The Cisco Kid has the distinction of being the first television series to be filmed in colour, although few viewers were able to enjoy it in this format until the 1960s. The series starred Duncan Renaldo as Cisco, Leo Carillo as Pancho, and Diablo as the Kid's horse. Cisco was created by US short story writer O. Henry in 1907 as a particularly vicious outlaw and it was only when the character was adapted for radio in 1942 that he was depicted as a Robin Hood figure who assisted the downtrodden against corrupt officialdom. From then on television and films have presented the Kid as a heroic Mexican caballero.
The TV series began production in 1949, and was filmed by ZIV Productions at the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi Valley in Ventura County, California. Renaldo, a native of Spain, and Carrillo, a native of Los Angeles, were the first regular Hispanic television stars, beating Desi Arnaz of I Love Lucy fame by almost a year. When the series began, Renaldo was already 46 years of age but he still had the edge on his sidekick who was 70. The Cisco Kid was nominated in 1953 for an Emmy Award for children's programming. By 1955 it was the most popular filmed television series among American children. Because the 156 episodes were filmed in colour, the series was in demand until the 1970s.
Published on December 4th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.