Author of Gentleman hero Zorro had an unknown dark side…

The link with Joaquin Murrieta (“The Mexican Bandit who supposed to be the inspiration for Zorro”) was a hoax made up by Zorro Productions

In real life McCulley was at one time a hero himself and saved several people during a car accident…

Until now for all people know, the author Johnston McCulley (1883 – 1958) was a nice gentleman just like the famous character Zorro created by him. According to the first biography ever, written by journalist and writer D. Kepler (written for the 100 years anniversary of Zorro in 2019 and now available at Amazon), he actually wasn’t all that perfect. Au contraire!

Before he became the famous author, Johnston McCulley was sentenced to four years in penitentiary after having sex with an under-aged (15 year) girl in 1909. McCulley was working as a newspaper reporter and theatre agent in Portland, Oregon in those days. After extended research (e.g. old newspaper archives) Kepler discovered the writer of our cultural icon Zorro, had an unknown dark past himself. At an age of 25 McCulley not only forced himself (together with a friend) on the under-aged girl but was also accused by his wife for cheating and beating her.

Johnston McCulley was not only a popular writer but also one of the hardest working men in pulp fiction. He wrote more than 850 stories published in books and magazines between 1906 and 1958. Still, McCulley has always been an enigma. Therefore a lot of new information is included in the biography. Let’s say Wikipedia definitely needs an update.

Kepler is an old fashioned journalist and consequently, before writing the biography, he interviewed people, checked newspaper archives, libraries, military records, genealogical records and all other public records he could find.

Needless to emphasize, the character Zorro is an important part of this book. In the biography there is a special part about the exploitation of McCulley’s famous character in movies, comic books, commercials etc. McCulley lost the Zorro rights to Hollywood agent Mitchell Gertz in a suspicious deal in the late 1940’s. McCulley’s stepdaughter (executrix of the McCulley estate) sued Gertz and Disney after the death of the writer in 1958 because she was confident they had cheated her father. Still the children of Mitchell Gertz are owners of the rights of Zorro nowadays (Zorro Productions Inc.). In the book Kepler looks into the history of Zorro and the many lawsuits the character was involved in.

This biography is the first independent book with information about the history of Zorro. The only books written so far are not only outdated (published in the 1990’s) but also written under the auspices of Zorro Productions Inc. Being independent, Kepler was free to write about the many lawsuits concerning ownership of the character Zorro (Productions Inc) and the dubious agreement between McCulley as the author and Mitchell Gertz as agent.

“Johnston McCulley The Biography” is now available at Amazon.

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Author of Gentleman hero Zorro had an unknown dark side… The link with Joaquin Murrieta ('The Mexican Bandit who supposed to be the inspiration for Zorro') was a hoax made up by Zorro Productions In real life McCulley was at one time a hero himself and saved several people during a...