Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cisco Kid was a Friend of Mine

So, I went to see Crazy House, the Olsen and Johnson followup to Hellzapoppin' (no review because it isn't on Netflix). One of the studio cameos was Leo Carillo, who looked familiar. Could that be the famous Pancho of The Cisco Kid fame? Since the 1950 TV series is available on streaming, we were able to check it out, and yes, yes, he is.

The Cisco Kid features the adventures of  "O' Henry's Robin Hood of the Old West", The Cisco Kid, played by Duncan Reynaldo and his sidekick Pancho, Carillo. The Kid is a Mexican charro-type - dressed in a fine black suit with white embroidery, a belt studded with silver sombreros, and of course, a sombrero. He rides a beautiful black and white paint horse named Diablo. Pancho dresses informally, and rides a roan named Loco. Their adventures usually involve trying to help out a stranger, and they are often mistaken for crooks by the authorities.

But the real fun comes from Reynaldo's suave hidalgo charm and heroism, and Pancho's mangled English. When trouble strikes, he always wants to run away, with his classic line, "Let's went, Cisco!". Now, some might not consider this to be politically correct - Pancho as a Mexican is not just comically bad at English, but he is lazy, cowardly and always keeps a few tortillas in his shirt for a snack. But:

  1. If Pancho is a bad stereotype, how about Cisco? Surely an exemplary stereotype: smart, skilled, courteous and modest.
  2. Anyway, so what? It's Leo Carillo, man. You know, like the state beach near Malibu?

We were surprised to discover that this TV series was in color. Apparently, the first one of its kind. It looks kind of great, although the colors show their age a bit. Our favorite part, however, are the horses, Diablo especially. We've gotten to know several of the horse actors that play him (the white-on-black markings are very distinctive) and they are all beautiful, and well-ridden. That means a lot in a Western.

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