The Lone Ranger (TV Series 1949–1957) Poster

(1949–1957)

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The Greatest Heroes
Shield-328 January 2002
Looking back on `The Lone Ranger' TV series as an adult is a strange experience. Watching episodes through an adult's eyes alerted me to flaws I didn't notice when I was a kid: the acting was sometimes on the B-movie level. The stories tended to be repetitive and simplistic. The Native Americans were generally played by Caucasian or Hispanic or Italian-American actors. The `outdoor' exteriors in a lot of episodes were obviously indoor sets. But there is a spirit and an energy to the show that you can't deny.

Most of the credit for the show's success goes to its leads, Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. They became the Lone Ranger and Tonto, lived the roles as no other actors before or since. Moore, in particular, knew the Ranger was presented as a hero and an example to children, and from what I've heard, he tried his best to live up to that. He made the Ranger a fair and just man, someone who didn't judge, who gave people the benefit of the doubt, but acted correctly when the time was right. He used violence only as a last resort. He was a symbol of honor and integrity, the kind of person I wish I could be.

As for Tonto... It occurs to me nowadays how great an actor Jay Silverheels was. Critics of the show always want to use Tonto as the stereotypical ignorant savage, but you have to look at all the things Tonto does. Tonto tracks, takes care of the Ranger when he's wounded, spies out information - you can tell from the expressions on Silverheels' face that there's a lot more going on inside Tonto's head than he lets on. Don't let the broken English fool you!

The thing that really impresses me about `The Lone Ranger' now is how much of a partnership these two characters have. Tonto is not the Ranger's subordinate - they are friends, equals in their adventures. That, as much as any lesson taught in any episode, is what draws me back to the series after so many years: a tried and true friendship.

Oh, if only the Lone Ranger could ride again.
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10/10
One of the Grandfathers of Network Westerns.
Diosprometheus23 May 2005
The Lone Ranger appeared on the ABC network on September 15, 1949 in the first of a three part episode that told the history of the famous masked man of the West.

Along with William Boyd's Hopalong Cassidy TV series, which was first telecast on NBC on June 24, 1949, it was among the earliest TV western series. Hopalong Cassidy actually debuted in 1948, when Boyd syndicated his films to NBC. (In 1947, Boyd had bought to the rights to his Hoppy films.)

Fran Stiker and George W. Trendle created the Lone Ranger as a local radio program in 1933. It quickly went nationwide and was the cornerstone of the old Mutual Radio network. Ironically, Hopalong Cassidy was also a Mutual radio program.

When The Lone Ranger was brought to TV in 1949, many of the radio plays were adapted to the younger medium. As a consequence, many of the earliest episodes show their radio origins with the use of a narrator who links the different scenes together. The Lone Ranger was the biggest hit on the new ABC network in its early years.

The first three episodes told the the familiar story of how the Lone Ranger came to be, his connection to Tonto, and the origins of his prize horse Silver. Glenn Strange played the villain Butch Cavandish in these episodes.

The Lone Ranger was also one of the earliest shows to film mostly outdoors. Starting in 1956, the Wrather Company began filming the program in color.

The Cisco Kid, starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo had been filmed in color since its first aired in 1950. Jack Wrather, however, was more concerned about the competition to his kid's show from the new adult westerns that had began to appear on TV.

When the Lone Ranger appeared, The New York Times critic Jack Gould ripped the show, as "just another Western, and not a notably good one at that." Gould considered the first three episodes manipulative, mostly because of the cliffhanger endings of the first two episodes. The New York Times writer accused everyone associated with the program of keeping children "emotionally hopped upped." As a result of his criticisms, the cliffhanger type endings were never used after the first two episodes. Gould, however, had been suffering from a misunderstanding. The show had never intended to be broadcast as a serial despite the serial background of its star Clayton Moore.

In 1952, B-film actor John Hart replaced Clayton Moore. Moore had threatened to quit after 1950. He was being paid only $500 an episode for his hit show, and wanted a substantial raise. Audiences rejected Hart in the role, and after 36 episodes Moore was back atop Silver.

