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A Brief History Of The Lone Ranger

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  • A Brief History Of The Lone Ranger

    For those who are interested, I present some historical information on the Lone Ranger character. The information contained herein is from my own personal research on the character. I'm sure I left out alot, but here is an overview of the last 70+ years:

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LONE RANGER

    The Lone Ranger made his debut on radio January 30, 1933. The radio series ran until September 3, 1954. It produced somewhere between 2,900 and 3,100 episodes (reports vary). The radio series was enormously successful and the Lone Ranger spun off into other media.

    Lone Ranger creator Fran Striker published 16 Lone Ranger novels from 1936-1956. Two film serials were produced (though these do not follow the accepted story of the Ranger) in 1936 and 1939. A Lone Ranger daily newspaper strip ran from September 1938 until December 1971. Dell comics ran 145 issues from 1948-1962, plus 4 special issues, a Tonto spin-off series and a Silver spin-off series. Gold Key took over the comics and published 28 issues from 1964-1977.

    The most popular and successful interpretation of the character was, of course, the television series. Starring Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto (with John Hart replacing Moore for season 3), the Lone Ranger TV show ran from September 15, 1949 until June 6, 1957, and ran heavily in reruns until the 1980s. The series produced 221 original episodes, and Moore and Silverheels starred in two big screen Lone Ranger feature films: ‘The Lone Ranger’ in 1956 and ‘The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold’ in 1958. There were also two Lone Ranger animated series, one in 1966 and one in 1980-1981 (as part of the Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour).

    After 1981’s poorly received ‘The Legend of the Lone Ranger’ feature, starring Klinton Spillsbury, the character kind of faded away from the mainstream. That film suffered tremendously before it was ever released. Clayton Moore had been making personal appearances in the Lone Ranger costume since the TV show debuted. The producers of the new movie didn’t want two Lone Rangers running around, so they took legal action to prevent Moore from appearing with the Ranger mask on. This was a PR disaster and really hurt the new movie before it was even complete.

    In 1994 Topps Comics tried to revive the character with a 4 issue mini-series, but had limited success. In 2003 the WB produced a 2-hour Lone Ranger TV movie that was supposed to be a series pilot. The producers changed the story so much it was barely recognizable, and heavily targeted their story toward the ‘Dawson’s Creek’ fanbase. That movie was also very poorly received, and a new series never produced.

    This bring us to 2006 and the best received interpretation of the character since the Clayton Moore TV series – Dynamite Entertainment’s new Lone Ranger comic series! Of course, you already know all about that.

    THE LONE RANGER CREED

    "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."

    STRIKER & TRENDLE'S GUIDELINES

    The fact that the Lone Ranger legend has persisted for 60 years is no accident. Instead, it is the realization of an inspired, well-thought out concept instigated by George Trendle back in 1933. Although it was never imagined that this legendary hero would persist for over half a century, Trendle, Fran Striker, James Jewel and others at WXYZ in Detroit gave much thought to the method and the design of who and what the character should be.

    In order to insure that their character remain constant and true to their theory, guidelines were drawn up and a list of rules was prepared which embody what the Lone Ranger is and why he has remained a hero and a legend:

    The Lone Ranger is never seen without his mask or a disguise.

    With emphasis on logic, The Lone Ranger is never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked.

    At all times, The Lone Ranger uses perfect grammar and precise speech completely devoid of slang and colloquial phrases.

    When he has to use guns, The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill, but rather only to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.

    Logically, too, The Lone Ranger never wins against hopeless odds; i.e., he is never seen escaping from a barrage of bullets merely by riding into the horizon.

    Even though The Lone Ranger offers his aid to individuals or small groups, the ultimate objective of his story is to imply that their benefit is only a by-product of a greater achievement -- the development of the West or our Country. His adversaries are usually groups whose power is such that large areas are at stake.

    All adversaries are American to avoid criticism from minority groups.

    Names of unsympathetic characters are carefully chosen, avoiding the use of two names as much as possible to avoid even further vicarious association. More often than not, a single nickname is selected.

