(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above - the title lobby card from THE GIRL FROM SAN LORENZO (United Artists, 1950), Renaldo's last as the movie Cisco Kid ... and the last of the B grade Cisco films.
In 1945, he was tapped to star in a Monogram series as the Cisco Kid, starting with THE CISCO KID RETURNS. The series was abbreviated, having only two other titles --- SOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE and IN OLD NEW MEXICO. Martin Garralaga originated the role of Pancho on the screen (it had been created earlier on a radio series featuring the Cisco Kid).
The character had its origin in a 1907 magazine story by O. Henry called THE CABALLERO'S WAY, in which the Cisco Kid not only is not Mexican (he seems patterned on the U.S. outlaw, Billy the Kid) but is not the hero, although he is triumphant. He is, in fact, a rather ruthless individual who calculatingly arranges for his sweetheart, who betrays him to a ranger, to take the bullet meant for him. The character was first adapted for silent movies, with an actor named Herbert Stanley Dunn in the role. The first sound version featured Warner Baxter in IN OLD ARIZONA (1929) and cleaned up the character quite a bit. Baxter reprised the role in two more movies, and Cesar Romero (who had appeared as one of Baxter's pals in his last Cisco outing in 1939) took over the role in THE CISCO KID AND THE LADY (1939). Romero continued the role for six films at 20th Century Fox through RIDE ON VAQUERO (1941) when Fox relinquished the property.
Monogram grabbed it three years later, and gave Duncan Renaldo the role with which he would be identified forever. Supposedly Renaldo had input into the characterization, and wanted to do away with its shady side. He suggested that the Pancho character be like that of Pancho Sanza, the comic sidekick to Cervantes' classic DON QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA.
But there was an interim Cisco, starting in 1946 with THE GAY CAVALIER. Monogram starred Gilbert Roland in the role as Cisco and did away with Pancho (although there would be sidekicks by other names). Roland smoked cigarettes (which he often parked behind one ear), enjoyed tequila, and proved an exciting if less savory B-western hero through his sixth Cisco picture, KING OF THE BANDITS (1947).
(From Old Corral image collection)
Monogram's other Cisco Kid was Gilbert Roland, shown above with helper Chris-Pin Martin in a lobby card from KING OF THE BANDITS (Monogram, 1947), the last appearance of Gilbert Roland as Cisco and Monogram's last Cisco Kid film.
Duncan Renaldo, during those years, appeared in several non-series films, and wrote some screenplays as Renault Duncan: DON RICARDO RETURNS (1946) and BELLS OF SAN FERNANDO (1947).
Phil Krasne was the key figure in resurrecting Cisco yet again, this time at United Artists. Renaldo came back to the role, shaving off his mustache, and made the first clean-shaven Cisco a do-gooder rather than a carefree bandit. Leo Carrillo (1881-1961), who had already had a long career in films, became the new and best-known Pancho.
With one exception (THE CAPTURE, a 1950 detective picture with Lew Ayers and Teresa Wright), Duncan Renaldo would play Cisco for the rest of his career. The movie series started with THE VALIANT HOMBRE (1948), THE GAY AMIGO, THE DARING CABALLERO and SATAN'S CRADLE (1949) and THE GIRL FROM SAN LORENZO (1950). Cisco had ridden a palomino named Diablo in his earlier threesome, and kept the name for his paint horse in the later movies and TV series. Pancho got a palomino named Loco. As with the Pancho character himself, the horses' names came out of the radio series.
The final Cisco movie sequed nicely into the TV series, which was shot in color (which would come in handy once color television came along). The series featured many actors and actresses previously seen in B-westerns, and produced 156 half-hour shows. The show continued even when Renaldo was injured during the fourth season in 1953-54 in a rock fall and hospitalized through nine episodes (the producers had Cisco wearing masks, disguised as a ghost and other gimmicks where they could use doubles. They had Renaldo record his lines from the hospital, and inserted previously-shot footage of him). The sixth season proved the final outing for the show, although it has been popular in re-runs.