The Lone Ranger was the first Western Hit on TV.

The series was filmed in both Utah and in California.
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7/10
Hi-Ho, Silver! Away!
strong-122-47888520 September 2013
Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.....

There can be no denying that The Lone Ranger is the quintessential TV Western of the 1950s. It is the one show that has proved, time and again, to be a real favorite of both children and adults alike.

Starring Clayton Moore, as the masked rider, and Jay Silverheels, as Tonto, his ever-loyal sidekick, The Lone Ranger was an action-packed, half-hour program whose episodes always had an interesting and thoughtful story to tell about life in the days of the Old West.

Actor Clayton Moore was the absolute embodiment of this mysterious, masked crime-fighter who would often go to great lengths to see that justice was done and that the criminals paid a dear price for their dishonest deeds.

Clayton Moore was once quoted as saying that he had "fallen in love with being the Lone Ranger character".

The Lone Ranger's story concerns a nameless Texas Ranger who is the sole survivor of a vicious ambush. After he is nursed back to health by his new-found comrade, Tonto, he embarks on a mission to bring justice and peace to the lawlessness of the Old West.

Using the benefits from a secret silver mine, the Lone Ranger rides the West on his magnificent horse, Silver, and dispenses justice in the form of his trademark - The silver bullet.

Following the cancellation of The Lone Ranger in 1957, Clayton Moore then embarked on a 40-year career making personal appearances, TV guest spots, and classic TV commercials dressed up as the legendary masked man.

In 1999 Moore died of a heart attack. He was 85 years old.
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8/10
From Radio To The Small Screen, Movie Serials, Feature Films, Newspaper Strips, Comic Books into being an Indestructible Icon of Our Very Being as a People, Americans!
redryan641 November 2007
Someone once defined what is the definition of AN INTELLECTUAL as being: "A person who can listen to "The William Tell Overture" without thinking of the LONE RANGER!" In this, we heartily concur! It surely would be a tall order to accomplish this, and one that Leopold Stokowski, Arturo Toscanini or .Leonard Bernstein would all find nigh well impossible to do.

And in this there is no disgrace. The Radio Series and the Television Series, along with some Movie Serials, Feature Films, Syndicated Newspaper Comic Strip and Comic Books, all did their part to make "the Masked Man of the Plains and his Faithful Indian companion, Tonto" a deeply seeded element of our collective psyche and of our literary folklore.

As with most legends, it all started gradually, first with a series of Radio Plays, written for local use in Detroit over Radio Station WXYZ. The Creator was one George W. Trendle and the Principal Writer on the Series was Mr. Trendle's brother-in-law, Mr. Fran Striker. The year was 1933 when the Ranger first rode out to "…the Plains of the Early Western United States!" The Lone Ranger, Tonto and the Radio Series all successfully guided Depression Era Americans through the mid and late '30's up to and through World War II. But the Post-War Era found the country in the midst of a Super-Nova Explosion of invention and technology. There had been a new communications medium standing ready in the wings, but unable to go forth until both VE Day and VJ Day had been achieved. Once these were accomplished and the World and America was ready to settle down to both Peace and Prosperity. The "New Technology" was, of course was TELEVISION! And we would surely need something else than "Roller Derby" and "Wrestling From Marigold Arena" to fill up the broadcast hours. And while at first, the time that a TV Station had anything on, except that portrait of that Mohican Chief (Test Pattern, Schultz!) Very soon and with post haste, the Networks began tapping their existing Natural Resources, their existing programming! Virtually all would be ripe for adaptation to the TV Screen.

So, the folks over at Lone Ranger, Incorporated were very interested when Producers Jack Chertok, Harry Poppe, Sherman Harris and Jack Wrather all approached them with a deal to put The Masked Man and Tonto on the Television waves, as well as the Radio.

