Z is for — Zorro, from Johnston McCulley’s classic adventure, The Mark of Zorro
Swish, swish, swish. Three flicks of the blade carve the infamous Z as Zorro leaves his mark on another adversary. Dressed all in black, his face hidden behind a black mask, the legendary hero of 1820s Spanish California rides to the rescue of the poor and oppressed, fighting injustice like a Robin Hood of the old west. Don Diego de la Vega, nobleman and wealthy landowner, plays the vapid fop in public while hiding his secret identity as the masked highwayman.
Zorro (Spanish for fox) was originally created by McCulley in 1919 as a five-part serialized story entitled The Curse of Capistrano — the nickname given Zorro by the corrupt politicians and soldiers for his constant bedeviling. The 1920 silent film with Douglas Fairbanks further popularized the tale. McCulley penned over 60 stories of the adventures of Zorro, and the character has since been immortalized in many other film and novel and television adaptations.
I always liked the Disney TV series with Guy Williams that originally ran from 1957 to 1959. I remember watching the reruns as I was growing up. I’ve also seen the 1920 Fairbanks movie and both movies with Antonio Banderas, from 1998 and 2005. On my to-be-watched list are the 1940 film with Tyrone Power, the 1990s series with Duncan Regehr, and some of the animated versions.
Best of all, though, I liked the Queen of Swords — Zorro with a twist: a female swordswoman in a black mask, fighting injustice in early 19th century Spanish California. The TV series with Tessie Santiago ran for one season from 2000 to 2001. Given the scarcity of female sword-wielding action heroes, I so wish it had run longer.
Tessie Santiago as Tessa Alvarado in
The Queen of Swords
Y is for — Yoda, Jedi Master from the Star Wars movies
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Such were the wise words of Yoda, legendary Jedi Master in George Lucas’ blockbuster film, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda wants Luke Skywalker to lift Luke’s X-wing fighter space ship out of a swamp, using the Force, a sort of mystical energy that permeates everything. A skeptical Luke says he will try, at which point Yoda utters his profound words. When Luke fails to raise the ship and gives up, saying it can’t be done, Yoda calmly and very easily raises it out the muck himself, proving that it can, indeed, be done.
Yoda is one of my favorite characters from the original Star Wars saga. Small, green, and wizened, he is a wonderful blend of wisdom, humor, and inner strength — a formidable opponent of the Dark Side. No one knows exactly what he is. His species and origin have never been revealed. In The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Yoda is actually a puppet, voiced and performed by Frank Oz, the man behind Muppets Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear, and Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover from Sesame Street.
Yoda’s nuggets of wisdom and manner of speech (“When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.” Return of the Jedi) are instantly recognizable, even by many who’ve never seen the Star Wars movies. Of all Yoda’s famous quotes, I like best “Do or do not. There is no try.” Very inspirational to me it is.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
I’m excited and a little nervous. This will be my first A to Z Challenge, and for someone who only started blogging less than a month ago, it seems like a huge undertaking. To blog every day for a month. I think I can do it, though. I’m going to give it my best try.
I know I missed the official “Theme Reveal” day, so I’m going to do it today instead. My theme for the Challenge will be “Fictional Favorites.” Each day, I’ll choose a fictional character or two, from books, movies, TV, etc., that start with the appropriate letter and write about why I like them and/or what makes them special to me. It’s been fun coming up with a list, though that in itself has been a bit of a challenge, too — there are just too many characters from which to choose!
Only three more days to go. I’ve got to get writing!