Cisco's only other appearance has been in the 1993 Turner Pictures TV movie, THE CISCO KID, with Jimmy Smits and Cheech Marin as Cisco and Pancho.
Renaldo retired at the end of the TV series, and died in Goleta Valley Community Hospital of lung cancer at the estimated age of 76.
Despite the TNT-TV movie, Duncan Renaldo remains the definitive Cisco Kid to most of us.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above - the title lobby card from IN OLD NEW MEXICO (Monogram, 1945) ... with Renaldo wearing a moustache.
(From Old Corral image collection)
Above, Duncan Renaldo at United Artists ... with no moustache.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is a crop from a lobby card from DON RICARDO RETURNS (PRC, 1946) crediting "Renault Duncan" as associate producer and co-author of the screenplay. "Renault Duncan" was Duncan Renaldo.
(From Old Corral image collection)
Above right are Duncan Renaldo as the Cisco Kid, and Leo Carrillo (1881-1961) as Pancho during their work on the Cisco films. Renaldo's hoss was named Diablo and Carrillo's palomino was named Loco. Renaldo rode several hosses during his reign as the movie and TV Cisco Kid, including a white during the series at Monogram Pictures.
(Photo courtesy of Joe Taylor & Patty Corbett)
Above, the Red Birds country-western singing group with Duncan Renaldo, at Buck Lake Ranch near Fort Wayne, Indiana, circa 1955. The Red Birds noted that Renaldo was soft spoken, beautifully costumed, and the ultimate gentleman, and they were impressed by his gentle manner and gracious treatment of his audience/fans.
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
• Most of the info on the Old Corral about the contracts and salaries at Republic Pictures has been gleaned from Jack Mathis' excellent Republic Confidential, Volume 2, The Players (Jack Mathis Advertising, 1992), and I've given Jack credit in the Acknowledgements & Thanks page. Renaldo's credits at Republic Pictures numbers about two dozen films from 1937-1944, of which seven were serials and the remainder being B westerns. Apparently, Renaldo was under standard 'picture commitment' contracts at Republic during most of this time (x dollars for x days/weeks work on picture y). During his Three Mesquiteers work, Republic opted to put him under a Term Player Contract, and the agreement(s) ran from October 2, 1939 through October 1, 1940. This simply meant that for security and a regular paycheck, Republic could utilize him as much as they wanted.
• You may want to visit the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then link to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: Duncan Renaldo, birthdate of 4/23/1904, and he passed away on 9/3/1980. His Mother's maiden name and Father's last name are not listed. There is no record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), apparently because the family did not file for the death benefit. Services were held for Renaldo on Friday evening, September 5, 1980 at The Mission At Santa Barbara. The funeral program included the following (italics added): "Dignity can be defined as nobleness, excellence, character which inspires or commands respect. There is no better description of Duncan Renaldo."
• Rick Albright checked the 1930 online census database for Renaldo and found the following info:
"... after several previous failed attempts to find him in the 1930 California census, I hit pay dirt. By varying spellings of his name I found him listed as DUNCAN RENALDS, possibly a writing error by the census official. His age is given as 25, as it should be, and it says he was married at age 20 but by 1930 was divorced. His occupation is listed as 'actor/motion pictures'. He was living at 1737 North Whitley Ave., Los Angeles, as were many other unrelated people. I assume this was a hotel or large boarding house. He was paying $100 per month rent, pretty hefty for the Depression. Best of all, he told the census taker he was BORN IN NEW JERSEY, and that one parent was also born in NEW JERSEY and the other in SPAIN. Of course, he may have fibbed but if not, his jailing on immigration charges would seem to have been a bogus conviction."
