The exciting Zorro CD audio PLAY books of Daryl McCullough!

As most Zorro fans are probably already aware of on the internet group Groups.Yahoo.com, (where membership is free), I have been a Zorro fan and enthusiastic collector of anything and everything that has to do with Zorro, for several decades, now!

Among some of the things I avidly collect and enjoy listening to, having to do with this legendary character, in addition to numerous other types of Zorro collectibles, are CD set Zorro audiobooks, that have come out on to the commercial market, for some years, now. There are many different ones.

The Zorro audio books that Daryl McCullough has been involved with, are among the very best!

El Zorro by Johnston McCulley

And the reason for this is that these are not just a single person reading Johnston McCulley (creator of Zorro) El Zorro vintage pulp fiction prose stories.

These particular Zorro CD audiobooks are, instead, exciting to listen to, audio plays, with numerous persons, men, and women, enthusiastically acting out each of the roles, as actors and actresses, with choreography, and with dazzling and fitting music, with ambiance, intrigue, and atmosphere!

And the second thing I love about them is that these Zorro audio books are NOT just a rehashing of previous Zorro stories; they are, instead, brand-new adventures of the man in black, Señor Zorro, The Fox!

Hearing these particular Zorro audio books is, therefore, a thrill to listen to, and to behold! Just as were the adventure heroes vintage radio play shows of the distant past!

These CD audio play Zorro adventures, available at most new booksellers, many music stores, and on Amazon, have the various character parts played by very talented men and women; they are NEW stories, well-told, with fantastic acting and choreography, and exciting music, featuring riveting performances!

First Comics News: How long you have been a fan of Johnston McCulley’s famous fictional character, Zorro?

Daryl McCullough: Most of my life. I was 5 or 6 years old when I discovered Zorro.

1st: How did you first become acquainted with the character?

Daryl McCullough at Hollywood Guy Williams Walk of Fame Star

Daryl: Through the Walt Disney television series. I’d sneak into the living room at 5:00 am on Saturday mornings, to watch ‘The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy’ hour. They later replaced Hoppy with Walt’ Disney’s Zorro, starring Guy Williams.
My love of Zorro was immediate. The blend of action, adventure, comedy, and romance from that series had me hooked.

I loved Guy Williams, (who played the title character of Zorro.)

I loved the cast, the storylines, everything. Since then I’ve had a life long love of Zorro.

1st: Do you also like other versions of Zorro?

Daryl: Absolutely! The Mark of Zorro (second, 1940 film version) with Tyrone Power. Great story, great cast.

Greatest fencing scene ever filmed. The New World Zorro TV series with (Canadian actor) Duncan Regehr.

I love the concept of this show. Duncan had such a powerful presence. Antonio Banderas in ‘The Mask of Zorro (1998), (silent film), and ‘The Legend of Zorro’, (2005), both directed by the one and only Stephen Spielberg.

What a great portrayal by Banderas!

Alain Delon’s (1975) ‘Zorro’ (titled) film was pretty good. Great duel at the end.

The Mark of Zorro (1920) with Douglas Fairbanks (Senior) is the film that saved Zorro!

1st: You are absolutely right about that, Daryl. Had Douglas Fairbanks Senior (not) have taken at least parts of the weekly serialized ‘The Curse of Capistrano’ first-ever Zorro prose fiction novel – in five weekly parts, from the pulp magazine, ‘All-Story Weekly’, in 1919, with him on a sea cruise, and then having later decided to film it, as the first ever (silent) 1920 Zorro film, renamed ‘The Mark of Zorro’, then both Zorro and his creator, fiction writer Johnston McCulley, would almost certainly be completely forgotten about, today! And so, while the pulp magazine story ‘The Curse of Capistrano’ was the first ever appearance of Zorro, in 1919, it was definitely the film adaptation of that pulp magazine fiction story, The Mark of Zorro film, in 1920, which assured El Zorro immortality, forever, in popular culture!

1st: Do you have a favorite Zorro actor?

Daryl: Guy Williams. Duncan Regehr, Tyrone Power, Antonio Banderas, Douglas Fairbanks. I love the great Zorro actors!

1st: What is it about these actors that most impresses you?

