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The Curse of Capistrano: The Mark of Zorro Paperback – September 30, 2013

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Johnston McCulley (1883-1958) was the author of hundreds of stories, fifty novels, numerous screenplays for film and television, and the creator of the character Zorro. Many of his novels and stories were written under the pseudonyms Harrison Strong, Raley Brien, George Drayne, Monica Morton, Rowena Raley, Frederic Phelps, Walter Pierson, and John Mack Stone, among others. He started as a police reporter for The Police Gazette and served as an Army public affairs officer during World War I. An amateur history buff, he went on to a career in pulp fiction and screenplays, often using a Southern California backdrop for his stories. Aside from Zorro, McCulley created many other pulp characters, including Black Star, The Mongoose, and Thubway Tham. Many of McCulley’s characters-the Green Ghost, the Thunderbolt, and the Crimson Clown-were inspirations for the masked heroes that have appeared in popular culture from McCulley’s time to the present day.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492853623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492853626
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,146,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard Askenase on October 12, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first/original pulp novella which introduced the legendary character Zorro. Published as a serial in 1919, Douglas Fairbanks used it as the basis of his silent classic movie. Later McCulley wrote several sequels.
As a long time fan of pulp fiction, I was VERY pleasantly surprised at what an entertaining read this was. Rather than the sometime turgid, overblown prose of other pulps, this was light, breezy and fun. It had a slight comic flair- not at all too serious.
Don Diego Vega is Zorro (although we never see him change from one persona/costume to another in the book). He is fighting the evil governor and Captain Ramon, also Sargeant Gonzalez who blusters about his fencing prowess. Meanwhile, Zorro wooes the lovely Lolita, who has already rejected the foppish Don Diego. A one shot story (not intended to launch a series), it is fairly romantic and quite a joy. Highly recommended.
Kindle comments: The formatting is fine, but there are a fair number of typos- about 1 every 5 pages. Not a problem, though.
I must comment on some of the lesser known movie versions. The original silent is very entertaining, and a good intro to silent films The Mark of Zorro The serial featuring Reed Hadley, is particularly excellent, and, also, a good intro to the movie serials. Zorro's Fighting Legion - The Complete Serial There is even a female Zorro in another serial, which is fair. Zorro's Black Whip - Volumes 1 & 2 (Complete Serial) (2-DVD). There was a recent live action TV series that was very good, but I do not believe that it has been released on video.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Stanger on December 31, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was really good, but had a few typos. Nothing to take away from understanding it though. Unlike other versions in print, it has all its pages (added in italics). All together a great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I fell in love with Disney's Zorro back in the 1950's. Over the years, thru diligent searching, I was able to see the silent version of the movie starring Douglas Fairbanks, the 1940's version starring Tyrone Power & the 1970(?)'s version with Frank Langella. Loved them all & always wanted to read the book that inspired them. I stumbled on the book in a Goodwill resale shop years ago & loved it as well. The book was lost in a flood & I was pleased to be able to replace it thru Amazon. It is now also on my Kindle so I can reread it often & wherever I am. This is the one that started it all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bernie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
In 1820s Los Angeles the Governor and his supporters make life hard on the caballeros, natives and monks; even high born women feel his wrath. Only one brave soul stands up against the injustice. That is Zorro the fox. Can he turn the tide and wake the caballeros, who just want to drink and party, to their true calling as defenders of the people. Or will he eventually get caught ad brought to the Governor’s Justus as the scoundrel that he is?

To spice things up there is the young Lolita Pulido who is torn three ways between, Don Diego Vega, Capitán Juan Ramon and Zorro. It is said that once a Pulido gives her heart she can never love another.

Johnston McCulley wrote this story as a series originally titled as “The Curse of Capistrano” and as you read it you can see where he left a few cliffhangers between chapters. This story will be wrapped up enough that you will not have to buy the next book unless you want to. The wording and descriptions are excellent. And he seems to have lived at the time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elliot on October 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good, but not great, vintage adventure story. Zorro's "secret" identity will be painfully obvious to anyone over the age of six, even if you have never seen any of the film or TV versions. There are some good action sequences, though the characterization is slapdash and I did not get a real sense of historical verisimilitude. An OK story, but not nearly as well-written as some other adventure yarns from the same era, such as Captain Blood or The Scarlet Pimpernel.

This Kindle edition, however, is full of annoying typos and other flaws (at one point, the text switches from regular type to italics and back again for no apparent reason), and the first half of Chapter 2 (where Don Diego makes his first appearance) is missing.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In 1820s Los Angeles the Governor and his supporters make life hard on the caballeros, natives and monks; even high born women feel his wrath. Only one brave soul stands up against the injustice. That is Zorro the fox. Can he turn the tide and wake the caballeros, who just want to drink and party, to their true calling as defenders of the people. Or will he eventually get caught ad brought to the Governor's Justus as the scoundrel that he is?

To spice things up there is the young Lolita Pulido who is torn three ways between, Don Diego Vega, Capitán Juan Ramon, and Zorro. It is said that once a Pulido gives her heart she can never love another.

Johnston McCulley wrote this story as a series originally titled as "The Curse of Capistrano" and as you read it you can see where he left a few cliffhangers between chapters. This story will be wrapped up enough that you will not have to buy the next book unless you want to. The wording and descriptions are excellent. And he seems to have lived at the time.

Not that I have anything against reading but it was a lot of fun listening to the MP3 unabridged version read by Armando Duran. He did a good job of separating the characters however I wonder where he got the accent.

My first introduction to Zorro was not the acclaimed (1920) Douglas Fairbanks version, but the Walt Disney version with Guy Williams as Zorro (1957-1962).

One of the most impressive versions is Zorro, the Gay Blade (2001).
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