THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN!
“A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger! … Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! The Lone Ranger rides again”!
THE LONE RANGER is a masked Texas Ranger in the American Old West who gallops about righting injustices with the aid of his clever, laconic Native Indian assistant, Tonto. This American Pop Icon was first introduced in a 1933 radio show, which became an immediate hit, resulting in 2,956 broadcast radio episodes, going on to television and cinema. Tonight, we will be presenting two related episodes from THE LONE RANGER archive.
The First Episode is from 1948 and recounts the Origin of the Lone Ranger; why wears the mask, how he met his Indian companion Tonto, why he shoots silver bullets, where he found his magnificent stallion Silver. The basic story of THE LONGE RANGER is ingrained in American culture. The unnamed hero was the only survivor of a group of six Texas Rangers who were ambushed by Butch Cavendish and his gang in a canyon named Bryant’s Gap. An Indian named Tonto later came upon the massacre, finding one ranger still alive. Tonto nurses the ranger back to health, who then swears to bring Cavendish to justice. To keep Cavendish off his guard, the ranger and Tonto make six graves in Bryant’s Gap, and the ranger fashions a black domino mask from a ranger’s vest to conceal his identity. He tamed the wild horse Silver for his mount, and after making sure Cavendish paid for his crimes, the Lone Ranger continued to fight for justice in the Old West.
The Second Episode is from 1953 and celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the series with The Return of Butch Cavendish – the Lone Ranger’s arch nemesis,. Will Cavendish escape yet again? Or will justice prevail this time!? Tonto and THE LONE RANGER are inseperable. The character of Tonto made his initial appearance in the 11th episode of the radio show. The author, Fran Striker, told his son that Tonto was added so “The Lone Ranger would have someone to talk to.” He was named by James Jewell, who also came up with the term “Kemosabe“, based on the name of a Summer Camp owned by his father-in-law in upstate Michigan. In the local Native American language, Tonto meant “Wild One.” Because Tonto means “Stupid” or “Ignorant” in Spanish, the character was renamed “Toro” (Spanish for “Bull“) or “Ponto” in Spanish-speaking countries.
The THEME MUSIC is just as iconic as THE LONE RANGER himself and was primarily taken from the “MARCH OF THE SWISS SOLDIERS” finale of Gioachino Rossini’s WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE, which thus came to be inseparably associated with the series.
The Golden Age of Radio
THE LONE RANGER is the fifth installment of our highly popular Live Radio Series, after the Classic Crime Story SORRY, WRONG NUMBER by Lucille Fletcher, THE MARX BROTHERS RADIO HOUR, the Orson Welles’ Radio Adaption of DRACULA by Bram Stoker, and the Film Noir Detective Spoof by The Firesign Theatre – NICK DANGER; Third Eye. In October, we will be presenting THE WIZARD OF OZ by L.Frank Baum using the original 1950 LUX RADIO HOUR script!
The Golden Age of Radio, refers to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the early 1920s until the 1950s; reaching its peak popularity with general audiences during the 1930s and 1940s. In a time before televisions and computers, radio was the first medium that brought live entertainment into the homes of Americans across the country and Millions tuned in daily to listen to their favorite programs.
During the Golden Age of Radio, new forms of entertainment were created for the new medium: radio plays, mystery, adventure and detective serials, soap operas, quiz shows, variety hours, talent shows, situation comedies, children’s shows, live musical concerts, play by play sports broadcasts and the format of modern radio news.
Part of this peak period of radio coincided with The Great Depression in North America; when people were doing without most luxuries, and even a few seeming necessities. Radio and its wide range of live music, comedy, variety shows, and dramatic programming served as a welcome escape from those troubled times. Even though many people couldn’t afford payments on their washing machines, vacuum cleaners, or Model A Fords, they desperately struggled to keep up payments on their radios. Not only were all of these things relatively expensive in the 1930s, but a large percentage of people were out of work.
By 1935, more than 22 million American homes had radios and these technical devices weren’t small; they were built into large wooden cases that amounted to elaborate pieces of furniture. The large size was due mostly to large vacuum tubes in the circuitry. These early radios also had large speakers that provided rich bass, and large loops of wire wound around an internal drum that served as an adjustable antenna for receiving distant stations.
Entire families sat around the large radio, prominently situated in the living room and listened to shows like AMOS ‘N ANDY, GUNSMOKE THE SHADOW, SUPERMAN, DICK TRACEY, BUCK ROGERS, and each individual listener created their very own images of the characters and settings; thus the term THEATRE OF THE MIND.
The shows were created in large studios, before a live audience. The broadcast involved writers, announcers, bandleaders, technicians, sound effect men, stock actors and the stars, script in hand, speaking into microphones. The scripts were paper-clipped together, and pages were simply dropped to the carpeted floor after use. Sometimes when reassembling a script to use it for live broadcasting to the next time zone, some pages would be out of order or missing entirely; calling upon the improvisational expertise of the cast of actors.
Radio shows were very often sponsored by companies whose brand name was present in the show’s title. There was ALKA SELTZER TIME, KING BISCUIT HOUR, THE CAMPBELL PLAYHOUSE, CHESTERFIELD SUPPER CLUB, THE EVEREADY HOUR, KRAFT MUSIC HALL, LUCKY STRIKE HOUR, MAXWELL HOUSE SHOWBOAT, PALMOLIVE BEAUTY BOX THEATER, LUX RADIO THEATRE, etc.
THE LONE RANGER is brought to you by CHEERIOS!
August 6 at 20:00 hrs in MERLIN
September 28 at 20:00 hrs in THEATER AM OLGAECK
December 16 at 19:00 hrs in CENTRAL THEATER, Esslingen