Daryl McCullough & 1990 Zorro Series writer producer Robert McCullough

Daryl: Guy Williams for his personality, his charm, and charisma. Tyrone Power for his authenticity. He perfectly reflects the character penned by Johnston McCulley, in his portrayal of both Diego and Zorro.
Douglas Fairbanks for his athleticism. Duncan Regehr for his command and presence.
(Antonio) Banderas may be the closest thing I’ve seen to Guy Williams, in his reflection of the character. I appreciate the great Zorros for what they bring to the role, to the character, to the story, to the legend.

1st: Who, in your opinion, did the best physical stunts?

Daryl: Douglas Fairbanks (Sr.) Fairbanks was only 5′ 9″ but he was athletically gifted. He jumped over a table backward, climbed up the side of buildings and swinging off of them with a rope. He leaped over a corral and even jumped over a burro. He was amazing.

1st: Who did you consider to be a sword fighter, of the numerous actors who have portrayed Zorro?

Daryl McCullough & Alex Cruz as Zorro

Daryl: Tyrone Power. Basil Rathbone was perhaps the greatest fencer in Hollywood, and he spoke highly of Power’s ability with the sword. Guy Williams was very good, as well. Duncan Regehr is talented with the sword.

In “New World Zorro,” he and fencing coordinator Peter Diamond had some very good fencing routines.

Alain Delon was good, too.

1st: In which Zorro film do you consider to have the very best sword fighting scene?

Daryl: “The Mark of Zorro” (1940) between Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone.

It’s considered one of the greatest fencing scenes ever filmed. There are also some other very good fencing scenes in other productions. The final scene in the French made ‘Zorro’ film with Alain Delon. He and Stanley Baker have a great duel that lasts nearly 10 minutes.

There were several great fencing scenes in the Disney Zorro series, especially the ones between Guy Williams and Britt Lomond. Both were very good fencers. Duncan Regehr’s duel in the episode “Deceptive Heart” was quite good.

Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones had a most memorable sword fight in “The Mask of Zorro.”

The Mark of Zorro Ruth Livier

1st: Who had the biggest impact on Zorro, in your view?

Daryl: It depends on how you look at it. Douglas Fairbanks, (Senior), is the most important person to play Zorro.

If not for Fairbanks making (the very first, silent version of ) ‘The Mark of Zorro’, (1920), Johnston McCulley probably would never have written another Zorro story.

That being the case, there would never have been a Guy Williams, Duncan Regehr, Antonio Banderas, nor anyone else, later having played the role of Zorro.

Also, Fairbanks (Sr.) is responsible for introducing the wide-brimmed sombrero cordobés hat, the domino mask, and the flowing Spanish cape.

Originally in McCulley’s story, Zorro wore a sombrero, a full-faced open-at-the-bottom-of-the-chin mask, and a cloak.

Daryl McCullough’s photo Destreza demonstration Ramon Martinez, Alex Cruz

1st: Yes, that’s right. And, in the Zorro film, 1936’s film entitled ‘The Bold Caballero’, actor Robert Livingston also played a Zorro with a full, (black leather) face mask, the look of which was far more in keeping with the way the Zorro character looked in Johnston McCulley’s original, vintage Zorro pulp magazine tales, in the spot illustrations which accompanied the prose text fiction of each tale! Robert Livingston played Zorro one more time, in the film multi-part movie Serial entitled ‘The Vigilantes Are Coming’, a twelve-part movie serial from 1936. In this film, Robert Livingston reprised his Zorro role. However, in this film, the director of the film could not legally get the rights to make a Zorro film. Therefore, this Zorro (in full, authentic black Zorro costume, gauntlets, cape, hat, and mask, he played what I always refer to as a ‘pseudo-Zorro’, with a different hero name; in this case, he is called ‘The Eagle.’ I have this film in my movie library, along with numerous other ‘pseudo-Zorro’ films. Some of these other pseudo-Zorro films include ‘The Eagle’ (Rudolph Valentino, (1925), the twelve-part ‘Man With A Steel Whip’ (1954), ‘Don Daredevil Rides Again’ (1951), and several others, that I also have in my film library.

Daryl: Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., also introduced the identifying symbol of Zorro’s slashed Z, on the trousers.
Johnston McCulley’s Zorro etched his mark into the flesh of his opponents.

Fairbanks gave us Zorro’s lighthearted playfulness and acrobatic nature.

Daryl McCullough’s photo Destreza Fencing Master Ramon Martinez & Alex Cruz

1st: And of course, Diego’s parlour card tricks, which gave the viewer some humour, mixed in with the drama of the swashbuckling story!