Immediately they went to work and gave us the first season, which made use of the considerable back log of Radio Dramas, all potentially adaptable to TV dramas. They cast Clayton Moore, a fine supporting actor in many a feature film, and with about a dozen years experience. He also had done some work in Serials over at Republic Pictures' "Thrill Factory", which would be invaluable experience in doing "THE LONE RANGER". Cast as his "faithful Indian companion" and partner in bringing Justice to various parts of the Frontier, we had sheer perfection in character-supporting Actor, Jay Silverheels.** We must mention that there was that rift in about '53, when Clayton Moore walked and was replaced with John Hart. After a season or so, Mr. Moore was back in-having been missed so much! Now, Back to Our Story!! The first years of filming gave the episodes a look and a sound all of their own. They made good use of off screen Narrator, which gave these shows a feel of authenticity and an individual, stand-out one of a kind series. The actors employed were all veterans of the movies of the late silent era thru the 1930's and 1940's. A lot of them had been just about exclusively "Cowboy Movie" players. A good example of these is the casting of Glenn Strange (Bartender Sam on "GUNSMOKE") as the vicious, murderous Gang Leader, Butch Cavandish. And it was the Cavendish Gang's massacre of the Texas Rangers that led to the origin of John Reid (thought to have been slain with the other Texas Rangers) as the "LONE RANGER".

In addition to the old timers in the cast, you will find a lot of new and up and coming talent (then) in the cast. We see people like Phyllis Coates, Dwayne Hickman, Denver Pyle and others in the cast from week to week. All of this, along with an always calling for fair-play, justice and peace in a western world.

The last couple of seasons brought some big changes. First was the use of Colour Filming. That made no difference as a Colour TV Set was still a long way off for our household. The second was a new set of musical themes and queues. (Other than Rossini's Finale from "U NO Wutt!") The new music was never a big deal to us, as we preferred the "old Radio" stock stuff.

With this series and two Feature Films done during this period, THE LONE RANGER (Warner Brothers, 1956) and THE LONE RANGER AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (United Artists, 1958), the character has been permanently and indelibly impressed in our identity as a People, we Americans!
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8/10
A Classic
aimless-462 April 2008
The 221 episodes of "The Lone Ranger" were originally broadcast on ABC from 1949 to 1957; and then for many years they played in local syndication. For most of the original broadcast years the series was ABC's most watched piece of programming.

The new DVD set from Pop Flix contains the first 16 episodes (15 Sept-29 Dec 1949) and for some reason unknown to me episode 22 from the fifth season, for a total of 17 episodes (the same 17 available on last year's Mill Creek Entertainment release so these are probably in the public domain). These sets pretty much render "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" movie superfluous as all three episodes that were combined in 1952 to form the movie are included in these releases.

The early episodes hark back to radio as there is considerably more voice-over narration used as an introduction and to introduce key plot moments.

The series itself was pure kiddie western with clear-cut good and evil distinctions and no romance. The title character (played by Clayton Moore) started out Texas Ranger John Reid. The first three episodes provide the background for his transformation to Lone Ranger status, his partnering with the Indian Tonto (Jay Silverheels), and the taming of his horse "Silver".

There is an unambiguous code of positive morality infusing each episode. The Lone Ranger is totally good but he adopts the guise of evil. While a masked man in the west was normally feared by the good citizens and an Indian was distrusted, the Lone Ranger is feared by those who would do evil. One persistent theme is that when the Lone Ranger and Tonto first encounter an average citizen they are greeted with suspicion, and by the end of the episode the citizen has been convinced of their value. The trademark ending was a secondary character asking the question: "who was that masked man?".

To really enjoy the series you must accept it for the simplistic morality tale it was intended to be. If you don't take it seriously and keep wishing for some self-reflexive campy parody elements you will only get frustrated.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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10/10
A hero to me forever
hnsum79 July 2013
There is only one Lone Ranger and only one Tonto. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. They were both so ingrained in my childhood psyche as hero's, that they remain to this day to be just that. I have watched each and every episode, or at least I believe I have. In doing so it occurred to me that there was never really a gray area, there was right and there was wrong. There was good and there was evil...justice and injustice. Simple, yet powerful messages.