The Cisco Kid radio show ran from about 1942 through the mid 1950s, and was heard over the MBS (Mutual Broadcasting System), the Don Lee Network (California), and via syndication. In the early version, Jackson Beck was Cisco and Louis Sorin played Pancho. In the later episodes, Jack Mather was Cisco and his sidekick (Pancho/Porfirio) was played by Harry Lang and Mel Blanc. Jerry Haendiges has an Old Time Radio (OTR) site which has a bunch of logs/listings of radio shows. The log notes there were over 600 shows in the Mather series: http://www.otrsite.com/logs/logc1024.htm
The Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo Cisco Kid TV show consisted of 156 half-hour episodes filmed during 1949-1956. It was syndicated and filmed in color and was a production of Frederick W. Ziv's Ziv Television Programs company. The opening had Renaldo (on Diablo) and Carrillo (on Loco) riding hard against a dusty and cactus strewn backdrop with an exciting musical score in the background - "The Cisco Kid Theme" was written by Albert Glasser. The introduction on the TV show was also memorable: "Here's adventure! Here's romance! Here's O. Henry's famous Robin Hood of the old west - The Cisco Kid!"
In addition to THE CISCO KID, Frederick Ziv did a bunch of radio and many 1950s syndicated and network TV shows including HIGHWAY PATROL, BAT MASTERSON, SEA HUNT and SCIENCE FICTION THEATER. More info on Ziv is at: http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=zivtelevisio
The Cisco Kid Comic Books
As with most western film and TV heroes, there was a comic book series.
You'll find some additional information and photos of Duncan Renaldo on the Cisco Kid page on the Old Corral.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo:
Duncan Renaldo: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0719121/
Leo Carrillo: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0140504/
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website - Duncan Renaldo is interred at Calvary Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5329
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website - Leo Carrillo is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5784
The Classic TV Themes website is a great reference source on the music used on old TV shows. The opening theme music to the Cisco Kid TV series was written by Albert Glasser (1916-1998). Glasser did music work at Republic Pictures in the early 1940s. This was followed by conducting and/or music composing on the Cisco Kid films, Russell Hayden mountie adventures, and Don Barry westerns churned out by Lippert. In the mid 1950s, Glasser was composing and conducting on Sci-Fi films for director Bert I. Gordon and American-International (THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN (1957), THE CYCLOPS (1957), ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE (1958), more). More on the Cisco Kid TV theme at: http://www.classicthemes.com/50sTVThemes/themePages/ciscoKid.html
Following are some articles by Utah historian D. Robert Carter about movie heroine Edwina Booth, and there's a lot of info about Harry Carey, Sr., Duncan Renaldo and the filming of TRADER HORN (MGM, 1931). The writeups also include details on the 1931 alienation of affection lawsuit brought by Renaldo's wife Suzette (regarding a romance between Booth and Renaldo) as well as comments about Renaldo's arrest and jailing for illegal entry and for falsely testifying that he was born in Camden, New Jersey in order to obtain a passport.
Another article on Booth, Renaldo, Carey and TRADER HORN (MGM, 1931) was authored by Byron Riggan: http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1968/4/1968_4_38.shtml
Duncan Renaldo's gunbelt, costume, and many other artifacts and memorabilia were donated to the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Laramie, Wyoming. More info is available at:
The Leo Carrillo Ranch is located in Carlsbad, California and is designated as an historic landmark: http://www.carrillo-ranch.org/
The original Cisco Kid character, as created by William Sydney Porter (using the name O. Henry), was a pretty mean hombre, and you can read a bit more about this at the Nostalgia League website at: http://thenostalgialeague.com/olmag/cisco.html, and the Brock University 'Great Books' quiz page at: http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~tmulligan/taro/quiz243.html
Tom Yanul's father was a Chicago motorcycle police officer who escorted Duncan Renaldo during a visit in 1951. Some nice photos at: http://www.thomasyanul.com/index4yanul.html
The Tacoma Public Library website has a great photo of Renaldo visiting children at the Cushman Indian Hospital: http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/southsound/southsound.asp?now=24-October-2007
The 'Whirligig' website in the UK has a page on the Renaldo/Carrillo Cisco Kid TV show, including the opening and closing themes: http://www.whirligig-tv.co.uk/tv/children/westerns/ciscokid.htm
Want to see if Duncan Renaldo - or your fav western hero - is enshrined on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame? Search the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce / Walk Of Fame website at: http://www.walkoffame.com