Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Black Whip

Awhile back my husband got a boxed set of old 1940s serials. Zorro, Tarzan, Robin Hood, and Long John Silver. When I was checking the cases to make sure they all had our stickers in them I discovered something I'd never seen before. Zorro's Black Whip. Ever heard of it? It aired in 1944 and starred the "popular action star" Linda Stirling. I'm only a few minutes into the second episode of twelve but I can tell you this - the character is gutsy, athletic, and capable. She's already had to get her Fed buddy Vic (George Lewis) out of trouble twice. Yes, she's allowed to be the real hero, not just the girl in the mask.

The fact that Stirling's career was based on this sort of character in the 40s makes me think that there is more empowered-female storytelling out there. Where can I find it? Why has it been suppressed? This is the sort of thing that I would have eaten UP when I was a little girl. Horses, guns, saving your man, and kicking the bad guys butts! Give me more, even with the cheese-factor. (Come on, 40s serials are inherently cheesy.)

Aside from my own enjoyment of this sort of story, I'd like to point out that this is a 60 year old series that starred a woman and a Latino (Lewis was born in Guadalajara). They are the good guys, working together in 1889 to defeat corrupt cronies that are trying to keep Idaho out of statehood so that they can continue their wicked crony ways.

I'd write more about it, but Vic just got himself in trouble again and I need to see how the Black Whip gets him out of it. Otherwise he's gonna HANG for stealin' money.

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