On this date, June 15, in 1925, the film Don Q: Son of Zorro was released tot he public. It became one of Douglas Fairbanks’s most successful films, a sequel to his fabulously popular Mark of Zorro that came out five years earlier. In the first film, Fairbanks played the part of Zorro, of course, pretty much inventing the action adventure hero that has been such a Hollywood staple ever since. His acrobatic feats–leaping off buildings, swinging from chandeliers, and dashing about with sword fights–astonished audiences who had never seen anything like it. Five years later, he was ready for Son of Zorro, where he plays the title role of the mysterious Don Q. To distinguish father from son, Fairbanks created the son as a master with the whip, rather than the sword. Learning this skill took him months of practice with an expert from Australia.
This film features prominently in the second book in my series, SILVER SCREEN MURDERS. Jessie has moved to Hollywood in this book and gotten a job as a lowly assistant script girl at Pickford-Fairbanks Studios where she works on the set of Son of Zorro. I wove some of the other characters into the story too, like Mary Astor who plays the love interest, and Lottie Pickford, Douglas’s sister-in-law, who has an important part as a servant girl. To get the details right, I ordered copies of both movies from Netflix and watched them several times, taking notes throughout. You can too. Or watch clips here: