Book in Brief: Manuel Zamora Gunsmith to the Stars

posted on August 6, 2019

Manuel Zamora (1895-1972) was a native Mexican who was a pioneer in the field of cinema armorers during the formative years of Hollywood and long into its Golden Age. From Wings (1927) and Hell’s Angels (1930) Zamora knew just about everyone who worked in Hollywood and gunsmithed functioning firearms to many of the best-remembered actors and films of the four decades he worked in the business.

This book is a loving tribute co-authored by his daughter (Cory Zamora) who, along with Dr. Tomas Martinez, dutifully transcribed many of the stories once told by her father and those also remembered by Zamora’s wife. This book follows his interesting life, from initially being apprehended by Poncho Villa and stood up before a firing squad not once but three times, to developing a unique ammunition feed used extensively during World War II, to his creation of Napoleon Solo’s pistol used in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1967).

From Howard Hughes to the Frito Bandito, Zamora had a front row seat to a lot of what we regard as popular culture and these stories help give you a small glimpse into what lurked behind the curtain of Hollywood.


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