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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Zorro was a great legendary outlaw in California. He fought against evil and tyranny. He was a man among men. He was el Zorro, the fox....

On the Disney Channel, the man in black appears on my TV every night at midnight. That might seem late -- and it is -- but I am very lucky for one specific reason. Our family’s satellite has two Disney channels, Disney west and Disney east. That means I can watch the Disney east channel at the same time as people on the east coast. So instead of watching Zorro at 12:00, I can watch it at 9:00 here on the west coast. I have watched every episode at least twice in color and in black and white. I love that show.

The main character in the show is Don Diego. Don Diego has two identities. The first is the educated scholar who doesn't care about anything but his books, and his second and more mysterious heroic side, is el Zorro the fox.

Zorro rides at night to protect the innocent and battle with the bad guys’ each episode has spectacular sword fights. He rights every wrong, and he makes it look good.

The title shot - Art © Disney
The title shot - Art © Disney

Now about the show. The show starts out with the young and dashing Don Diego returning from Spain’s highest and most prestigious school where he learned the manly art of fencing and other studies such as literature. Don Diego returns to find his beloved homeland of California, which is still a Spanish colony, being run in tyranny and destruction by an organized group run by a man, known as the Eagle. Even the tiny, quiet pueblo of Los Angeles is being overrun by crime.

Don Diego’s father, Don Alejandro, has a wealthy hacienda, which means he raises cattle on his land. Don Alejandro is also a leader of the community. He has a lot of influence about how things happen in the Los Angeles area. At the time that the Zorro stories are set, Los Angeles is a very small town and it isn’t the capital. Only a day’s carriage ride along El Camino Real from Los Angeles, you reach Monterey, the largest city in Spanish California. The governor of Spanish California lives in Monterey, and some of the later Zorro episodes take place in Monterey. Don Alejandro has asked for Diego to return home from Spain to help with the bad situation in Los Angeles.

While still aboard the ship, he makes a most important decision. He has to decide to whether to fight crime as Don Diego or as Zorro. He decides to fight crime as Zorro because as the scholar Don Diego, he does not seem to care about anything. This way, he can be almost unrecognizable to the villains.

Don Diego has a mute servant named Bernardo. Being mute means that he cannot speak. He and Don Diego decide that he will pretend to be deaf as well as mute, so he can spy on people without them knowing that he is really listening.

As soon as Don Diego and Bernardo get to the shores of California, they are greeted by an old friend, Sergeant Demetrio Lopez Garcia. Sergeant Garcia hasn't seen Don Diego since he was a little boy. Sergeant Garcia is a well- rounded sort of fellow who loves wine and food. The Sergeant is also a member of the Spanish King’s army. He isn't too smart, so you might ask how he reached such a high position in the army. Well, as he explained it, “I was a corporal, and I was doing my nightly patrol when I saw the Commandante kissing the Magistrado’s wife. The next thing I knew, I was a sergeant.” The surprised Sergeant had never met Bernardo, which works out very nicely for Don Diego.

Don Diego is instructed by the Sergeant to go check his papers with the Commandante. But before he can do this, the Commandante comes out and tells Don Diego to go wait in the quartel (the barracks for the Spanish soldiers).

The Commandante says to Sergeant Garcia that Don Diego looks very suspicious and he wonders why Don Diego has returned from Spain.

Just then, the Commandante realizes that while he was talking to Sergeant Garcia, Bernardo is also within earshot. The Commandante asks the Sergeant about Bernardo. “He is the little deaf, mute servant of Don Diego,” says the stupid Sergeant. The Commandante doesn’t believe that Bernardo is deaf, so he fires a rifle right behind Bernardo, and Bernardo never moves at the sound. Sergeant Garcia, being a klutz, falls down from the carriage where he was checking Don Diego’s luggage when the gun is fired.

When Don Diego gets home, his father is waiting for him at the gate. “Ahh, Diego, my boy, it is good to see you. We have much to talk about.” Don Diego goes upstairs to change and get ready to talk with his father.

From the title shot - Art © Disney
From the title shot - Art © Disney

That evening, Don Alejandro tells Diego that the military is causing the unhappiness around Los Angeles. The man in charge, the Commandante, is  evil, and there are more of his kind to follow. The whole time that his father is talking, Don Diego plays the piano, pretending not to notice. His father becomes furious with him because he was expecting Diego to come back a man who would fight openly but instead, he came back a poet and a scholar who was not interested in combat.

“I am ashamed of what I have just done,” Don Diego tells Bernardo after Don Alejandro dismisses him. ”I pretended to be a coward, and now my father thinks that I am one. I did not like that, Bernardo. ”But this pretense was necessary to allow Don Diego to act freely as Zorro, so not even his own father would know.

Eventually, Don Alejandro finds out that Diego is Zorro, but he keeps Zorro’s secret. Zorro becomes a legend in Los Angeles, and the people adore him because he fights for their freedom.

If you want to see the original Zorro stories, then set your VCRs to your Disney Channel at midnight... or 9:00, if you’ve got both Disney Channel options and you live in the west.

One of my favorite restaurants at Disneyland, Casa Mexicana, has been closed and it was rumored it would be remodeled to have a Zorro theme when it reopens. I’m really looking forward to seeing it when it opens.


Hi there!
My name is Casey.

I have always loved amusement parks, but I especially love Disneyland. It has always been my favorite place. I live in Northern California, about 400 miles away from the Happiest Place on Earth. I like to go to Disneyland all the time.

I have two sisters and one brother. I love them dearly. I also have a great mom and a great dad. I love them a lot too. I am in 8th grade, an honor student, and a complete jock. I have been on more than 25 trips to Disneyland, and I do not plan to stop going there.

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