Hammond, owner of the town's stagecoach
line and a leading citizen, is opposed to Idaho becoming a state,
and kills Randolph Meredith, owner of the town's newspaper, for
endorsing it. Meredith's sister Barbara, expert with a
bullwhip and pistol, dons a black costume and mask and becomes "The
Black Whip," dealing a blow to Hammond and his gang each time they
perform some heinous act in their efforts to keep the town, and
their power over it, unchanged. Aided by government agent Vic
Gordon, Barbara confronts Hammond in a final showdown just as the
town votes on whether or not to accept statehood.
In Zorro's Black Whip, the word Zorro never occurs, but a
female who behaves like Don Diego in Idaho fights a cabal of corrupt
politicians as "The Black Whip" after her brother (the original
Black Whip) is killed. Hammond, owner of the town's stagecoach
line and a leading citizen, is secretly opposed to Idaho becoming a
state, and conducts raids against citizens and settlers alike to
prevent order. Randolph Meredith, owner of the town's
newspaper, as the Black Whip, opposes this scheme, but one day he is
killed after preventing yet another coup. Meredith's sister
Barbara, expert with a bullwhip and pistol, dons Randolph's black
costume and mask and becomes "The Black Whip" in her brother's
place, dealing a blow to Hammond and his gang each time they perform
some heinous act in their efforts to keep the town, and their power
over it, unchanged. Aided by US government agent Vic Gordon,
Barbara confronts Hammond in a final showdown just as the town votes
on whether or not to accept statehood.
Linda Stirling as The Black Whip is quite obviously female but,
even after a bout of wrestling, the villains do not realize they
aren't fighting a man. Some reference is made to this in the
script, however, when the villains are trying to determine who the
Black Whip's secret identity could be:
Hammond: "Barbara Meredith,
she's the Black Whip!
Baxter: "She couldn't be! The Black Whip's got to be a man!
He's outshot us, out rode us, and outfought us, stopped us at every
turn!” (Chapter Nine: Avalanche)
The day is saved when Vic Gordon
discovers Barbara's secret and removes her from suspicion by
appearing in her costume. From this point on he, despite
relinquishing the costume, tends to assume the hero role while
Barbara becomes slightly more of a traditional damsel in distress.
Despite physically wrestling with her, the villains never realize
that the very obviously female Black Whip is a woman.
Zorro's Black Whip was made after
the popular 20th Century-Fox remake of The Mark of Zorro
(1940); Republic was unable to use the character himself, but still
wanted to capitalize on it. However, and despite the title,
Zorro does not feature in this serial. The hero(ine) is
actually called The Black Whip throughout.
The serial is set in pre-statehood
Idaho, and involves a fight to prevent and ensure statehood by the
villains and heroes respectively.
Parts of this serial were reused as stock footage to pad out later
serials such as Don Daredevil Rides Again (1951) and Man
with the Steel Whip (1954), despite the fact that both of those
serials had male leads.
This serial was put into production, with
Linda Stirling as the main star, following the actress' popular
performance in The Tiger Woman (1944). Zorro's Black Whip
was budgeted at $134,899 although the final negative cost was
$145,251. It was the cheapest Republic serial of 1944, and was
filmed between July 29 and August 26, 1944 under the working title
The Black Whip. The serial's production number was
Zorro's Black Whip's official release
date is December 16, 1944, although this is actually the date the
sixth chapter was made available to film exchanges. The serial
was re-released on July 8, 1957 between the similar re-releases of
The Purple Monster Strikes and Radar Men from the Moon.
The last original Republic serial release was King of the
Carnival in 1955.
This was one of two 12-chapter serials released in 1944, along with
Linda Stirling's serial debut, The Tiger Woman. It
had been Republic's standard pattern to produce two 12-chapter
serials and two 15-chapter serials each year since 1938, but 1944
was the last year that occurred. In fact, Republic would only
produce two more 15-chapter serials, Manhunt of Mystery Island
and The Purple Monster Strikes, both in 1945 and both