Somebody sent me a publicity picture from an upcoming Lone Ranger movie – with Johnny Depp playing Tonto. I read that the movie is slated for release in 2013. Johnny Depp?
When I was a tad the Lone Ranger was all the fad, as Fess Parker’s Davy Crockett became later. Some of us will remember Saturday afternoon at the Rialto theater, a 15-episode Lone Ranger serial. “Hi-Yo Silver!”
The radio version ran for about ten years or so, and certainly helped to popularize the Texas Rangers throughout the US. The Lone Ranger embodied all that was good about the West and the Rangers. Although his motto clearly wasn’t “Shoot first and ask questions later.”
The Lone Ranger program didn’t hurt in Texas, either, with Ma Ferguson in the governor’s chair. Ma fired all the old Rangers and then replaced them with her own choices (see Mike Cox, Time of the Rangers. Volume II. 2009. Forge). A sad episode. The widespread popularity of the radio program did a lot for the image of the Texas Rangers.
On radio, the part of the Lone Ranger was portrayed by a series of deep-voiced actors. I particularly remember Brace Beemer playing that part. I had an entomology professor at Kansas, Ray Beamer, who was a big fan. The radio program came on at five. Ray’s wife Lucy would pick him up on campus with the car radio turned on. She’d drive home and go inside and get the Lone Ranger on the kitchen radio. Then, Ray would dash inside during a commercial. Ray didn’t miss a thing.
Jay Silverheels was the Tonto we all remember from the TV series. He was a Canadian Mohawk and skilled at Lacrosse (which gave him the name “Silverheels). A stunt man and later an actor, Silverheels played bit parts in a range of western movies such as True Grit and The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. With Clayton Moore playing the part of the Lone Ranger, they graced many a TV set in the 1950s. A deep friendship developed between the two.
Thanks, Bob G., for resurrecting a happy childhood memory. The Lone Ranger rides again!
Who was that masked man?
March 13, 2012
“Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.” – William Faulkner.