-old desperado in the Texas-Mexico border country who bears little resemblance to later interpretations of the character. He kills for sport and is responsible for at least eighteen deaths. His real name is possibly Goodall (“This hombre they call the Kid — Goodall is his name, ain’t it?”); no first name is given in the story.

… Numerous movies featured the character, beginning in the silent film era with The Caballero’s Way (1914).

… The movie series began with The Return of the Cisco Kid (1939), featuring Baxter in the title role with Cesar Romero as his sidekick, Lopez, Chris-Pin Martin as the other sidekick, Gordito (“Fatty”), Lynn Bari as his mistaken love interest, Ann Carver, Henry Hull as her wayward grandfather, and Ward Bond in the lowest-billed role as “Tough”, whose one scene shows him beaten into unconsciousness by the unscrupulous Sheriff McNally (Robert Barrat).

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Romero took over the lead role of Cisco and Martin continued to play Gordito in six further films before the series was suspended with America’s entry into World War II in 1941. Duncan Renaldo took over the reins as the Kid when Monogram Pictures revived the series in 1945 with The Cisco Kid Returns, which also introduced the Kid’s best-known sidekick, Pancho, played by Martin Garralaga. Pancho also became established as his sidekick in other media. Neither Gordito nor Pancho is in the original story. After three Renaldo/Cisco films, Gilbert Roland played the character in a half-dozen 1946-1947 movies beginning with The Gay Cavalier (1946). Renaldo then returned to the role with Leo Carrillo as Pancho. They made five films, with Renaldo assuming the flowery “Cisco” outfit in the final film. He would wear that throughout the TV series that followed.

[radio:] The Cisco Kid came to radio October 2, 1942, with Jackson Beck in the title role and Louis Sorin as Pancho. With Vicki Vola and Bryna Raeburn in supporting roles and Michael Rye announcing, this weekly series continued on Mutual until February 14, 1945. It was followed by a thrice weekly series on a Mutual-Don Lee regional network in 1946, starring Jack Mather and Harry Lang, who continued to head the cast in the syndicated radio series of more than 600 episodes from 1947 to 1956.

The radio episodes ended with one or the other of them making a corny joke about the adventure they had just completed. They would laugh, saying, “‘oh, Pancho!” “‘oh, Cisco!”, before galloping off, while laughing.

By this point, the heroic movie-star Mexican had gotten mixed with comic Mexican stereotypes (and heavy Mexican accents for Pancho and some other characters).

[television:] Renaldo returned to the role for the popular 156-episode Ziv Television series The Cisco Kid (1950–1956), notable as the first TV series filmed in color.

For the 1950s TV series, the Cisco Kid’s sidekick Pancho was portrayed by Leo Carrillo, riding a Palomino named Loco.

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After a long absence, the character galloped back onto TV screens in the 1994 made-for-TV movie The Cisco Kid, starring Jimmy Smits with Cheech Marin as Pancho.

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[comics:] – Cisco Kid Comics, a one-shot comic book by Baily Publishing, appeared on newsstands in 1944.

– Dell Comics published 41 issues of The Cisco Kid from 1950 to 1958.

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– Jose Luis Salinas and Rod Reed drew the Cisco Kid comic strip, syndicated from 1951 to 1967.

– Moonstone Books has, as of 2009, published six graphic novels about the Kid.

[on the names:] “Cisco” and “Pancho” are both nicknames given to men whose Spanish name is Francisco, which in English is “Francis.” or Frank.

It is probable, but not clear, that Pancho or Cisco were originally named after the famous Mexican revolutionary general whose nom de guerre was Francisco “Pancho” Villa.

2 Responses to “Cisco in the morning”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Someone is bound to ask…

    Assuming that the Cisco of The Cisco Kid is in fact a version of the man’s name Francisco, there is a connection to the giant San Jose networking company Cisco Systems, which was founded in San Francisco and was named by clipping the name of that city.

  2. The Holts… Chapter 22 – A Big Beer… Says:

    […] Cisco in the morning […]

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