Johnston McCulley is most remembered for his Zorro character, who first appeared in the short story "The Curse of Capistrano," published in the pulp-fiction magazine All Star Weekly on August 9, 1919. The story was initially slated for five installments, but Douglas Fairbanks's successful silent film adaptation, The Mark of Zorro, inspired McCulley to write sixty-four Zorro stories. McCulley's Zorro consistently fought for the rights of the common man or peasantry. While comparisons have been made between Zorro and legendary California outlaw Joaquín Murrieta, McCulley never officially cited his inspiration for the character.

McCulley became a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and author of both crime thrillers and Westerns, but none of his additional works would compare to the longevity and popularity of Zorro. Johnston McCulley also wrote under the pseudonyms Raley Brien, George Drayne, Monica Morton, Frederic Phelps, Walter Pierson, Rowena Raley, John Mack Stone, and Harrington Strong.

Johnston McCulley