Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Lone Ranger


A couple of days ago I posted some old pics and used the expression “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.”  

Younger readers will not recognise it.  Older readers will remember it as part of the opening of each episodes of the Lone Ranger, in its day as well known as the opening of MASH.

Here are some trivia items for those who have never heard of the Lone Ranger and for those at the other end of the scale, like me, who remember watching it on the TV as kids, albeit as reruns. 

Hi Yo Silver, away. . .

(Bear in mind that life was simpler then.  No one seemed to question that a a guy would travel the American Wild West wearing a jumpsuit and a mask, riding a big white horse like Gandalf, with an Indian as a partner and firing silver bullets.)

The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked ex-Texas Ranger.  With his faithful, Native American companion Tonto, he fights injustice in the American Old West.  An icon of American culture, he is also the precursor to the genre of later superheroes. 

The Lone Ranger commenced as a radio show, the character being conceived and written by Frank Striker. Its popularity gave rise to the TV show that ran from 1949 to 1957.  Clayton Moore played The Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels played Tonto.

The intro to each episode:

A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi Yo Silver!" The Lone Ranger. "Hi Yo Silver, away!" With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!\

Each episode closed in the same way:  departing on his white stallion, Silver, the Lone Ranger would shout, "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!" As they galloped off, someone would ask, "Who was that masked man anyway?" 

Tonto usually referred to the Lone Ranger as Kemosabe, meaning "trusty scout" or "trusted friend."

"The Lone Ranger, long since retired,
makes an unpleasant discovery."

(A classic Gary Larsen cartoon.)

Ever wondered why it is that the Lone Ranger travels the West in a mask?  How the freindship withg Tonto developed?

The story history of the Lone Ranger is that as John Reid he was originally part of a troop of Texas Rangers, commanded by his brother, Captain Daniel Reid.  They are ambushed by the Cavendish gang and all are killed except for Reid, who is found by Tonto and nursed back to health.  He fashions a black mask using material from his brother’s vest.  In this way he hides his identity, making Cavendish think that there were no survivors.  Although the Cavendish gang is brought to justice, Reid retains the identity of the Lone Ranger to fight evil.

Striker saw the Lone Ranger as being a role model for young children and created a creed that the Lone Ranger lived by, inspiring emulation by young listeners and later viewers: 

The Lone Ranger Creed!

By: Frank Striker 

I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.

That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world. 

That God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself.

In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

That 'This government, of the people, by the people and for the people' shall live always.

That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number. 

That sooner or later... somewhere...somehow... we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

In my Creator, my country, my fellow man." 

In keeping with the LR Creed, the LR never uses slang; shoots to disarm rather than to kill and never drinks or smokes.  Scenes that would ordinarily take place in a saloon are instead shown as taking place in cafes.
The Lone Ranger uses only silver bullets to represent that life is precious and, like his silver bullets, not to be wasted or thrown away

The character of Tonto has been criticised for speaking in broken pidgin English.
Because Tonto means "stupid" or "dumb" in Spanish, the character is renamed "Toro" (Spanish for "bull") or "Ponto" in Spanish-speaking countries.  "Tonto" was named by William Jewell, who also came up with the term "kemosabe" based on the name of a summer camp in upstate Michigan. In the local native American language, "Tonto" meant "wild one."

In October  2011 Disney confirmed that a proposed Lone Ranger film is back on track with a projected release date of May 31, 2013.  Rumoured to be cast as Tonto is Johnny Depp.

 The original radio series inspired a spin-off called The Green Hornet in which the son of the Lone Ranger’s nephew fights crime in the presence day, with a secret identity and a sidekick, Kato.

1 comment:

  1. There is an old joke about the Lone Ranger and Tonto which (in abbreviated form) goes something like ...

    LR and T are chased by a band of renegade Indians. Eventually they are surrounded and the LR says to T "looks like we have had it now old friend", and T responds "what you mean WE whiteman".


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