Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday TV - The Lone Ranger - Season 1 Episode 1 - Enter the Lone Ranger

Ok, Kiddies, Yer Ol' Professor's got a really bad riddle for ya today. Q: Where does the Lone Ranger take his garbage? A: To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump.

See? I told ya it was bad. But it also makes a point. Because for those of us who grew up watching his adventures (or who listened to them on the radio before he came along on TV), Rossini's William Tell Overture will always be inextricably linked to the masked man, Tonto, and Silver.

The Lone Ranger was actually first created for Detroit's WXYZ radio station in 1933 by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. It lasted for 2,956 episodes, the last being broadcast 21 years later in 1954. Along with the bracing theme music, listeners were greeted each week by the voice of Fred Foy:

Hi-Yo  Silver — A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a  hearty Hi-Yo Silver … the Lone Ranger! 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!

When it was time for the Ranger to make the transition to television, he was portrayed by Clayton Moore and his faithful companion Tonto was played by Jay Silverheels. The show actually has a very interesting production history, as the first 78 episodes were produced and broadcast without any reruns or breaks for 78 straight weeks. Then they were repeated for 78 weeks before new episodes were created. When it finally became time to produce new episodes, there was a dispute between Clayton Moore and the producers (some say it was over money, some, including Mr. Moore, say it was "creative differences") and Moore was replaced with John Hart. It was thought that viewers wouldn't notice or care about the change, since the Ranger was never seen unmasked unless he was in a disguise. This was not the case, however, and after these episodes were run and then re-run just as the first batch had been, Moore was brought back for a final run of 52 episodes and the Hart-era shows were shelved and not shown again until the 1980's. After this run of shows was broadcast and again re-broadcast,  final set of 39 episodes ws filmed with Moore in the role.

Today, were taking a look at the first episode, originally broadcast September 15, 1949. In it, we are not only shown his origin, but his first meeting with Tonto, how he came to ride Silver, and what the deal ws with those silver bullets.

This and many episodes of the Lone Ranger's TV and radio shows (and even comics) can be watched/listened to/downloaded for free here.
There are many cheaper collections of Lone Ranger episodes at Amazon, but this one contains all 78 episodes of the first run in great remastered condition with lots of extras and bonus features: The Lone Ranger: 75th Anniversary - Seasons 1 and 2.
This episode plus a couple of others are also available for rental at Netflix: Lone Ranger:  Enter the Lone Ranger

Until next time, instead of my usual "Happy Treasure Hunting", I think I'll leave you with the Lone Ranger's Creed. I suspect it's something we could all actually strive to live by:

"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."

-Professor Damian


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