The cries, "Hey, Poncho! Hey, Cisco" are something none of us who grew up with this TV western will ever get out of heads and why should we?
This western, I believe, is the second one I ever recall watching (after "The Range Rider") and the first recall with great fondness and a knowledge that a lot of people also liked this show. They had to, to have it run six years.
To be honest, I remember the Cisco Kid's partner, "Pancho" (Leo Carillo) more than I remember him, although Duncan Renaldo is not forgettable. He was a charismatic good guy, a real straight arrow and a great role model for small kids. I was the perfect age (6-12) to enjoy these episodes of a western that was made more for us in mind than adults.
Pancho, if I recall, mainly provided comedy relief...and that was fine with us kids. We loved him. You couldn't ask for a more loyal sidekick, even if he wasn't the most brilliant person.
I used to have a television that occasionally got a weak signal station from Fort Erie, Ontario over here in Buffalo. And I got to relive a little childhood seeing episodes of Cisco Kid and the Lone Ranger.
Unlike the Ranger all of Cisco's stuff was in color. Great foresight because a whole lot of westerns that were done in black and white can't be given away now.
Cisco was quite the guy. A gentleman always, a righter of wrongs, and an amazingly tolerant guy to keep Pancho around. Unlike Tonto who was really useful to the Lone Ranger, I think Cisco kept Pancho around for laughs. He was slow on the uptake, but devoted to Cisco, and someone you didn't have to worry about betraying you.
I thought and still Cisco was great. Many friends in my age group and slightly older who are of Latino background told me how much Cisco meant to them as a role model. He was such a good guy, I wonder what he did that made him an outlaw in the first place.
O Henry spent much time in border towns on the American side and in old Mexico himself. In writing The Caballero's Way and introducing us to Cisco, he gave us another universal hero. Cisco will be syndication 100 years from now.
Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo were a couple of Hollywood veterans with substantial credits. But they will always be known as the Cisco Kid and Pancho.
Before the revolution brought about by the "adult" Westerns or 1955+ (Gunsmoke, Maverick, etc, the one's as a young boy I liked best) there were the kiddie Westerns: Wild Bill Hickock, The Range Rider, Buffalo Bill Jnr, The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid. Based (supposedly) on an O. Henry story, there was probably more kinship with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza - and formulaic B-Westerns of the '30s and '40s. One thing set this apart from others of their ilk: I met Duncan Reynaldo! I was a very young boy but I still treasure the memory of this friendly kind gentleman.
I enjoyed the Cisco Kid TV series very much when I was a kid.I frankly don't see why anyone could take offense at either of the leads. Unlike most comic reliefs,Pancho was very formidable when the chips were down. As far as O'Henry's original story,it is easily found.There was a set of books published between l900 and l9l0 with his collected stories which was printed in vast numbers which has everything he ever wrote;any large library should have it.However,the character in the story has absolutely nothing to do with the movie and TV character.He was an Anglo,not a Latino. Far more important, the character of the story was a depraved homicidal maniac,as well as an outlaw."It was the Kid's pastime to shoot Mexicans for the pleasure of watching them kick".That is as near as I can get from memory.I was pretty surprised when I first read this. As Kenneth MacGowan said in "Behind the Screen" about the movie character vs O'Henry's original creation "how this degenerate sadist" was turned into the familiar hero is anybody's guess.Some unknown scriptwriter apparently. The movie and TV figure is certainly a "Robin Hood of the Old West",but not O'Henry's. I believe that the story is to be found in the volume "The Heart of the West", but it might be in one of the others.
Who can forget these two cavalier Mexican heroes, The Cisco Kid, played by the dashingly handsome Duncan Renaldo and Pancho, his loyal sidekick, played wonderfully by Leo Carillo. When I was a boy, the "Cisco Kid" was a weekly series and I never missed it. Both of these actors are long buried and mostly forgotten. The message they delivered to their young audiences each week was the same message delivered by so many other oater serials of the day; always stand up for the rights of the underdog. If your friends and neighbors need help, it's up to you and other good people to come to their assistance. After all, it's the honorable thing to do. Although Renaldo and Carillo faded into relative obscurity in the years following their T.V. series, I'm sure they went to their final rewards feeling a large measure of satisfaction for the positive affect that their little t.v. program had on the lives of so many youngsters during their formative years.
I remember the TV series fondly. One of the Connecticut TV stations ran reruns in the late 1960s/early 1970s. I enjoyed it as a child. I just picked up a bargain DVD with several episodes. Nothing is the same as an adult as when you first saw something as a child or teenager but these hold up well.