Daryl: Guy Williams, to this day, is still the most popular person to play Zorro.

1st: Completely agreed. He’s certainly my favourite of all the actors to play Zorro, although I tend to like most of them, including a lot of the actors in foreign countries’ Zorro films that most Zorro North American Zorro fans are not familiar with. Like, for example, Frank Latimore, and George Hilton. I also was and am still most impressed with the Zorro performance of Reed Hadley, in the multi-part film Serial Zorro’s Fighting Legion, from 1939, to name just a few of my other favourites.

Daryl: His (Guy Williams, Walt Disney’s Zorro) portrayal of the masked hero has had a far-reaching effect.
He exposed the world to Zorro, on a global scale. The same could be said of Duncan Regehr, who is the second-most popular actor of all-time to play Zorro.
He picked up the mantle where Guy left off. Because of them, established audiences expect future characterizations of Zorro to be similar in appearance, and presentation.
You might say they are the gold standard.

1st: A lot of people are unaware that Duncan Regehr is a Canadian actor.

What is your role in the Zorro audiobooks, that you have a hand in?

Daryl: I guess you could say I’m the driving force behind Zorro’s return to the world of full-cast audio drama or radio drama, as it was once called. I also have a close connection to many of the fans through various social media outlets.

1st: Yes, and I follow your Facebook Zorro group on the web, which never ceases to be entertaining!
There have been numerous Zorro full-cast audio dramas and narrated audiobooks commercially-produced, over the last few years. You’ve been involved in some of the very best of them!

It is my understanding that you had a lot to do, with many of them.

Daryl: I have at least some connection to all the Zorro audio productions in recent years. My efforts have resulted in shows being produced with Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air, Hollywood Theater of the Ear, American Radio Theater and All Ears Theatre. Johnston McCulley’s (creator of Zorro’s) first 3 Zorro novels: The Mark of Zorro, Zorro and the Pirate Raiders (aka The Further Adventures of Zorro), and Zorro Rides Again have been adapted into full-cast audio productions. Plus several of McCulley’s original pulp Zorro stories are now available, as audiobooks, as well.

1st: Yes, I have most all of these in my own collection, and am about to purchase the last two that I am aware are out there. I do have all of yours, thus far. At the same time, every single last ‘Zorro’ Johnston McCulley vintage pulp magazine prose fiction adventure have also, in recent years, been reprinted for older and younger Zorro fans and collectors alike, in six different books, entitled ‘Zorro: The Complete Pulp Adventures.’

All six book volumes in that series are available for purchase now, both on the web, and through major new booksellers. Here is Bold Ventures Press website: BoldVenturePress.com

This link, above, will take the reader to the Home Page of Bold Venture Press, wherein one can see (and order) the BRAND NEW prose fiction Zorro novel, entitled ‘Zorro And The Little Demon’, by author Peter David.

This second link (following), will take the reader to all six book volumes of the collected pulp magazine original, vintage pulp fiction stories, by Zorro’s creator, Johnston McCulley. The other books on this page are also by Johnston McCulley.
A search (ON) the Bold Venture Press will take the reader to numerous other books and periodicals having to do with author Johnston McCulley, with these keywords, ‘Johnston McCulley.’
A ‘Zorro’ keyword on the above site will take you to everything Zorro.

Here is a keyword search on Amazon for ‘Zorro audiobooks’

The first link, above, will take the reader to the Home Page of Bold Venture Press, wherein one can see (and order) the BRAND NEW prose fiction Zorro novel, entitled ‘Zorro And The Little Demon’, by author Peter David.

This second link will take the reader to all six book volumes of the collected pulp magazine original, vintage pulp fiction stories, by Zorro’s creator, Johnston McCulley. The other books on this page are also by Johnston McCulley.

A search (ON) the Bold Venture Press will take the reader to numerous other books and periodicals having to do with author Johnston McCulley, with these keywords, ‘Johnston McCulley.’

A ‘Zorro’ keyword on the above site will take you to everything Zorro.

Here is a keyword search on Amazon for ‘Zorro audiobooks’

1st: How did you make the business connections to initially make this possible? Who did you first broach those initial conversations with, and what other people were involved?

Daryl: I’m not sure there’s a lot to tell, here. I guess you could say Zorro’s return to the audio world began when I reached out to Zorro Productions Inc. to inquire about getting a license to make a full-cast Zorro radio drama. That inquiry opened a dialogue with John Gertz and Sandra Curtis. We had several discussions about how I would go about producing and publishing a show. I laid out a business plan that they liked, and was given the green light to proceed. Since then, I’ve had the good pleasure of working with several wonderful radio theater groups, publishers and actors.

