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by Bob Stepno
The Cisco Kid was one of the “juvenile”cowboy series that made the jump from radio to television. In both incarnations, he was a six-gun Robin Hood, usually coming to the aid of damsels in distress — but now and then settling for a journalist in distress.
The television episode “Newspaper Crusader” from December, 1950, is shared as a public domain video on various websites, including Hulu and YouTube, where an introduction is provided by Bob Terry of Wild West Toys cap guns.
In the radio series, a newspaper crusader had already saved the Cisco Kid’s life when his Cottonwood Bluffs paper needed help after taking on a whole town founded by outlaws, in the episode Convict Valley.
In the tradition of Saturday matinee and feature-film Westerns, the frontier town has an editor with more gumption than the local sheriff, and prints an editorial calling on his neighbors to arm themselves and drive out the outlaws.
Thanks to Cisco and his partner Pancho, this editor doesn’t have to strap on a gun himself. They knock him out and have him carried away for his own safety.
However, unlike the movie villain in “Liberty Valance,” the bully is no single-handed quickdraw type waiting for Cisco to play John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart. Since the bad guy has a whole gang of outlaws, but Cisco uses his charisma to convince the honest townspeople to fight the bad guys, as originally proposed in the newspaper editorial.
Pioneer radio collector J. David Goldin’s summary index of episodes includes what sounds like a similar story, “The Cisco Kid and The Fighting Editor,” unfortunately not available in the Archive.org collection. Jerry Haendiges log also lists the episode, dating it Sept. 16, 1952. Here’s how Goldin describes the story:
“A newspaper editor is shot for printing the truth about a crooked gambling saloon. Cisco helps print the next issue of ‘The Sentinel.'”
Not all frontier printers were public-spirited, according to the Cisco Kid writers. In Ghost Town Gazette, he comes to the aid of a father and daughter who have been taken in by a phony newspaper circulated to entice folks back East to buy worthless land.
Other heroic journalists may be lurking in other episodes of The Cisco Kid at the Internet Archive, which has several pages of Cisco Kid files uploaded by various collectors.