As an adult and watching the earliest episodes, it occurred to me that Tonto, actually gave all the idea's for his partners image. It was Tonto that suggested the mask. It was Tonto that suggested the silver bullets, and it was Tonto that came up with the name for Silver..when he proclaimed that the horse the Lone Ranger saved from death was "Silver White"! At last, as Tonto stood with the lone surviving Ranger over the graves of the others, Tonto, proclaimed "You are all alone now..You Lone Ranger! Of course, the response was "Yes Tonto, I am..The Lone Ranger!

The bonds of friendship and trust for the Lone Ranger and Tonto, was used 25 years later as an example of true friendship in an episode of Happy Days. In this particular episode, where Ritchie wanted to expose Fonzie for hating liver. The remark from Fonzie that typified what a true friendship should be was this "Many people tried to remove the mask of the Lone Ranger, but Tonto "never tried". All of America knew and felt that the truest of friendships would be to be like The Lone Ranger and Tonto.

Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels are beloved for more than just being actors in a great western that will live forever. They are symbolic of so much more and as I said..will always be my hero's.
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9/10
Public Service Announcement, plus a review
The_Light_Triton8 November 2013
This is a public service announcement, paid for by the Hole in the Wall gang, with funds generously donated by the stagecoach that left Carson city 2 hours ago and was held up 10 minutes ago.

In recent years, there have been several low or no budget DVD companies that have come forward and have mass produced DVDs that have episodes of the lone ranger available on them. These companies claim that these episodes are "Best of" and "Classics" But what they will fail to mention, is that every episode they put out is Public Domain and therefore, free to view online without worry of copyright infringement. Some of these episodes are titled as follows - A message from Abe, The Tenderfeet, Old Joe's Sister, Cannonball Mckay, War Horse, Legion of old timers, Rustler's hideout, Enter the lone ranger, and the lone ranger rides again, plus a few more. If you are holding a DVD in your hand which has any or all of these episodes, you have been scammed. Do not let these cheap companies deceive you and take the 5$ from your pocket.

OK, enough with the satire. But really, That's half the reason anyone will watch the lone ranger on DVD, due to the fact that several episodes of the series are no longer under copyright and have fallen into the public domain, therefore making them free to watch, but also free to produce. And because of this, Small DVD companies will get these episodes and sell them in supermarkets for low prices. But what irritates me is that these companies label the episodes "Best of" and "Classics" when they're just public domain.

Now, about the show. This was one of the first TV productions that still runs on Television today. It's a simple concept, really. The main hero is an Ex-Ranger who was supposedly killed on a mission where his brother and 4 other men where betrayed and killed by the Cavendish Gang (On DVD back covers, they call them the "hole in the wall" gang, possibly due to copyright issues.) So upon being saved and brought back to life by Tonto the Native man, The lone ranger swears to bring justice to the wild west in a time of uncertainty and crime.