1st: How long ago did this all start?

Daryl: I started this quest in 2007. So, it’s been twelve years, now.

1st: How many different Zorro CD audiobooks have you been involved with, overall?

Daryl: I believe the count is up to Ten.

1st: What are the titles?

Daryl: In the Johnston McCulley Series:

The Mark of Zorro

Zorro and the Pirate Raiders

Zorro Rides Again

The Vengeance of Zorro (Unavailable)

In The Legend Begins Series:

A Fox’s Tale

The Fox Trap

The Fox and the Hound

The Secret Plans

Zorro and The King’s Gold (Unavailable)

Zorro and The Don’s Dilemma (Unavailable)

1st: Are all the scripts for the various audio dramas written by yourself?

Daryl: No. Although I’ve had input into most of them. And I did write The Legend of Zorro series.

1st: What is your level of involvement in the production of the Zorro audio dramas?

Daryl: My involvement varies from project to project. Sometimes I’m just the writer. Others times, I have input into the script, casting, publication or selecting theater groups. I’m also involved with multiple publishers.

1st: How many stages are there in the producing a Zorro audio drama?

Daryl: Several. The first stage is story selection. Is it going to be a McCulley novel adaptation or an original creation? If the story is from a novel it has to be adapted into an audio script. If it’s an original story the concept has to be created and the story written. Casting is done. That can be a lengthy process. Usually, a cold read of the script is performed. Then it’s into the studio to record. After the recording is done comes the mixing and editing. Post-production is very time-consuming. Then it’s off to the publisher. All that sounds quite simple but it takes months to make a show.

1st: Have the radio dramas been well received?

Daryl: Yes, I’d say so. The Mark of Zorro was selected as the second best-spoken word audio in 2011. There are over 500 audio dramas and forty thousand plus audio books produced each year. So that’s pretty good. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award and 2 Audie Awards. An Audie Award is the equivalent of an Oscar in the audio world. The Mark of Zorro was also recommended as one of the best audios of 2011 by Sound Commentary, Parade Magazine, and AudioFile Magazine.

1st: Where do you get the ideas or inspiration from, to write yourZorro stories?

Daryl: I daydream. It’s like returning to my childhood again, dressed as Zorro… hat, cape, mask, sword…scaling the wall of the quarter, fighting back the lancers, dueling the commandant, saving the señorita… only it’s all in my mind. I love action, adventure and swashbuckling. So I dream up an adventure. Having fun is the goal.

1st: What’s the creative process like?

Daryl: It’s a lot of research and sitting behind a computer. It can be very time-consuming. But I also act out what I’m writing, at times. I play out the characters. Vocalize their dialogue. Go back to being a kid again.

Daryl McCullough’s The Mark of Zorro with actor Val Kilmer

1st: How much change might occur, in terms of general storyline, from the start to the final audio presentation?

Daryl: The general storyline stays the same. Once the story is done it’s pretty much done. A theater group may change some dialogue to fit their actors, but that’s about it.

1st: Val Kilmer voices the role of Zorro in The Mark of Zorro audiobook that you had a hand in. How did you manage to get such a famous celebrity on board, and do you happen to know what he thought of the experience?

Daryl: Getting Val Kilmer was really just a matter of asking him. And of course, paying him.
Hollywood actors are paid talent. I think it’s safe to safe he had a good time and enjoyed the experience. As did the whole cast.

Daryl McCullough Zorro Presentation Cincinnati

1st: I understand, you lecture about Zorro at conventions throughout the United States. Is the discourse about Zorro in general, or specifically related to Walt Disney’s version of Zorro?

Daryl: Yes, I do speaking engagements at various nostalgia and western conventions. I have two presentations. “Zorro: One Hundred Years of Swashbuckling Fun” is a history of all things Zorro: pulps, radio dramas, films, TV series, books, and comics. The other presentation, “The Great Zorros of Film and Screen” discusses the iconic actors who have donned the mask. Both presentations are highlighted by a slide show and a variety of video clips.

1st: Do you have a printed copy of your Zorro presentations that you could share with us, here?

Daryl: I don’t have a printed version of the programs. I generally speak from memory or use notes or an outline.

