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Zorro: The Complete Second Season DVD Review - Page 2

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Zorro: Season 2 (1958-59)
Show & DVD Details

Directors: William Witney, Charles Barton / Repeat Writers: Lowell S. Hawley, Gene L. Coon, Robert Bloomfield, Bob Wehling; Johnston McCulley (stories) / Producer: William H. Anderson

Regular Cast: Guy Williams (Zorro/Don Diego de la Vega), Henry Calvin (Sergeant Demetrio Lopez Garcia), Gene Sheldon (Bernardo)

Recurring Characters: George J. Lewis (Don Alejandro de la Vega), Don Diamond (Corp. Reyes), Jolene Brand (Ana Maria Verdugo), Carlos Romero (Romero Serrano, Ansar), Eduard Franz (Seρor Gregorio Verdugo), Nestor Paiva (Innkeeper), John Litel (Governor), Cesar Romero (Estevan de la Cruz), Richard Anderson (Ricardo del Amo), Annette Funicello (Anita Cabrillo, Constancia), George N. Neise (Capitan Felipe Arrellanos), Barbara Luna (Theresa Modesto), Joan Evans (Leonar), Jeff York (Joe Crane), Jonathan Harris (Don Carlos Fernandez), Everett Sloane (Andres Felipe Basilio), Ric Roman (Capitan Briones), Robert J. Wilke (Capitan Mendoza), Perry Lopez (Joaquin Castenada), Edgar Barrier (Don Cornelio Esperon), Patricia Medina (Margarita), Gloria Talbott (Moneta Esperon), Jean Willes (Carlotta), Howard Wendell (Don Marcos Cortazar), Paul Richards (Hernando), Arthur Space (Rafael Gonzales), Ken Lynch (Pablo), Lloyd Corrigan (Sancho), Penny Santon (Cresencia), Douglas Kennedy (Manuel), Frank Wilcox (Luis Rico), Carlos Rivas (Ramondo Ruiz)

Notable Guest Stars: Lee Van Cleef (Antonio Castillo), Michael Forest (Anastacio), Whit Bissell (Comandante Luis del Guerro), John Hoyt (Don Thomas Yorba), Arthur Batanides (Lazaro), Harold J. Stone (Salvio), Mark Damon (Eugenio), Tige Andrews (Nava), Robert Vaughn (Miguel Roverto), Neil Hamilton (Don Hilario), John Zaremba (Magistrado), Tony Russo (Pedro Avila), Booth Colman (Pineda), Joseph Calleia (Padre Simeon), Alex Gerry (Don Sebastian), James Hong (The Prince), Richard Deacon (Father Ignacio), Fintan Meyler (Celesta Villagrana), Suzanne Lloyd (Isabella Linares), Ricardo Montalban (Ramon Castillo)

Running Time: 1,113 Minutes (18 hours, 33 minutes) / Rating: Not Rated

Season 2 Airdates: October 9, 1958 - July 2, 1959; Specials: January 1 - April 2, 1961
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio), Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled and Captioned
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
Six single-sided discs (5 DVD-9s & 1 DVD-5); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99

Buy Season 2 from Amazon.com • Buy Season 1 from Amazon.com


Disc 4

24. Zorro and the Mountain Man () (Originally aired March 19, 1959)

25. The Hound of the Sierras () (Originally aired March 26, 1959)

26. Manhunt () (Originally aired April 2, 1959)

27. The Man from Spain () (Originally aired April 9, 1959)

28. Treasure for the King () (Originally aired April 16, 1959)

29. Exposing the Tyrant () (Originally aired April 23, 1959)

30. Zorro Takes a Dare () (Originally aired April 30, 1959)

31. An Affair of Honor () (Originally aired May 7, 1959)

Disc 5

32. The Sergeant Sees Red () (Originally aired May 14, 1959)

33. Invitation to Death (Originally aired May 21, 1959)

34. The Captain Regrets (Originally aired May 28, 1959)

35. Masquerade for Murder (Originally aired June 4, 1959)

36. Long Live the Governor (Originally aired June 11, 1959)

37. The Fortune Teller (Originally aired June 18, 1959)

38. Seρor China Boy (Originally aired June 25, 1959)

39. Finders Keepers (Originally aired July 2, 1959)

Diego's got a thing for Ana Maria (Jolene Brand), as does Ricardo (not seen here), but her heart belongs only to Zorro. Sergeant Garcia (Henry Calvin) enjoys a typically hearty laugh. Just look at that face... you know you want to watch this show!

VIDEO and AUDIO

The Disney Channel went through this crazy phase in the '90s where they thought it was important to show things that weren't produced only in that decade. During that time, "Zorro" aired in the network's Vault Disney programming block, sometimes in black and white, sometimes in newly colorized versions. The Walt Disney Treasures sets present the show in its original black and white only.
While the colorized versions have fans, black and white is the way the show was created and intended to be seen. With six discs already devoted to this set alone, presenting an alternative colorized edition would have been unreasonable for something commanding only niche interest. Besides, as explained earlier in this review, the colorized versions are available on DVD for those who really want them.

The black and white transfers here are stunning. Appropriately presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen, the picture is sharp, clear, and contrasted. It is almost impossible to believe that this is a TV show dating back a half-century. The picture occasionally gets a little grainier than usual and the otherwise terrific opening title sequence is less polished than the rest of the show, exhibiting more grain and artifacts. Nevertheless, on the whole, this DVD provides yet another example of the outstanding restoration jobs that have largely defined the Walt Disney Treasures.