9/10
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8/10
A Marvelousl Individual-The Lone Ranger Rides Again-
nelliebell-119 December 2004
Iam not sure if discussing the television series is exactly where the comments should be drawn to,however it is on the television where the The Lone Ranger really made a name for himself.Iam not even referring to the original radio broadcasts of this masked rider of the plains,Iam though referring to a point where in a little boy, about 9 or 10 years old,I was to see the movie,"The Lone Ranger"and never forgot it.I can recall that I was on a line or we were moving toward the Paramount Theater-the theater was located in the theater district,if I remember correctly.It was directly across,going East to West from the building that has the ball that drops on New Years Eve-This is of course if anybody doesn't know, New York City.High Above the street on the roof tops there was a time and maybe even still today huge billboards would advertise what was being shown and so on.It was at that point in time that I looked up and was never more impressed as I was when I looked at that billboard to see The Lone Ranger across the roof tops-It was great-It made an impression and was never forgotten.That day we went to see The Lone Ranger-It was the story of how the Lone Ranger was born-The terrible ambush that the Texas Rangers rode into and the subsequent rebirth of one of its fallen heroes.It was in this film we learn that The Lone Ranger will not shoot to kill but to injure so as to let the law be the judge.That type of thinking is so worthwhile that we might be good to learn something from history.This is where we learn that Tonto discovers the fallen Ranger and upon seeing the symbol of the boyhood friendship that The Lone Ranger established years earlier when he as a younger person came to the aide of a injured young person in Tonto-For the aide given, Tonto gave to his faithful friend, a symbol of his thanks which now was part of a necklace that Tonto recognized.Tonto said,"you are Kemosabe".The Lone Ranger said,"kemo-sabe,that is familiar?Then Tonto tells the story of this "trusty scout"(the meaning of Kemosabe)I think the Lone Ranger is one of the true heroes of the silver screen and one of the great heroes of television.It should also be stated that these very respected individuals Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels sought to live there lives according to the legend of The Lone Ranger-It may very well be that there is an inspiring story in the story of the Lone Ranger and his faithful companion Tonto.I myself was so pleased by the ability to find and buy the DVDs, that I stayed up all a Saturday morning and watched The many episodes now available.Long Live The Lone Ranger and His faithful companion Tonto-Hi-Ho Silver-
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7/10
"Yes Tonto, I am.... The Lone Ranger."
classicsoncall30 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Bullets may not have bounced off his chest, but The Lone Ranger was every bit the symbolic icon to me as my other boyhood hero - Superman. He represented truth, justice and the American way in a classic TV Western setting, living by the principle that he would never use his gun to kill, while scouring the American Southwest with his faithful Indian companion Tonto to bring every single outlaw to justice. The advent of TV provided the perfect opportunity for a post War generation to find it's ideal in an enigmatic masked man who stood for law and order, while providing unparalleled entertainment for five seasons spanning almost eight years.

Today I had the opportunity to view for the first time the complete three part origin episodes start to finish without the standard opening and closing sequences to interrupt the continuity of the story. For fans of the Ranger, this is the grand daddy of all Western sagas, telling as it does how Texas Ranger John Reid survived the ambush by the Butch Cavendish Gang, and how he was nursed back to health by an Indian friend from his childhood. Tonto (Jay Silverheels) declares his companion a 'trusty scout', and names him Kemo-sabe. I've read various interpretations of the origin of the term Kemo-sabe, but I'm satisfied with Tonto's explanation. Reading too much into it just detracts from the story, just like the English translation of 'tonto' from Spanish, which I won't reveal, because it's just better not to know if you can help it.

I thought it quite clever how the origin story created the mystique of the Lone Ranger, like the sixth grave that created the illusion that all the Rangers died in the box canyon ambush. You never see the face of the man who becomes the Lone Ranger, as it's always turned away or obscured to hide his real identity. Even the origin of Silver is handled brilliantly; the voice of the story's narrator describing the wild stallion's sterling qualities. Would that relate, say, to sterling..., silver? I got the biggest kick out of that.

Of course with the passage of time, watching the Lone Ranger episodes today offers a view of how unsophisticated the show was beyond the origin story. Some of them are almost embarrassingly goofy, particularly when it comes to a Lone Ranger showdown when he shoots into the middle of a crowd of bad guys to knock a gun out of a villain's hand. And how about that little wave he gives to Tonto whenever they're about to ambush the bad guys - it's always the same gesture, but Tonto always knows what it means in different circumstances. Then you have the episodes where Clayton Moore takes off the Ranger mask to don a different disguise to impersonate another character in service to the story. He even went under cover once as an actor portraying President Abraham Lincoln to uncover a villain, top hat and all!

Few fans that I come across ever know that actor John Hart replaced Clayton Moore for the 1952/53 season in a contract dispute that Moore had with the show's producers. If you ever saw that "Happy Days" episode where Fonzie idolizes his boyhood hero, you'll notice it was John Hart listed in the credits. It's difficult actually, to tell if you're watching a Hart episode or not, the key is to listen to the voice; Moore's is so distinctive that it's a dead giveaway.

