July 17th……….“WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOWS AS A LITTLE BOY ON YOUR FARM IN SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA”?
“Zorro” and I were birthday twins!! Well, o.k., so the actor ( Mr. Guy Williams) who played the part of “Zorro”, on “The Wonderful World of Disney” each Sunday night……he and I were both born on January 14th of our respective years…..namely, 1924 and 1954.
From the scintillating strum of Spanish guitars, to the shrill slicing of the air by his sharp rapier sword (“espada ropera”, in Spanish), I was completely entranced with the wonder and handsome swagger of this swashbuckling hero of early California history tales. Although he was a master swordsman in his native Spain, Zorro (meaning “the fox”) chose to cloak his true identity in the guise of a timid, milquetoast personality of daily life as Don Diego De La Vega, the son of a wealthy cattle baron.
When an enemy of justice reared his ugly head, Zorro, by the cover of night, would costume himself in the most handsome black satin outfit topped by his black sombrero cordobes hat and a narrow black mask to conceal his true identity. Below the family hacienda, was a deep and secret cavern that held Zorro’s handsome black stallion, “Tornado”, as well as his ever-faithful servant, Bernardo. Mounting his steed, Zorro (alias Don Diego De La Vega) would then pull the glorious, glistening ebony stallion to a vertical rear-legged stand, and, with a wave, would be off in a flash to attack, destroy and/or turn the course of evil to either surrender, flee or turn themselves in to proper authorities.
The closest thing I had for my own “Tornado” horse, in those days, was the soft arm rests of our family’s easy chair that sat next to the free-standing furnace in our little Living Room. And, the closest thing this five year old (in 1959) had to a rapier, was a Willow-switch I had cut from a tree in the woods. Besides all that, the closest “black satin” Zorro cape I could find was one of Mom’s large bath towels. But, never you mind, there I was “riding” my own imagination’s version of the wild equine named Tornado upon the cushioned arm of our easy chair. Sunday nights were my tiny time of adventure in front of our rather small black n white TV set while rescuing fair maidens in distress and putting the fear of justice into the hearts of dastardly ne’er-do-wells.
My Willow switch branch, as my razor-sharp rapier, was whipping the air of our farm house Living Room in the form of the letter “Z”; just like Zorro would make across the uniform chest of the terrified, wide-eyed, fat old Sergeant Garcia.
Everything about Zorro, and his quiet personage of Don Diego De La Vega, appealed to my little boy fantasy of someone strong, handsome, virile and who dressed like royalty in his various weekly attire.
I, too, wanted to be “The Fox (Zorro)” in my little boy playtimes there on our farm. Even though I wasn’t Spanish by blood, I sure identified with this handsome hero of a Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!