Audio is presented on a two-channel Dolby Mono track. There isn't much to be said for the track other than that it is always intelligible and clean. In either audio or video, there simply isn't more we could ask for on DVD.

Walt Disney tries his hand at the sword as he introduces the second of two hour-long  "Zorro" adventures found on the Season Two DVD. "Auld Acquaintance", the final Zorro tale, kicks off with a rousing musical number about payday.

BONUS FEATURES

Disc One opens with a skippable introduction by Leonard Maltin (3:28). It wouldn't be a Walt Disney Treasures set without a Maltin intro, so this is as welcome a bonus feature as any, even if it isn't billed as such. Here, he reflects on this childhood fondness for the show, some of the changes that Season Two brought, and some of the cast's work in other Disney productions. Finally, our host previews the rest of the supplementary material in the set. The intro is available from the main menu if you want to watch it again.

All of the four additional bonus features are found on Disc Six. First up are the final two of the four "Walt Disney Presents" episodes that became Disney's last foray into Zorro territory with Guy Williams behind the mask. When the rights dispute with ABC brought the regular series to an end, Disney announced six hour-long installments that would make for a substitute third season.
Only four of the six were made. The first two are on the Season One DVD. The final two are here, and they are:

The Postponed Wedding (49:04) (Originally aired January 1, 1961)
Constancia de la Torre (Annette Funicello) returns after ten years away, all grown up and ready to elope with a secret suitor. Zorro's having none of it, though, and he puts the heat on her would-be husband, fearing that the young man is only after her dowry.

Auld Acquaintance (49:08) (Originally aired April 2, 1961)
Diego welcomes to town his friend from the old days -- the days in which Diego was a renowned swordsman before downplaying his skills in order to protect Zorro's secrecy. It doesn't take long for the friend to see remnants of Diego's signature swordplay in the work of Zorro (apparently sword techniques are harder to disguise than a prominent mustache and a thick accent). When he makes his accusations public, Zorro's secret identity is endangered.

From what I can tell, both "Walt Disney Presents" episodes are seen in their entirety. The title logo plays, introducing the night's episode as a Frontierland one, and Walt Disney himself appears to set up the adventure about to unfold.

Buddy Van Horn, stunt double for Guy Williams' Zorro, reflects on Williams' on-set presence and his own work on the show in "Behind the Mask." Leonard Maltin gets a big kick out of Sgt. Garcia's "girth", holding up a plus-sized pair of pants here with Guy Williams Jr. The episode selection menu screen is designed with a "notice nailed to the wall" theme.

Aside from the bonus episodes, Disc Six contains two featurettes. The first is "Behind the Mask" (7:51), a solid if brief look at Guy Williams, the man and the actor, focusing primarily on his time with "Zorro". Sharing their memories are Zorro stunt double Buddy Van Horn and the star's son, Guy Williams, Jr.

Finally, "A Trip to the Archives" (10:55) finds Maltin and Guy Williams, Jr. admiring a number of Zorro costumes that have been preserved by the folks at The Walt Disney Archives. Once Maltin is done appraising Zorro's sash and Garcia's wide pants (he was a man of considerable girth, Maltin points out),
the two turn to an impressive array of Zorro merchandise from the show's heyday. This and all the other bonus features are quite enjoyable and valuable additions to the set.

MENUS and PACKAGING

The Walt Disney Treasures sets have always come inside collectible tins and this wave is no exception, though instead of the usual silver (and the one-time use of Gold a few years back), the tins here are black. The keepcase inside is too, though for the first time, the keepcase is a standard-sized one. The tin, meanwhile, is the same size it's always been. The six discs are housed on the inside panels of the keepcase and on two double-sided flaps in the center, so that one can flip through the discs like a book. So you've got a record-high disc count in a record-low keepcase size, all inside a tin that's the same size but a different color... go figure. For those who trash or store the tins and only put the keepcases on the shelves, conserving shelf space will have to be balanced against inconsistency in the visual display. Regardless, this set has a classy look about it.

Not everything to note about the packaging bucks tradition, however. In fact, this new wave returns to an old tradition that many have missed: the wrap-around cardboard band with signatures from Leonard Maltin and Roy Disney. On the back of the tin is a piece of cardboard replicating the back of the keepcase itself. Inside the tin is a flyer for Disney Blu-ray and D23, a Disney Movie Rewards Magic Code, a black and white publicity still of Zorro, and a collectible Disney pin (hooray, collectors!).

Inside the keepcase is a certificate of authenticity, telling you what number your DVD is among the 30,000 that were printed -- the lowest run of any Disney Treasures wave to date. There's also an eight page booklet that is tastefully designed and matches those found in other Treasures DVDs. In addition to mapping out all of the six discs' content, the booklet includes a write-up about Walt Disney and a letter from Leonard Maltin.

"Zorro" score plays over the stagnant black and white menu screens, which are 16x9-enhanced (another first in the Treasures line). The same menu scheme runs throughout all six discs.

This is something you'll see a lot in "Zorro": swordfighting. Sneakiness is one of Zorro's strongest powers.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Those willing to invest the attention and time that a full season of "Zorro" demands will almost certainly find something to like in the highly involving, impressively crafted storylines and detailed production. In packaging, content, print run, and length, this addition to the Walt Disney Treasures collection marks a substantial departure from tradition. The line's top-notch quality, however, hasn't taken any turns. Video quality is astounding, the audio is entirely sufficient, and the supplements are fantastic even if not abundant. While the list price is high, the six discs of excellent content justify it.

More on the DVD / Buy Season 2 from Amazon.com / Buy Season 1 from Amazon.com

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Reviewed November 10, 2009.