Jill Panvini has written the commentary below my photos. She expresses so eloquently what we were all feeling on that very special day. Thank you Jill.
I and many other fans from various online Guy Williams/Zorro lists, along with some "Lost in Space" fans, attended the "Guy Williams Star" ceremony and the reception that took place immediately afterwards. It was a wonderful event full of love and joy for the Williams family and for us who have worked so hard to bring this about for the past three years.
The sidewalk was blocked off by iron gates extending into the street and an area was left on the street itself for the fans to stand. TV cameras and lights taped the Williams family as they kneeled by the star and smiled their happiness. Nando, Guy's only grandchild, laid down on the star.
After some politicians who had helped revitalize Hollywood had been introduced, Richard Anderson and Jolene Brand came up to the mike together. They looked just like their old selves, a little older but very attractive. They told us how much fun they'd had filming their "Zorro" episodes, and how it had been a highlight in their lives. While Richard continued talking, I saw Jolene nestled in the arms of her husband, producer George Schlatter. He had a beard and stood behind her while she leaned against his chest.
I gave out my GWFriendslist nametags to anyone who wanted them. The crowd was dotted with yellow tags showing Zorro peering out from behind a Z. Johnny Grant, the chairman and spokesman for the HWOF Committee, spoke very pleasantly to us beforehand and was pleased to note that many people had come from foreign countries; Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Argentina, the UK, and Canada, besides all of us who had journeyed from all over the U.S. for this very special occasion.
Many of the stars came up to the microphone to speak. The people who were there from "Zorro" were Mr. and Mrs. Britt Lomond (Capitan Monastario), tall, with a white head of hair and a mustache to match, and those smiling blue eyes; Don Diamond (Corporal Reyes), wearing a Zorro shirt and looking very fit; Patricia Medina, just as beautiful as she had been as Margarita Cortesar; Suzanne Lloyd (Raquel Toledano), who is now a blonde and still very slender.
Tony Russo (Señor Avila and Martinez), remarkably young and handsome even though he must be the same age as Guy would have been; Steve Stevens (young Don Rudolfo), older but completely recognizable; Anthony Caruso (Capitán Ortega), who looked just like himself only very old now; Paul Picerni (Pedro Murietta); Michael Forest (the false Lt. Santos), arrestingly tall and imposing; and, of course, BarBara Luna, who looks just terrific, young, pretty and full of life still.
From "Lost in Space": Billy Mumy (Will Robinson); Angela Cartwright (Penny), Marta Kristen (Judy), Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith), Bob May (the Robot); Dick Tufeld; Francine York, who guested in the "The Colonists", and Sheila Mathews Allen, wife of "Lost in Space" producer, Irwin Allen.
From Argentina, Fernando Lupiz, a fencing champion discovered by Guy at age 19 for whom Guy became a father figure and mentor, brought his clippings of himself in his Zorro play currently showing in Buenos Aires. Guy picked his "son" well; Fernando is very handsome. Mark Goddard was not able to attend and June Lockhart was unexpectedly ill. A representative from Annette Funicello came to tell us that she wished she could have been there. All gathered around the family -- Toni, Nando, Jan, and Guy, Jr. -- for a picture taken as they kneeled beside the star.
After the ceremony, we all walked back together to the Roosevelt Hotel just two blocks down Hollywood Avenue from where the star is located at the cross street with LaBrea. Toni and Jan Williams were arm in arm and chatting with the fans as they walked along.
At the hotel a reception was held on the mezzanine with small food plates filled from a buffet table on one side and an open bar on the other. The long room was filled with round tables and at the other end a mike had been set up, framed on either side with pictures of Guy as himself and as Zorro and in "Lost in Space."
For about an hour all of us chatted and took pictures together. Then Guy, Jr. said a few words at the mike about his feeling of gratitude for such an honor to his father.
Many of the stars came up to say a few words about Guy. Britt Lomond told us a story about the production. In a "night" scene, everything was so dark that the cameraman came running up to the director to complain that Zorro, being dressed in black, would not show up. "No problem," said the director. "Guy!" he shouted, "Smile a lot!"
Steve Stevens took the mike after Guy, Jr. and told us how lonely it can be for a guest star to come onto an established serial. The regulars are friends and you feel left out. But he described how Guy had been so thoughtful; he came up and introduced himself, "Hi, I'm Guy Williams, welcome to our set."