If you ever get the chance to sample some of the final season color episodes, you're in for a treat. The renditions I've seen on VHS are absolutely gorgeous, although I don't know if commercial prints are available. Most of the black and white episodes around have been re-packaged by any number of distributors in different configurations, so getting your hands on those should be no problem. The must see of course is the three part origin, and if you don't watch anything else, this gives you all the flavor and excitement you need to capture the imagination of one of the West's most famous heroes. Hi-Yo Silver, Awaaaay!
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7/10
Vintage and attractive series about the Ranger accompanied by the Indian Tonto who rides with him, on Silver and Scout, throughout the West
ma-cortes15 November 2018
This TV adaptation deals with the Lone Ranger , here he comes , thundering up the West's deadliest trails , blasting his way into the fabled stories .It packs some fine action , adequate score , thrills and emotion ; as children as well as adults will undoubtedly love this series . Colorful and moving series in which the Masked Man and the strange Indian Tonto take on nasty outlaws and powerful owners .This enjoyable series deals with a man of the law, a legend of justice : Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore : 169 episodes), and a Native American warrior called Tonto (Jay Silverheels : 217 episodes) , both actors receive top billing . Agreeable though overlong series, stars Lone Ranger , the Masked Man and his faithful Indian sidekick Tonto (it means "fool" in Spanish , in Spanish versions of this film, Tonto is renamed Toro, which means "bull") . The masked rider and Tonto take on desperado hordes , rustlers , nasty riders , evil land barons and using the silver bullets that stopped the most savage wicked things ever to menace America's vast frontiers . As they must prevent wars among Indians , cowboys and railway or save the Wells Fargo Express in dangerous adventures . But the Lone Ranger is never captured nor held for very long by lawmen or outlaws, in order to avoid the chance of him being unmasked . The legend of the Lone Ranger is ¨the untold story of the man behind the mask and the legend behind the man¨ , it began on radio and made the transition to the small screen more than 50 years ago . This flick follows the adventures of the Ranger , his white stallion Silver and his American Indian pal Tonto , as they attempt to bring local criminals to justice. They ride throughout the West, doing good deeds and they dedicate their life to combat the evil . The two heroes ride off in a cloud of dust under classic musical background composed by Rossini and shouting ¨Hi-Yo silver¨, in fact this shout "Hi-Yo Silver!" at the beginning of each episode is a recording of Earle W. Graser, who played The Lone Ranger on radio from 1933-41 .

The series contains thrills , go-riding , roller-coaster action , crossfire , horse pursuits , and great scenery with spectacular outdoors well photographed . This shows a campy , amusing and entertaining glimpse in the Wild West . Nice Clayton Moore as Lone Ranger , a man of the law attempting to keep peace , justice and order , and , splendid Jay Silverheels , he shows have an endearing innocent charm . Good support cast with several secondary stars ordinary in Western movies ,such as : James Griffith , Douglas Kennedy , DeForest Kelley , John Doucette , Walter Sande ,Hank Worden , Stevie Brodie , Gene Evans , Whit Bissell , Robert J. Wilke , Néstor Paiva , Anne Doran ,Joe Turkel ,Slim Pickens , Robert Livingston , Chuck Roberson , Francis Ford , Craig Stevens , Tom Powers and Lee van Cleef , among others .

