1 9 5 0 – 1 9 5 6 (USA)
156 x 30 minute episodes
One of television’s earliest western series produced with the younger viewer in mind, The Cisco Kid was also the first filmed TV adventure series seen during those early years when shows were usually broadcast live.
The hero of this very popular adventure programme was a Mexican adventurer called the Cisco Kid, played by Duncan Renaldo.
The Kid roamed the West on his horse, Diablo, with his trusted sidekick, Pancho (Leo Carrillo), who rode a horse called Loco, at his side.
Renaldo was in his fifties when The Cisco Kid was filmed and Carrillo was in his seventies, but this did not make them any less dashing or heroic, and Cisco and Pancho avenged the wronged and fought the bad guys with great gusto.
Fat old Pancho was always ready with a crack and some fractured English that kids loved to imitate (“Ceesco? Let’s went! The shereef, he ees getting closer!”). But he was brave in a fight and an expert with the bullwhip.
The pair saw a lot of action together, but relatively little gunplay. Usually, Cisco’s fast draw was to shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand.
The ready, fun-loving camaraderie between Cisco and Pancho was what made the series really work. 156 half-hour episodes were filmed by Ziv Television. Surprisingly, all of them are in colour, although most stations showed them in black & white during the 1950s.
The Cisco Kid character was the creation of short story writer O. Henry, who had written stories about The Kid’s adventures 50 years before he was seen on television. In the O. Henry stories, Cisco was a bandito, but he became a hero when he was first seen in several silent films in the 1920s.
The Cisco Kid was also a popular radio show before it became a TV series.
Duncan Renaldo passed away in September 1980, aged 76.
The Cisco Kid