    The Lone Ranger does not drink or smoke, and saloon scenes are usually interpreted as cafes with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.
    Last edited by MadMikeyD; 11-28-2006, 06:01 PM. Reason: Added Creed & Guidlines
    DECODER RING THEATRE
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  • #2
    Wow,

    Thanks for the background. I hadn't realized just how long the LR has been around. Hey MadMikeyD, has there ever been a Lone Ranger/Zorro cross-over?

    Mike

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    • #3
      Not to my knowledge, although Topps Comics had one in the planning stages in 1994.

      Hey Tommy (I assume), thanks for the 'sticky.'
      DECODER RING THEATRE
      EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
      PROJECT SUPERPOWERS DATABASE
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      • #4
        The Jan. 30, 1933, date is more lore than fact. If you read David Holland's "From Out of the Past: A Pictorial History of the Lone Ranger," you will see that the first official broadcast was Feb. 2, 1933. However, there was a test broadcast late at night on Jan. 20, 1933, for the benefit of potential advertisers. So, depending on what you believe, there are three possible dates for the first broadcast.

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        • #5
          Don't Forget

          The early animated short. Sorry I'll have to get the date for it. And the Television commercial appearances by Clayton and Jay in character from the 70's.

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          • #6
            I said a 'brief' history, SHEESH! Seriously, though, thanks for the info. I think that early animated piece was in 1935 or 1936, possibly even earlier. I can't remember where I read about it to confirm. I also left out a 1993 one-shot comic book from Pure Imagination that I am trying desparately to find, and probably alot of other good info. I wanted to provide the most pertinent information for the new fans who are unfamiliar with the Ranger (like the guy at the Comic Shop who showed me the DE #1 variant cover - the one showing the Ranger's eyes behind the mask - and told me he was 'not sure if this was supposed to be some character in the book or not'). Feel free to add any other info you think people would like to know.
            DECODER RING THEATRE
            EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
            PROJECT SUPERPOWERS DATABASE
            PUBLIC DOMAIN SUPER HEROES

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            • #7
              The radio series ran until September 3, 1954. It produced somewhere between 2,900 and 3,100 episodes (reports vary).
              WHAT!? How could they possibly make all the programs with an original story-line each time!? Oh boy, my head hurts >_<

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              • #8
                Fran Striker, who wrote most of the scripts, had a formula he would use. He had envelopes that he would draw information out of. For example, he might have one for the crime to be solved. He'd reach in and pull out "murder" or "bank robbery" or "cattle rustling". After pulling out so many slips, he'd work that into a story. A lot of times he would simply revamp old storyline for other radio programs, books and eventually the TV show.

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                • #9
                  I know at least a couple scripts were used twice, because I was listening to "Buffalo Salvation" thinking, "this sounds familiar." I went back and listened to "No Worse Enemy," and they were pretty much word-for-word the same, but the voices were different. I had the same experience with the episodes titled "Theft Of Silver" and "Abiline Horse Thieves." That could be where the discrepancy in numbers comes in - actual broadcasts vs. original scripts.
                  DECODER RING THEATRE
                  EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
                  PROJECT SUPERPOWERS DATABASE
                  PUBLIC DOMAIN SUPER HEROES

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MadMikeyD
                    Hey Tommy (I assume), thanks for the 'sticky.'
                    OK, I have to ask, what's a sticky?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lone Ranger
                      OK, I have to ask, what's a sticky?
                      It just means he 'stuck' the post to the top of the forum, so it doesn't get bumped down by newer posts and buried in the forum. It will always stay at the top so it's easy for people to find. Forum moderators like to do that when a topic contains information that will remain relevant for long periods of time.
                      DECODER RING THEATRE
                      EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
                      PROJECT SUPERPOWERS DATABASE
                      PUBLIC DOMAIN SUPER HEROES

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                      • #12


                        Originally posted by MadMikeyD
                        It just means he 'stuck' the post to the top of the forum, so it doesn't get bumped down by newer posts and buried in the forum. It will always stay at the top so it's easy for people to find. Forum moderators like to do that when a topic contains information that will remain relevant for long periods of time.

