Walt Disney was a genius.
That's always important to remember, and easy to forget on any conscious level. At this point, "Walt Disney" is a corporation, a corner of pop culture that is ubiquitous. But before that, before the parks, before his name became a brand, Walt Disney was a genius. And for someone who grew up after the real heyday of Walt as an onscreen figure, there are things I simply never knew.
One of the greatest things about the Walt Disney Treasures series is that they offer up collections of what I would call the ephemera of Walt's career, things that don't necessarily have the same sort of awareness now that they once did, but that were key steps along the way. Like many of the things that Walt Disney was associated with, "Zorro" was not created by him, but when Disney got around to telling his version, he did it in a way that staked a certain ownership on the character for an entire generation. The "Zorro" series that premiered in 1957 was hugely influential to young audiences at the time, and I know a whoooole lotta film geeks who were kids then who have fond memories of that show. They know the theme song. To them, Guy Williams was the gold standard that they'll compare any other Zorro to, forever. For an older generation, Douglas Fairbanks was Zorro. To the generation between, it's Tyrone Powers. My sons are just the right age for the adventures of Zorro, and when trying to decide where to start them, I decided that Disney was the right way in.
Each season of the show comes in a separate oversize tin case. "Zorro: The Complete First Season, 1957 - 1958" is a hefty six-disc collection, featuring all 39 episodes of the first season of the show as well as two one-hour episodes of the show produced after the second season ended, both of which aired originally on "Walt Disney Presents." They're all remastered, and they are as impressive as any black and white film from the '50s, crisp and clean and genuinely sort of amazing, especially for the time. Disney spent a ton of money on this film, and as a weekly production, it looks better than a lot of modern shows. Matte paintings, major stunt sequences, tons of extras, expert swordfighting... the show has it all, week after week.