Some may see some ethnic stereotyping. Isn't that true for too many things coming out of an earlier era. I would be interested in reading the O. Henry story. Remember the dime novels of the late 1800s/early 1900s led into the shorts and westerns of the early decades of American films.
Fell in love with the show when I was four years old, and never stopped loving it. I always felt that Cisco and Pancho were the ideal men--caring, brave, and gallant, protecting defenseless victims, sending their rewards to mission orphans, etc.
The early shows mentioned O. Henry, as in "O. Henry's Cisco Kid"--I have always wanted to know the name of the book or short story that contained the Cisco Kid. The story is not in any of my O. Henry collections, so maybe it went out of print. Also, it would be nice to know who wrote the lovely theme music, and if it's currently available.
The show was also notable, to me, for not using women characters only as victims--often, women were just as devious, villainous, and able as the men with whom they were associated.
When I was about eight years old, my parents worked at a tomato processing plant in Indiana. We lived in "company" housing that was mainly comprised of Mexican workers. During that late summer and early fall, many of my playmates were Mexican. Cowboy stars were all the rage. Their favorite western character was the Cisco Kid. Both the Cisco Kid and his partner, Pancho, were played by true Mexican Americans. Often they would even converse in Spanish. One episode in particular, "The Phony Sheriff," has one of the rustlers telling Cisco and Pancho to speak English. Cisco retorts, "What's the matter? You don't like Spanish?" Even the comical sidekick, Pancho, was not really the Mexican stereotype usually seen in Hollywood movies and on TV at the time. So the Cisco Kid series was a real boost for positive Mexican-Anglo relationships.
Loosely based on a character created by famed short-story writer, O. Henry, Cisco became "The Robin Hood Of The Old West" for the movies and this long-running TV series. Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo were veteran Hollywood actors who gave life to the character each played. There was the usual assortment of reliable character actors to add to the enjoyment of watching the show. And the scripts were usually first-rate for a TV shoot-'em-up aimed at all the small fries plopped down in front of the tube. Highly recommended for those old enough to remember the early days of TV and passable entertainment for those not yet born when the series ran on television. Color is an added bonus, since most of the TV westerns of the day, including The Roy Rogers Show, were filmed in black and white.
Here's "O. Henry's famous Robin Hood of the Old West!" Duncan Renaldo, The Cisco Kid of TV was a much more stand-up, stalwart hero than the short story character. Righting wrongs and doing good with his pal, Pancho Miguel Fernando Gonzalez de Conejo(Leo Carillo), Cisco was a model of right for a generation of wee cowpokes. Great low-budget nostalgic, formulaic kiddie western fun! And it's all in color, indicative of the foresight of the production company when TV was in it's infancy and a color set couldn't be had as yet!
MPI Video has compiled four DVD collections of 20 episodes each. That's just over half of the 156 episodes! Where are the rest, I wanna know?!? The color and quality are superb given the age of these shows, with great menus and all the stirring theme music and narration adding to the action and comic fun. Highly recommended!
I remember when I was little that I was just glued to this show. One of the 1st westerns that I remember seeing, and I've seen just about all of them. I haven't seen this show for years and it would be nice to see it again sometime.
I just found a 3-disc set of The Cisco Kid that was produced by Mill Creek Entertainment and I am loving it.
Some young folks today might think it a bit corny, but Duncan Renaldo is such a dashing, debonair hero you can't help but like him. He rounds up the bad guys but never abuses them. He has too much respect to do that. He is brave and dedicated to justice. An excellent role model. This really is good family entertainment.
Pancho played by Leo Carillo is a funny, likable side kick. The show just wouldn't be the same without him.
This really deserves a look by anyone who wants some relief from the gore of present day hollyweird offerings.
I think I only paid $10 for my set and I wouldn't sell it now for $50! That's how much I like it.
If you can't find it in stores, I now see it available at Netflix. Get it while you can.
My first memories of watching this was when I was about about five years old. It used to come on late at night (eleven o'clock was late back then) and I didn't so much pay attention to the plots as soak up the atmosphere, starting with the shows incredible beginning credits.
First things I'd see through the washed out color and vertical scratches were the sun baked desert and the yucca trees, then the Cisco Kid and Pancho would ride across the screen as the rousing theme song played.
"Here's adventure...", the narrator would shout, "Here's Romance, Here's O. Henry's famous Robin Hood of the old west...The Cisco Kid!"