Originally created as a radio play in 1933 by George W. Trendle and well developed by Fran Striker . The Lone Ranger started off as an America radio show started in the 1930s and finally ended in 1954 . It began in a ¨Lone Ranger¨ serial (1938) , a program burdened by frenetic action and starred by Lee Powell , being directed by William Witney and John English . It later expanded on to the big screen with 1938's "The Lone Ranger," 1939's "The Lone Ranger Rides Again," , a Republic serial in 15 whirlwind chapters with Robert Livingstone , Chief Thundercloud and Duncan Renaldo . The Lone Ranger was also a television series from 1948 through 1957 in which gained widespread notoriety on ABC television, as Clayton Moore donned the mask each week to fight crime and corruption in the old west and of course Jay Silverheels as Tonto . The Masked rider and Tonto in their first feature-length picture was directed by Stuart Heisler and co-starred by Lyle Bettger and Bonita Granville ; its following was ¨The Lone Ranger and the lost city of gold¨ , well co-starred by Douglas Kennedy , Charles Watts and Ralph Morris . Furthermore , new version by Willam A Fraker titled ¨The legend of the Lone Ranger¨ that wavers between irony and seriousness , starred by Klinton Spilbury and Michael Horse ; but the film bombed so badly at the box office , as the movie's star Klinton Spilsbury never worked in Hollywood again. The last appearance of The Lone Ranger was in 2003 for a two-hour special on WB Network starring Chad Michael Murray and Nathaniel Arcand . And , finally ,the Legend Of The Lone Ranger is crusader's last silver screen outing , as Jerry Bruckheimer Films has produced q spectacular adaptation of ¨The Lone Ranger¨ (2013) , this is the last big screen iteration of the famous character , Gore Verbinski has compellingly directed a new rendition of the classic TV show film , a blockbuster retelling for the big screen that pays tribute at nostalgic television series starred by Johnny Depp , Armie Hammer , Ruth Wilson , Helena Bonham Carter , Tom Wilkinson , William Fichtner , and James Badge .
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8/10
It made a great transition from radio to TV
AlsExGal7 September 2015
There was a time, from my childhood up until the mid-1980's, when shows such as the Lone Ranger and The Little Rascals filled week-day afternoon and Saturday morning TV slots. Old movies could be readily found on TV late at night and on Sunday afternoons. Ever since TV stations began filling every extra additional minute with infomercials and their own first-run productions and reality shows, as well as the beginning of the continuous news cycle, these old classics have not seen the light of day. This shows early years are on DVD, and if you ever get the chance to view the show, do understand that the TV show, at least at first, borrowed heavily from its radio roots.

Also note that some of the first episodes are very short - in some cases only 11 or 12 minutes long. That is because sometimes the sponsor would put two short serials in the same half hour slot. The time really belonged to the sponsor back in those days, and thus early TV schedules looked a lot like radio at first.

One of my favorite episodes was "The Silent Voice" towards the end of season two. The witness to a crime is a stroke victim who is completely paralyzed. The Lone Ranger comes up with a way for the woman to communicate by blinking in response to letters of the alphabet.

The other episode from this early part of the series that sticks out is one in which the wife in a husband/wife crime team betrays the husband and shoots him. He is presumed dead and taken to the undertaker's. The Lone Ranger discovers that the husband is not dead, and the husband makes a confession as to what is going on before he dies as he lies on a slab about to buried - alive. The Lone Ranger tricks the wife by claiming that her husband is still alive. That's what I liked about the Lone Ranger - it really could be very dark. There would always be the happy ending with the criminals rounded up and jailed, but that didn't mean that some good people didn't fall along the way or that something really creepy or cringe-worthy wasn't part of the plot.

Highly recommended if you ever get the chance.
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10/10
all of the written accolades for the series are bang on
ron-stuart2711 February 2017
With the amazing success of the Marvel Super Hero Franchise it's about time for a proper remake of The Lone Ranger. The 1981 attempt called The Legend of the Lone Ranger was an absolute disaster. But the most recent effort starring Johnny Depp was nothing more than a western version of his Pirates of the Caribean franchise and a total waste of talent and money. Any true history buff who wants to see this legend remade will tell you it has to be a "serious" attempt and must be filmed with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels respected and indeed honoured for their place in history - they lived the characters in real life. A proper remake should be in the new trilogy format with unknown characters in the two leading roles and the first has to start with the killing of the Ranger patrol. There is no better time to do the right thing - it has been messed up too many times over the years and its return to the big screen is long overdue! Somebody please make it happen!!
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8/10
One of the best early television series, a true classic
llltdesq20 July 2015
This is a classic television western series. There will be mild spoilers of the basic background for the series ahead:

I suspect that most people reading this will have at least some knowledge of this series, but I'll give a brief synopsis of it anyway. A group of six Texas Rangers go riding after an outlaw gang (the Cavendish Gang). The Rangers are being led into a trap by a scout who is working for the gang and five of them are killed in an ambush. The sixth, a man named Reid, survives, in no small part due to the help of an Indian named Tonto who, in a twist of an improbable nature, met him once before, when Tonto was a boy. Reid helped him then and he returns the favor, calling Reid "Kemo Sabe".

