Broken Arrow: Western Movie, Book, TV, and History Discussion

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 TV WESTERNS ON DVD PT 4 - KIDS SERIES

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chris



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PostSubject: TV WESTERNS ON DVD PT 4 - KIDS SERIES   Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:13 pm

THE CISCO KID

I have to admit having a soft spot for 'The Cisco Kid'. It was the first TV western I ever saw back in nineteen hundred & frozen stiff. Viewed on a 12" black & white TV with valves ! The stirring music , Cisco's flashy costume & big sombrero greatly impressed me & probably started my love of all westerns.

Cisco was created by writer William Sydney Porter who wrote short stories under the pen name O.Henry. His Cisco story ''The Caballero's Way' bore little resemblance to the later dashing, heroic figure Cisco was to become. Eventually picked up by Hollywood , there were a number of Cisco films starting as early as 1919 with Warner Baxter. Various actors played the role throughout the years & by 1950 Duncan Renaldo had assumed the mantle, with Leo Carillo as Pancho. When it was decided to transfer to television both actors just moved over. Worth noting that Leo Carillo was almost 70 by this time, a curious age to be embarking on a TV series. Goes to show its never too late to become a cowboy hero. He had originally agreed to play Pancho only if the producers would not make the character a buffoon, then proceeded to play him as a complete buffoon !

Cisco was made by ZIV productions , who were responsible for a lot of early US series, Some very successful. Ziv productions were made cheaply & made fast, very fast. Cisco shows were shot in batches of two of three, utilising the same actors usually without costume change. Here in the UK two episodes were shown back to back. As a young kid I was often confused when a character would be a good guy in one segment & a bad guy in the next. An example of how quick they were turned out is when Renaldo was injured & hospitalised during the 1954 season, Rather than shut down they just devised story lines where Cisco would be bandaged or masked & his double (usually Troy Melton ) filled in,footage was culled from earlier episodes & they took a camera into the hospital tp film Renaldo close ups.

Cisco was very much the 'B' western hero. Unbeatable on the draw, honest & upright & anxious to help the oppressed. Villains were black hearted with no redeeming values & you could be sure they would get their just deserts. There was usually a rancher's daughter around for Cisco to flirt with but he would never get involved. To be fair , although it was mostly standard fare there were occasional attempts to do off-beat story lines - such as Cisco tangling with foreign spies or discovering a lost city.

An interesting episode is 'Hidden Valley in ' S3'. Cisco & Pancho are lost in the desert, discover a hidden valley, with a castle. Spend the night & are menaced by spooky goings-on & a mystery hooded man. Get taken prisoner & forced to work as slaves by pirates, Cisco enjoys a knock down, rough & tumble with a giant pirate, Escapes, gets captured by Incas, persuades them to help him & returns & leads a slaves revolt to overthrow the pirates ,after indulging in an Errol Flynn style sword fight with the lead villain. He also solves the hooded man mystery. The whole thing is wrapped up in a brief 25 minutes or so.

Oddly, the Cisco Kid was shot in colour,probably the first TV series to be done this way. It wasn't actually any great foresight by the producers though. They discovered they were able to buy colour stock cheaper than 35mm black & white & whilst filming, it let in more light, meaning they could shoot quicker. They assumed , of course, it would only ever be seen in monochrome so consequently never bothered to match colours or take any care in processing. This has confused reviewers today who complain about faded colour & lack of restoration. The truth being it was never processed properly in the first place.The colour, however, did keep it in syndication for many years.

No of seasons - 6

No of episodes -156

Copyright - Rhodes Enterprises, though possibly earlier episodes may be in the public domain.

Season 1 - 26 eps.(1950/51)
Season 2 - 26 eps.(1951/2)
Season 3 -26 eps. (1952/3)
Season 4 -26 eps.(1953/4)
Season 5 -26 eps.(1954/5)
Season 6 -26 eps.(1955/6)

Network - Syndicated - UK -BBC - (Has also had episodes shown on satellite channels in the 90's)

DVD RELEASES -

The main releases have been by MPI Video in 2004 & 5.They released 4 collections of 20 episodes per collection. For some reason episodes were selected at random from across the 6 seasons.Quality is probably as good as you are ever going to get on this series.Like all ZIV productions, episodes don't have on screen titles & in one instance MPI have titled the episode by the name of the writer !. The collections are still available & can be picked up cheaply on Amazon.

There are also a number of other releases available from PD companies but apart from a couple of segments they are all are included on the MPI sets.

Shame MPI stopped after the 4th set as it would be nice to pick up the other unreleased episodes. They are probably out there on the gray market but I know of no complete runs.

For further information on Cisco I recommend 'THE FILMS OF THE CISCO KID' by Francis M Nevins. This is an in depth look at the films & has a very informative chapter on the TV series.

C'Mon Cisco - Lets Went !
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Nightlinger

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PostSubject: Re: TV WESTERNS ON DVD PT 4 - KIDS SERIES   Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:37 pm

This was one of the few action shows my parents would let me watch. Not having any black TV heroes, this (with Mexican heroes), and The Lone Ranger (with Tonto) were the only shows that didn't have all-white leads. And I Love Lucy (Ricky was Cuban).
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tomgoldrup
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PostSubject: Re: TV WESTERNS ON DVD PT 4 - KIDS SERIES   Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:39 pm

Chris---I checked Amazon and MPI has Cisco Kid Collections #1, 2, 3 & 4 with twenty episodes each. It lists some of the titles for the diferent sets, but not for some of them. If you have these can you check and see what set Hidden Valley is in. That episode interests me and Tris Coffin, I see on imdb, plays the villain...so interested in that one. I have about twenty episodes from another dvd, so some would be duplicated, but for the price I'd like to get the set with Hidden Valley. Thanks....Tom. I see it is on a Mill Creek set of Cisco's but from experience I know Mill Creek can be good and can be poor quality. If MPI is better I'd go for that.
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Chain Lightning
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PostSubject: Re: TV WESTERNS ON DVD PT 4 - KIDS SERIES   Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:46 pm

Howdy Pards!!

Ooh Cicso!! Ooh Pancho!!

I understand that Duncan Renaldo donated his costume , gun and holster to the Gene Autry Museum.

Ed
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chris



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PostSubject: Re: TV WESTERNS ON DVD PT 4 - KIDS SERIES   Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:14 pm

tomgoldrup wrote:
Chris---I checked Amazon and MPI has Cisco Kid Collections #1, 2, 3 & 4 with twenty episodes each. It lists some of the titles for the diferent sets, but not for some of them. If you have these can you check and see what set Hidden Valley is in. That episode interests me and Tris Coffin, I see on imdb, plays the villain...so interested in that one. I have about twenty episodes from another dvd, so some would be duplicated, but for the price I'd like to get the set with Hidden Valley. Thanks....Tom. I see it is on a Mill Creek set of Cisco's but from experience I know Mill Creek can be good and can be poor quality. If MPI is better I'd go for that.

Tom

Hidden Valley is on Collection 3. Nearly all the episodes on Collection 3 have not appeared elsewhere so you should get good value for your money

Regards

Chris
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PostSubject: Re: TV WESTERNS ON DVD PT 4 - KIDS SERIES   Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:54 pm

Thanks Chris....appreciate your help on this. Going to order it even if I didn't win the mega million lottery here in the States..
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