I'm not exactly sure why I was relieved to discover that Cesar Romero *had* actually portrayed Cortez prior to this 1950 magazine ad. It was in 1947's 'Captain from Castile' opposite Tyrone Power.
I think I just didn't care for the idea that he'd dressed up as the conquistador *solely* to sell whiskey. No, I don't know what difference it makes.
As is likely the case with many of my generation, the first place I can remember becoming aware of Cesar Romero was as The Joker in the sixties' Batman TV series. My absolute favorite thing about his portrayal was how he'd refused to shave off his moustache for the role, opting to have it whited out to match the rest of his make-up. That's class - - or something.
I also remember as a little kid, watching old Shirley Temple movies on TV on Sunday mornings. I recall my quietly mind-blowing personal realization upon spotting a young Romero in a couple of them, cast in supporting roles with different ethnicities. It was the first time I considered that perhaps movie acting is merely a career, and one that must come with its own difficulties about its own expectations. It was the first time it occurred to me that being The Joker was in its way just another job in a long string of jobs for Cesar Romero.
Taking it a step further and guessing it must be something like that for all actors, and hey, what about the people behind the camera...
...I never thought about movies and TV quite the same way again.
(But my fondness for character actors was born.)
Just a very few years later, at a Saturday kiddie matinee, spotting Romero again in one or another of Kurt Russell's Disney flicks, I'd nod in something approximating quiet wisdom recalling my former epiphany.
Now, I'd love to see any of the half-dozen Cisco Kid movies he made between 1939 - '41. Maybe they'll be reissued to DVD some day. But don't get me started about the continued unavailability of that Batman TV series...
ADDENDUM 5/31/07 - - Here's a link to Cesar in another print ad, from 1954.