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Updated: October 31, 2023

"Out of the night, when the full moon is bright, comes a horseman known as Zorro. This bold renegade carves a Z with his blade, a Z that stands for Zorro. Zorro, the fox so cunning and free. Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z."

Zorro... Zorro... Zorro...

These lyrics were ingrained in the memories of a generation of baby boomers who regularly watched the Disney television series. Airing in 1957, the lyrics and imagery of Zorro rearing on his horse, Tornado, against a lightning sky echoing the word Zorro, created a powerful impression on the viewing audience.

Previous generations had thrilled to the remarkable feats of Zorro: the silent film fans of Fairbanks 1920 The Mark of Zorro; the followers of the Republic cliffhangers of the 1930's, and the devotees to the subtle satire of the 1940 Tyrone Power Zorro. It was the success, however, of the Disney series that spawned a remarkable merchandising campaign.

Character licensing was a burgeoning field in the late 1950's and the popularity of Zorro translated into a mania that took the country by storm. Products produced during the Disney era and subsequently have become prized collector's items. Chalked tipped swords, costumes, wallets, lunch boxes, and play sets were among the hundreds of products created by Disney licensees.

A rebirth of Zorro as a classic property occurred in the early 1980's, driven by a re-airing of the Disney series in France and the release of Mel Simon's 1980 spoof starring George Hamilton in Zorro, the Gay Blade. Seven television series have been produced since, as well as over 1000 worldwide licenses. The immensely popular 1998 film, The Mask of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, sparked a new round of international licensed Zorro products. The release of the sequel, The Legend of Zorro ( 2005 ), brought yet another wave of officially licensed products for the Zorro fan to collect and enjoy.

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