1958 Chordettes – Zorro
While most of us may associate the character Zorro with the Walt Disney television series from the last fifties, his history goes back to 1919. Johnston McCulley wrote the novel The Curse of Capistrano and the magazine All-Story Weekly serialized. He then published the complete novel, which has sold an astonishing fifty million copies.
The popularity of that novel and the short stories and novels that followed led to over forty films and ten different television shows!
Walt Disney produced two seasons of their Zorro television show beginning in 1957, airing 39 episodes each year.
Thurl Ravenscroft and Max Smith formed a singing quartet in 1948 that performed under various names, including The Mellomen. They sang backup for a long list of vocalists in the fifties and became responsible for many of the vocals on Disney productions.
Norman Foster and George Bruns wrote the theme song for Zorro and the Mellomen recorded the version used on the show.
Four women in Wisconsin formed the Chordettes in 1946. They sang together in local shows but got their big break in 1949 when they won a singing competition on Arthur Godfrey’s radio program Talent Scouts. The group became regulars on the Arthur Godfrey shows and broke through to national prominence with their chart-topping single Mr. Sandman in 1954.
The Chordettes recorded a longer version of the Zorro theme and their single reached #17 on the Hot 100 in 1958.
The group not only appeared on American Bandstand that year, but they also appeared in a sketch on The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show that included an actor in a Zorro costume.
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