The Cisco Kid #

The Cisco Kid #6

Both Cisco Kid and Durango Kid are heroic Western characters who fought for justice and defended the innocent as contemporaries in popular culture during the 1950’s. 

Cisco Kid was a Mexican-American cowboy who rode the range with his sidekick Pancho, while the Durango Kid was a masked vigilante who often fought alone. Additionally, the Cisco Kid was primarily a radio and television character, while the Durango Kid was primarily a movie character who was also adapted into comic book form.

The Return of the Cisco Kid (1939)

The Return of the Cisco Kid (1939)

“The Cisco Kid” originated in a 1907 short story by O. Henry. He is a courageous vaquero who rides trusty horse Diablo through the Old West, protecting the vulnerable and challenging tyranny. The character became particularly popular through a series of television shows that aired from 1950 to 1956. It starred Duncan Renaldo as Cisco and Leo Carillo as his jovial sidekick, Pancho. Pancho is the common nickname for Francisco, and Cisco is the ending of Francisco. The series was based on the popular radio show of the same name, which had aired since the 1940s.  

A love interest, Carmelita, appeared in a few episodes.  But the show primarily followed the adventures of Cisco and Pancho as they traveled through the Old West, righting wrongs and fighting injustice. Cisco was known for his charm, wit, and bravery, while Pancho provided comic relief with his humorous antics and use of malapropisms.

It was one of the first TV Westerns to be filmed in color and the show’s theme song, “The Ballad of The Cisco Kid,” became a popular hit.  Even the characters’ catchphrases, such as “Oh, Poncho! Oh, Cisco!” became well-known phrases in popular culture.

For 40 issues from 1951 to 1958 Dell Comics published a series of Cisco Kid comic books based on the TV series.

Durango Kid #3 - Lois Stewart Collection

Durango Kid #3 – Lois Stewart Collection

The Durango Kid was another popular fictional Western character who appeared in movies and comic books in the 1940s and 1950s. The character was played by actor Charles Starrett, who portrayed the masked vigilante in more than 60 films between 1940 and 1952.

The Durango Kid was known for his black outfit and mask, which he used to disguise himself while shielding the helpless and defending the rights of the oppressed. Like other Western heroes of the time, he was a skilled rider and sharpshooter, and he often used his wits to outsmart his foes.

Quick on the Trigger (1948)

Quick on the Trigger (1948)

The Durango Kid character was adapted into comic book form, with the first issue of his own series being published by Magazine Enterprises in 1949 titled “Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid.”  The comic series ran for 41 issues to 1955. 

One of the interesting things about the Durango Kid character is that his true identity was never revealed in the movies. This allowed the character to maintain an air of mystery and intrigue, which added to his appeal.

“Jenny Lee” appeared in several of the Durango Kid films as a love interest. But alas, his focus, like that of the Cisco Kid, was primarily on his adventures and his fight for justice rather than his romantic pursuits.

“Oh, Cisco!”