The Cisco Kid's popularity dates all the way back to a short story written by O. Henry in 1907. Though in the story, "The Caballero's Way," The Cisco Kid was depicted as a criminal, he later went on to be a prominent Western character in comic books, radio shows and a television series as a Robin Hood of the Old West.
The original story follows a 25-year-old desperado being hunted by a Texas Ranger on the Texas-Mexico border. Hollywood decided to age up the lead character and make him one of the good guys. The first on-screen depiction was in the 1914 silent film The Caballero's Way. There have been 28 film versions of the story with multiple actors portraying the Kid over the years, most notably Warner Baxter, Cesar Romero, Duncan Renaldo and Gilbert Roland. The most recent depiction of the character was a TV film starring Jimmy Smits, with Cheech Marin as Pancho.
Throughout the 40s, The Cisco Kid became a popular radio show directed towards young children, with different versions running hundreds of episodes from 1942-1956. There were often corny jokes between Pancho and the Kid as they fought the bad guys in each episode. There was even a comic book that hit newsstands in 1944 followed by 41 issues that ran through the 50s as well as a recent series of graphic novels that follows the Kid and other popular western characters.
In addition to multiple films, Duncan Renaldo played the Kid on a TV series with Leo Carrillo starring as his sidekick Pancho. The show was one of the earliest Westerns to be directed towards a younger audience. Each episode was filmed with humor as Pancho and the Kid rode their horses, Loco and Diablo, avenging the poor and fighting bad guys throughout the Wild West. Though Renaldo was in his 50s and Carrillo in his 70s while the show was filming, they nailed the popular characters, with their onscreen chemistry making the show really stand out to viewers. The Mexican adventurer's story was incredibly popular and was one of the few shows in the 50s to be filmed in color.
From his journey throughout films and TV shows, The Cisco Kid is undoubtedly one of the great western characters alongside The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy. He's one that stands the test of time and hopefully has a reboot in his future for modern audiences.