Reid recovers and decides to take up a secret identity to track down and bring to justice bad guys. He dons a black mask and a white hat, calling himself "The Lone Ranger". He saves and then tames a wild white stallion he calls Silver. Having a secret silver mine, he covers his expenses and manufactures silver bullets from the ore taken from the mine. Thus is a hero born.

Clayton Moore played the title character most of the series, though John Hart assumed the role for 52 episodes after the first 78 were produced. When Hart wasn't accepted as the character by audiences, Moore returned. Jay Silverheels played Tonto for the entire run, appearing in virtually every episode. Lots of recognizable faces appeared in the series, most of them before they became famous, like DeForrest Kelly, pre-Star Trek and Victor Sen Yung, pre-Bonanza.

This series is available on DVD, most notably the Classic Media The Lone Ranger: Collector's Edition, a 30 disc release containing all 221 episodes. The set is excellent and well worth having if you're a fan. Recommended.
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8/10
What does he call him?
screenman12 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't even born when this series was released in the USA. It took about another decade before British TV networks laid hold of it.

In fact, I was fortunate enough to see the very first episode, in which The Lone Ranger was one of a posse who ran into an ambush and got slaughtered. TLR was the only survivor. Although badly wounded, he was saved by a passing Indian called Tonto. I believe he took to wearing a mask in order to hide his true identity for fear of reprisal. But instead he made himself all the more recognisable. Dunno if he wore it in his sleep.

This was Saturday teatime staple. The fanfare bugles of William Tell's overture presaged a dash to the telly, food still in hand. Though it very quickly became repetitive, predictable hokum. Nobody ever unmasked him. Nobody ever landed a punch, nobody ever out-shot him. He was a little too good, and just a little too camp in his dress for most kids. Poor Tonto, on the other hand, became his Aunt Sally. He was always getting slugged and tied-up and kidnapped and stuff.

And what did he keep calling The Lone Ranger? 'King Savvy' was the general consensus where I lived. It seemed to imply 'the big know-all' in Indian-speak. But is sounded like something else, as if Mr Silverheels had a speech defect. 'Kemosabe'; what the hell's that?

A later, and less well-merchandised duo called 'The Range Rider' and 'Dick West' eventually won my vote. This featured a naked-faced Jock Mahoney who got beat-up pretty thoroughly in each episode and was altogether less camp, less super, and more believable.

Still; even today I can't hear William Tell's overture without expecting the gallop of hooves and a hearty Hi-Oh Silver.

Devine daftness.
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9/10
Embedded in my DNA...
dpc6930 July 2019
In my old age, I have taken to reviewing the fantastic television plays of the 50's and 60's. I cannot help but be "stirred" by the opening strains of William Tell Overture. I know I am about to enter the western fantasy world of the Lo-o-o-one Ranger. What a ridiculous premise. A stoic, resolute purveyor of justice riding a huge white horse called Silver accompanied by his ever faithful companion, Tonto rides through the West setting wrong to right wherever he goes. As kids, we ate it up! No matter what deviance the bad guys cooked up (and some schemes were quite intricate) right was right. And the Lone Ranger was always right! But he was not always Clayton Moore. John Hart subbed for 52 episodes. He was a bigger man and an excellent horseman but eventually Moore was rehired. American audiences don't like change. (Which is why so idiot politicians are elected over and over, but I digress) But in all my internet research, I cannot find a credit for the symphony that recorded that particular theme. The impossible power and nobility of that orchestral performance matched the justice the Masked Man dispensed at lightning speed. It moves me to this day. I don't feel as through I was being patronized or talked down to by the producers or creative force behind the series. Elevated and relieved that there were those that protected and advanced moral value without asking for anything in return. Touched at the ending question: Who was that masked man? A tear swells as the music fades in, louder..."Why don't you know...? That's the Lo-o-one Ranger! Hi ho Silver, away!
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