A thrill-a minute ride set in the days of Spanish colonialism in California, where thugs and greedy tyrants try to wrest every penny from peasants . . . and the one hero who defends the common man is the mysterious masked stranger who calls himself Zorro--The Fox!
The first Zorro story appeared as a 5-part serial in All-Story Weekly, a famous American pulp fiction magazine, starting in the August 9, 1919 issue. In a case of fortunate timing, Douglas Fairbanks, the silent movie star, was in the process of trying to change his image at the time, and he chose Zorro as his next starring role.
In 1920, when the romantic swashbuckler debuted, it set movie box office records. Riot police had to disperse the huge crowds that showed up at the New York opening.
Zorro entered the public consciousness and is now a part of popular culture, the same as such heroes as Superman, Tarzan, and The Lone Ranger. The rest is history.