"I know who YOU are," Steve told him. (Of course, everyone knows the star!)
"I know who you are, too!" Guy acknowledged. "I've noticed you on the lot and know your work. If you ever need anything, I want you to feel free to come to me and I will be glad to help you out."
I had thought Don Diamond was not going to say anything. He is an old man now but relatively fit for his age and still walking in the same Corporal Reyes fashion. I had sneaked up behind him while he was seated in the crowd and whispered a plea into his ear to say something at the mike. He shook his head, "No." But later after seeing other people do it, he changed his mind and came up unexpectedly. Don told us the story of how he had married his wife, a Mexican girl, after overcoming her mother's objections to his being an actor. Having consented to seeing him act on stage, the old lady finally relented. "You can marry my daughter," she declared. "You are NO actor."
I saw Tony Russo seated at the reception and was surprised to see him so fit and young for his age. He was signing autographs. In total honesty, I remarked to him that I had been looking at his pictures before I came and felt that he had made a very handsome Zorro. He laughed and winked at a friend in agreement. He had been a handsome fellow (still is!), but it was nice for him to know that the fans appreciated how good he could have been as Zorro -- if Guy had never come along.
A number of people mentioned how wonderful Guy had been and how cultured he was. Bob May misses Guy still. Marta Kristen brought it up when she remembered how strong and handsome Guy was and so kind. "I'm a sucker for men like that."
Even little Angela Cartwright, now a photographer, had fought off romantic feelings towards Guy. "What a chest!" she told us with eyes wide open. "You just wanted to lean against that chest."
Little Nando, Guy's only grandchild, just 5 years old, was called to the mike by his uncle, Guy, Jr. to say a few words. He made everyone laugh when he shyly noted that his grandfather was sorta like "Jesus". Thereupon he ran into his mother's waiting arms. Toni was sitting on the floor beside her mother's chair surrounded by friends and family.
Janice Williams looks simply beautiful, refined, gorgeous, and very friendly. Any man would have been proud to have her for a wife. She looked at one of the posters I had given her of Guy in "Zorro" and "Lost in Space", which she loved, and told me that I had gotten the color of his eyes right. Hazel is between a green, brown, and yellowish.
I wish everyone could have been there. It was a once-in-a-lifetime affair. Later that night, we dined on at a Mexican Restaurant on Olvera Street, the oldest street in Los Angeles in the heart of the old pueblo, as BarBara Luna entertained us with "Tamales -- hot, hot, hot, hot"...
and as Zorro, Guy Jr. fought to protect her from a member of his Committee, GWFer Wendell Vega, dressed in costume as the evil commandante, and Jeff Sutherland as another soldier. All of us got our pictures taken with Zorro afterwards. Though much shorter, Guy looks remarkably like his father and even has that same beautiful smile. They are similar in their good natures, also.
In the days following, our GWF group toured some location sites where "Zorro" had been filmed, including a guided tour of Iverson's Movie Ranch with tour guides, Steve and Rosemary Stevens, who took us to Zorro's "cave". Surprisingly, it's not a cave at all, as the series would have us believe. Rather, it's just an opening to the other side.
We received a special tour at the Mission at San Luis Rey, which the mission used for publicity to raise funds. (They need $4 million dollars to repair the roof and bring in city water before the place burns down). Local television filmed Guy, Jr, and Wendell in costume again fencing in front of the mission gate, just as Zorro and Monastario had originally. The mission historian, Helen, an old lady who was present on the set in 1957, remarked that everyone had loved Guy. "He was a real hero to us." Father Ben, the head Franciscan priest, led us all through the church and grounds and allowed us up into the choir loft to ring the mission bell. Boy, was that difficult.
Thanks to Guy, Jr, Wendell Vega, and BarBara Luna, and to Kathy Gregory, her husband John, and friend Kathy Clemens, to Mary who set up the Mission San Luis Rey and Iverson Ranch tours, to Rita Winters, who hosted a barbecue for us in her home as we played Zorro tapes and watched the KTLA video of the event, to Bonnie Brooks and everyone who caravanned us from place to place, we had an experience we will treasure forever.
To all my friends who shared this special time with my family and I... THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I felt undeserving when you thanked ME for the great time we had here in Los Angeles because it is I who must really thank YOU. You helped me be close to my dad again in a way that would not have been possible had any one of you not been here, nor if any one of you who supported this effort in any way had not come through. For that I will always be in your debt.