The Cisco Kid seemed at the time, like it was made a hundred years ago. It was barely thirty. I'd assumed that everyone involved were long passed though at the time Cisco had only been dead a few years.
Looking back, it's hard to imagine that the "Kid" was middle aged when he made this and Pancho was in his seventies!
This was the best "kiddie" western series of the fifties.
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Ooooh,Ceeeesco -- Oooh, Paancho. One of the great classic TV westerns of the 50's. The Cisco Kid is the dapper and oh so smooth do-gooder, loved by the ladies, obeyed by his brilliant steed Diablo and the bane of the bad guys. His trusty sidekick Pancho on the other hand, riding Loco, can never quite get it together, except to bop some bungling bad guy on the bean. Nobody gets killed. The miscreants go to jail and the stars ride off into the sunset, smiling. Le's went Ceesco!
REACHING as far back into the recess of memory as far as we can go, we arrive in those sections where our mind keeps files on some of our most vivid recollections of how our life went in those primordial, almost prehistoric days. It is at this juncture that our mind has its oldest files. Among the oldest records in this veritable Newspaper Morgue of the Mind are such entries as; General Douglas MacArthur's Televised appearance before the joint assembly of the Senate and the House of Representatives, sparkling white Good Humor Ice Cream Trucks, 'Old Time Steam Locomotives, a Blimp flying high circles over the neighborhood with a loud speaker loudly proclaiming,"I LIKE IKE!"*
ON the subject Pop Culture we find such interesting we find 'entries' such as the Chicago White Sox of Paul Richards, Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso, Billy Pierce and Al Zarilla. (No Cubs). The Chicago Sunday American with Hearst's Puck, the Comic Weekly; Jack Armstrong on our Radio; the Morris B. Sachs Amateur Hour (Local TV), Mayor Martin Kenelly (Before any Daley) and the Sealtest Big Top on CBS are all among fond recollections.
PROMINENT among these varied memories, as big as life and always vivid is that early Bubble Gum Western TV Series of THE CISCO KID (Ziv Television Productions, 1950-56).
LIKE any other kiddie Western, it had stories featuring stage coach hold-ups, cattle rustlers, bank robbers, prospectors, claim jumpers, school marms, tenderfoot newcomers, bush-wackers, dry-gulchers and gangs of blood-thirsty renegades, outlaws and guys who talk and giggle in lines while going into school!
WHAT set THE CISCO KID Show apart from Gene, Roy, Hoppy and the Masked Man was that the two heroes in the lead were Spanish speakers from South of the Border. Portrayal of the twosome or "Caballeros Mexicanos" was provided by two veterans of Hollywood's Golden Era in Duncan Renaldo (Cisco) and the Aristocratic Californian, Leo Carillo (Pancho). The two men functioned in a seemingly flawless manner together in matters of action, suspense and mystery. They were also very adept at handling the comic relief material with Renaldo's playing the Straight Man to Carillo's Stooge.
ALTHOUGH their dialogue was spoken in English, they maintained an authentic Mexican accent; which in the case of the then septuagenarian Leo Carillo was a theatrical affectation. Frequent fracturing of English was a source of comedy, much as the Vaudeville Stage and the Movies had mad use of ethnic malaprop and their comical soundings with German, Italian, Irish, Scandinavian, Black, Asian and what have you.
LIKE any other self respecting Western Series stars, both Cisco and Pancho had colorfully named Horses (or if you prefer the more Politically Correct ,'Equestrian Animal Companions). Just as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had Trigger and Buttermilk; The Lone Ranger and Tonto had Silver and Scout; Gene Autry had Champion and Hopalong Cassidy his Topper; so too Cisco and Pancho had their Diablo and Loco; translated literally as 'Devil' and 'Crazy'.
AT the age that we were at the time of the series heyday, our young 4 to 6 year old memory had no previous knowledge or contact with Cisco's saga. Our very first experience was on the Tube. There was no evidence that the Cisco Kid had been done in the movies; dating back to Warner Baxter's portrayal in the early talking film IN OLD ARIZONA (Fox Film Corporation, 1928)
FOLLOWING that he had such names as Caesar Romero and Gilbert Roland had put in time in the part. The character of Pancho (Sometimes called by nickname "Gordito", literally "Little Fat One") was usually portrayed by Mexican-American Actor, Chris Pin-Martin. The studios that had the movie series was originally, like the CHARLIE CHAN Series, 20th Century-Fox. Just the same as the CHANS, CISCO KID passed from 20th Century-Fox to Monogram; where the roles in the now definitely "B" Movie Series passed from Messers. Roland and Pin-Martin to the Renaldo-Carillo Team for the last of the Theatrical releases.
