Part 1 -- A Hero Springs into Action
We all know why we costume. It's because we want to wear dashing, romantic clothes so people can see the dashing, romantic figures we know we are. What could be better than a weekend with capes, masks, and heroics? NO, we're not talking about Gotham City. Think bucolic instead of bustling. Swords instead of science fiction. Caves instead of...oh wait, they both have caves. It was too hard to arrange a sailing ship so that we could play at being pirates, so we got a hacienda instead. Join us in Old California as we visit the original millionaire masked crime-fighter. A different kind of caped crusader. Welcome to "The Masque of Zorro!"
Tyrone Power as Zorro Now, there may be those saying "Zorro?! Historically accurate 1830's clothes are clunky, not particularly attractive, and I don't have any!" That's the beauty of "Zorro." It's Hollywood. Always has been. Always will be. That's not to say that we won't welcome your handwoven, handstitched and hand-stayed selves with open arms and admiration. It just means that you could end up dining with someone in gold lame and dingle-bobs. And you'd both be entirely in theme.

Zorro was created by writer Johnston McCulley in 1919 for his serialized novel "The Curse of Capistrano." Within a year, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. turned it into the smash hit "The Mark of Zorro." The rest was history.

"Zorro" had everything...downtrodden masses, evil oppressors, and the privileged son who, seeing the plight of the people, decided to do something about it. Its frontier setting lent it an air of authenticity which persists to this day. (Plus it had masks and capes--we can't forget the masks and capes.) It was a pulp novel, but it was a romantic pulp novel that appealed to everyone, all ages, men and women alike.

On the face of it, McCulley hadn't created anything radical and new. Zorro is the Scarlet Pimpernel, fighting for the peasants instead of for the aristos. But to a nation of immigrants trying to create a place for themselves, this hero for the common man struck a chord that Baroness Orczy's Sir Percy never could. 65 McCulley novels, dozens of films, three television series, several cartoons, and uncounted comic books later, the Fox is still going strong.

George Hamilton and his twin brother George Hamiltion as Zorro

In keeping with the varied pedigree of El Zorro, The Masque of Zorro will not, logically enough, be a historically rigorous reenactment. It will, however, be a lot of fun.

The venue, the Hacienda Lodge near Jolon, was built in 1929 for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan. Designed in Spanish Colonial Revival style, reminiscent of an early California hacienda, it was originally built to house some of his ranch workers (the "cowboy" rooms in the hotel pay testament to that function), but was also used as a hunting lodge and party site for guests including such notables as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Leslie Howard, Teddy Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover. Our Hollywood-inspired event should be right at home!
The property is now part of the Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation, and run as a public hotel for the military by manager Roger D. McClendon. Guests staying at the hotel will have access to a variety of amenities (to quote the Hacienda's website, "Activities available include swimming, tennis, hiking, bowling and a theatre nearby. The Mission San Antonio de Padua is a short walk away.").

In addition, we will be having our own assortment of entertainments:

Friday night, in honor of the creation of Zorro, and in reflection of the history of the Hacienda, we invite you to join us in the Hacienda Lounge for a no-host Hollywood cocktail party. Early twentieth-century (late 'teens, 20s, and 30s) evening attire is the theme for the night. If you don't have the real thing, just borrow your favorite approximation from the studio's Wardrobe Department (or your closet) and wear that. We have reserved every room in the hotel, so this should be quite the swanky little soiree.

Saturday during the day, Hacienda guests may, of course, avail themselves of the hotel's amenities. In addition, we have collected 4 (widely assorted) different film versions of Zorro, which we invite you to enjoy in our own private screening.

Saturday night we will have our grand Zorro Banquet. Californio or Zorro-inspired attire is the mode of the evening -- and remember there are many different versions of The Fox from which to draw inspiration. Hotel manager Roger McClendon is an accomplished chef, and has promised us a memorable meal. In the garden we will be playing an assortment of amusing party games inspired by Zorro and our location; there will be opportunities for guests both athletic and indolent to join in the mischief. Do not be surprised if the strains of a mariachi band provide an aural backdrop to the evening...

Sunday, Roger has promised us a scrumptious box lunch for our walk to nearby Mission San Antonio de Padua for our picnic meal. Again, historic Californio or Zorro-inspired attire is the mode. While we visit, please remember that the mission is still home to an active parish and be respectful guests.

We hope this will provide a relaxing and pleasant end to our weekend's swashbucklingly silly good time.

Kevin Roche and Karen Tully

For further information, we suggest:
  • The Zorro Productions, Inc website
  • The Face of Zorro, by Luiz Valdez. The web-zine Mothers Who Think had this wonderful article about Zorro and history, a subject upon which we have only briefly touched here.
  • Information and history about the Hearst Hacienda Lodge (this is the Hacienda's website)
  • Pelican Network site about the Hearst Hacienda Lodge and area.
  • Pelican Network site about the Mission San Antonio

The meals-only package for this event (the Zorro Banquet plus the picnic lunch) will cost $65. Those staying at the Hacienda will pay that plus the standard rate for their room. While all rooms at the lodge are currently sold, the reservation does have a primitive campground which is available, and there are motels in King City, about 25 miles away. For guests staying at the Hacienda, continental breakfast is also part of the meal package. The hotel management has agreed that our guests who choose to camp at the HLMR campground may use the toilet and shower facilities at the Hacienda.

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On to Part II: The Fox has Two Faces

Accommodations and Rates

We oughta be in pictures!  Photos from the event

The name Zorro is a registered trademark of Zorro Productions, Inc. Used with permission