1st: Johnston McCulley’s “The Curse of Capistrano” was first published in 1919. August the ninth, 2019, will mark the one hundredth publishing anniversary of the creation of Zorro, seeing as how Zorro very first appearance anywhere was in the August 9th, 1919 weekly edition of the pulp magazine ‘All Story Weekly.’ This means that the date of August the ninth, 2019, will be Zorro’s one hundredth year anniversary of his creation, by his creator, Johnston McCulley. Whereas, February 2nd of 2019 was the one hundred and thirty-sixth birthday of the late Johnston McCulley, creator of Zorro!

Do you have any Zorro speaking engagements scheduled for either one of those monumental occasions? If so, when and where will these be held?

Daryl: There has been talk over the last two years about putting together a 100-year celebration for Zorro. But to this point it has failed to come to fruition. I believe, Chillicothe, Illinois, the home town of Zorro creator Johnston McCulley, has some festivities planned. I don’t have anything booked at this time.

1st: Can you tell us if there are future Zorro audio drama releases planned? If so, is there anything you can tell us about them?

Daryl: Next up for release is “Zorro: The Legend Begins” from American Radio Theater. This is a Disney/New World Zorro style adventure. Lighthearted and fun. It’s got all the elements that make Zorro great: action, adventure, swashbuckling, comedy, and romance!

1st: Are you involved in any Zorro projects currently?

Daryl: Not audio projects. I have a book project I’ve been working on for years, nearing completion.

I’ve also been trying to put together an audiobook collection of Johnston McCulley Zorro stories read by actors who’ve played Zorro, and children of actors who’ve played Zorro. Most of my time recently has been spent writing screenplays. A western and an action/adventure film. I’d like to make at least two more Zorro radio dramas, though. I really enjoy working in the world of Zorro.
1st: Anyone, in particular, you’d like to work with?

Daryl: I’d love to have Duncan Regehr reprise the role of Zorro. I know there is a large contingent of Zorro fans who want that to happen. And I’d really enjoy working with Alex Kruz as Zorro, in audio production.

1st: Daryl McCullough, thank you for taking the time to speak to me about your work involved with numerous commercially-available Zorro audio-play books. I really very much enjoyed talking to you, today!

Postscript, by Phil Latter: Zorro’s first appearance anywhere, in any media, was in (and on the cover) of the vintage Pulp magazine entitled ‘ALL STORY WEEKLY’, August 9th, 1010. The first Zorro story was the five-part weekly serialized prose story, ‘The Curse of Capistrano’, later filmed a year later as ‘The Mark of Zorro’ (silent, with captions, 1920.) August the ninth of 2019, just under six months from now, will be author Johnston McCulley’s Zorro’s 100th (one-hundredth YEAR) anniversary, since the Zorro character first appeared in print, in ALL STORY WEEKLY.

To commemorate this 100th Year Anniversary of Zorro, a new publishing company called ‘American Mythology Productions’ (in tandem with John Gertz’s Zorro Productions’, has already begun publishing not one, but TWO regular, monthly, ongoing Zorro comic book tales, in full process colour! These are all-new comics adventures of Zorro!
The first all-new ongoing Zorro comics title is entitled ‘Zorro: Swords of Hell.’ Look for these in your local specialty comics stores; they are already in stores! If your local comics stores don’t have these, ask for them to order them for you!

The second American Mythology Productions’ Zorro title is entitled ‘Zorro: The Legendary Adventures.’ This also full-colour title, each month, reprints, for the very first time in ENGLISH, anywhere, the best of vintage European Zorro comics, that have not only never appeared anywhere in English, these Zorro comics have ALSO never before been distributed to North American before — until now! Here is a link to a website about this second Zorro title: AmericanMythology.com

American Mythology is a comic book publisher focused on producing the best licensed and original content in the …

And here is a second link, this one to the first American Mythology Zorro comics


Zorro: Swords of Hell; Zorro Swords of Hell #1


(W) David Avallone

(A/CA) Roy Allen Martinez

Zorro is back! Los Angeles is invaded by an …

Here is a third link: Multiversitycomics.com

A THIRD American Mythologies comics titles bows this month, February of 2019, entitled ‘Zorro: Sacrilege.’ Issue # 1 of this third Zorro title may already be in stores, now!

Finally, there is a new Zorro prose/text novel out entitled ‘Zorro and The Little Devil’, by author Peter David.
I bought it and read it, and it was fantastic!

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