MOVING the characters to Television and Ziv TV Productions, both parts stayed with Senores Renaldo y Carillo; but the character backgrounds of the two had to conveniently leave out that Cisco and Pancho were wanted men, desperadoes. Oh sure, they always were helpful, trustworthy, helpful, etc. But the new medium of broadcast television surely would not allow for a family oriented series to have such good-bad guys.
THE situation was handled much in the same manner as Ziv Productions had developed their BOSTON BLACKIE TV Series by never mentioning that Blackie had a past. Their Kent Taylor version was more of a Private Detective helping Inspector Faraday (Frank Orth); whereas Columbia Pictures' Chester Morris/Blackie, reformed former jewel thief & safe cracker, was always under suspicion to Inspector Faraday (Richard Lane).
UNLIKE most series that made use of more inexpensive pre-recorded stock music, THE CISCO KID had a musical score with both incidental music (aka cues) as well as its Opening Theme and Signature were unique to the show. By one Albert Glasser were lively, rhythmic, hauntingly beautiful and most memorable. The overall style appears to be have been inspired by authentic Mexican themes, both of the classical variety and traditional folk music.
MAKING an obvious reference to both the literate origin of Cisco and of his outside the law status, the voice-over of the announcer proclaimed in the opening something like; ,,,,, Here's O. Henry's famous Robin Hood of the Old West, THE CISCO KID!" And do you know what? We had no idea of who O. Henry was. Personally, I always thought that they were referring to the Oh Henry Candy Bar! Hey Schultz, do they still make those Oh Henry Bars?
NOTE: * We lived about a half-mile due-east of the Chicago's International Amphitheater; location of the 1952 Republican National Convention.
When it comes to this vintage, colour, TV Western from the 1950s - I find myself riding the fence a lot with how I feel about it.
When tallying up the pros and cons of this show - For starters - I thought that actor, Duncan Renaldo (at 46) was way too old to be at all believable as the athletic hero that he portrayed himself to be as the title character.
What i also didn't like was the repeated recycling of the same actors in these episodes. It sure seemed that far too often they played a villain in one episode and then the next time around they were all honest, law-abiding citizens.
But, on the other hand - What appealed to me about this show was that a lot of the violence seemed to have an enjoyable slapstick edge to it.
And, of course - When it came to Cisco's trusty sidekick, Pancho - His outrageous, groan-worthy one-liners and the way he deliberately chewed up the English language certainly offered the viewer some much-needed comic relief to all of the dead-serious drama.
Anyway - I neither loved nor hated this old-time TV Western - For the most part - It was "OK" at best.
The first TV series to be produced in colour, great foresight by someone, and next to the Great Hopalong Cassidy, one of my favourites from the early days of Australian Television. Duncan Renaldo was dashing and handsome, Leo Carrillo was lovable and clumsy, mangling the English language, but stalwart when the chips were down. Both great role models, like Hoppy, for kids of all ages. How the World could use them today, I'm sure whatever corner of Heaven they now reside in, they'd be very content with the legacy they left.
Just acquired a DVD set of 26 first season episodes, One of which stars Phyllis Coates of Superman fame. Sorry to realize this was considered a "kids" show because every episode had at least one person good or bad being shot dead, sometimes in the back. No wonder our country is so screwed up.
As a kid, I watched every half hour western there was, but I only caught the tail end of The Cisco Kid's run. Nevertheless, I found it more memorable than even The Lone Ranger or Roy Rogers, and I can't tell you how much I loved those two shows.
I've only recently been reintroduced to Cisco and Pancho thanks to a local over-the-air station, and while the gunfights and fight scenes are often preposterous, I do believe that the show's introduction describes what gives it it's distinct charm... "Here's adventure, here's romance!" And that has nothing to do with women whose hearts were won by Cisco and Pancho. In fact, there was scarcely any of that. Instead the romance is about Spanish-Mexican culture and the pageantry of the Old West. I've come to believe this show was my first introduction to the pervasive Mexican influence that provides much of the west's lure and mystique to this day.
And there was one thing in particular that so grabbed my attention as a kid that I've used it again and again. It's Pancho's many variations of, "Hey Cisco, let's went." I've said it to friends, girlfriends and even to my wife, and I have no idea if they understood the reference at first, but it always tickled me to remember and pay homage to Leo Carillo and this wonderful show.