                        Yep, MadMikeyD is on the money here. Heh heh heh! Sorry 'bout the confusion - I forgot to leave a post saying that the thread had been "stuck"...


                        Tommy.
                        Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MadMikeyD
                          I also left out a 1993 one-shot comic book from Pure Imagination that I am trying desparately to find
                          I found it - waiting to get it in the mail. Some additional info - this issue is from a second Lone Ranger comic strip which was done by Carey Bates and Russ Heath from 1981 - 1984 for the New York Times Syndicate. Not much is generally known about this strip other than the Pure Imagination comic collects two of the storylines.
                          DECODER RING THEATRE
                          EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
                          PROJECT SUPERPOWERS DATABASE
                          PUBLIC DOMAIN SUPER HEROES

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                          • #14
                            Correction & Comment

                            Originally posted by MadMikeyD
                            I'm sure I left out alot, but here is an overview of the last 70+ years:

                            Lone Ranger creator Fran Striker published 16 Lone Ranger novels from 1936-1956.
                            .

                            Grosset & Dunlap published. The first was written by Gaylord Du Bois several years before he went on to his career as king of comics (Tarzan, Roy Rogers, King, Sergeant Preston, Bonanza, Korak, Space Family Robinson, many more), The rest were written by various un-named ghost writers.

                            .
                            Gaylord Du Bois Speaks
                            In 1936 I was given a copy of a Lone Ranger radio script to study with these instructions: ‘Write a 60,000 word novel based on this script, and if we accept it, you will have more assignment.' The radio script was very corny, and a very shaky basis for any novel; but I used what little of it was usable in constructing the plot of the novel. It was titled ‘The Lone Ranger,' and my name as author was prominent on the jacket and cover. My name disappeared from the third and subsequent editions (or printings), but I had and have no complaint, because I sold all the rights to the novel to Whitman Publishing Co. It was perfectly good business [for them to remove my name and replace it with Stryker's] because I imagine it is less confusing for the reader to think that the entire series was written by Fran Stryker. Back in those days I did quite a bit of ghost writing for well-known adventure authors, who shall remain nameless here.
                            .

                            Originally posted by MadMikeyD
                            THE LONE RANGER CREED
                            "I believe...
                            In my Creator, my country, my fellow man."
                            .

                            Good luck getting THAT one past the PC censors.

                            On the "I believe in my Creator" bit: Maybe if the writer tosses in a sop to eastern mysticism. Just so long as western civilization's Judeo-Christian monotheism is not implied.

                            On the "I believe in my country" bit: I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that Flag-waving is not permitted in contemporary comics publishing.

                            On the "I believe in my fellow man" bit: Ah! He's a member of the Optimists Club.

                            .
                            Last edited by David_Porta; 11-29-2006, 11:46 PM. Reason: title

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                            • #15



                              Welcome aboard, David! Thanks for the material you've provided above! Many new readers may have little knowledge of the Ranger's origins, and exerpts like these are very helpful!


                              Originally posted by David_Porta
                              Good luck getting THAT one past the PC censors.

                              On the "I believe in my Creator" bit: Maybe if the writer tosses in a sop to eastern mysticism. Just so long as western civilization's Judeo-Christian monotheism is not implied.
                              I'm not so sure that this would be the case. Several recent comic book titles appear to have made it to the mainstream shelves on the back of Judeo-Christian monotheistic marketing efforts, alleged PC bias notwithstanding. In any case, it remains to be seen how any such themes would be dealt with by the current writers, and whether they would even be considered crucial amongst a contemporary secular audience...




                              On the "I believe in my country" bit: I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that Flag-waving is not permitted in contemporary comics publishing.
                              Oh, I'm sure it's not as verboten as all that. Flag burning, on the other hand, might very well not make it past many editors.





                              On the "I believe in my fellow man" bit: Ah! He's a member of the Optimists Club.
                              Now, this I'd never heard of up 'til now. I'm a little unsure as to the parallels being drawn here. Although, if the Ranger were to speak such a line in the current comic, wherein would lie the problem??


                              Again, welcome to the forums David. Perhaps you'd like to share with us your ideas on where you'd like to see the comic headed?


                              Tommy.
                              Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!

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