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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

THE LONE RANGER

The first radio episode of “The Lone Ranger” was broadcast on WYXZ in Detroit in 1933, and its makers had no real idea of the show’s popularity, until the Detroit Department of Recreation gave its annual school field day that year on Belle Isle. It promised the children that the Lone Ranger would appear in person. He did, wearing his mask, and mounted on a white horse. The police were prepared to handle a crowd of 20,000, the most that Belle Isle could hold comfortably. But 70,000 came, breaking through lines and knocking each other down to get to their hero. The Lone Ranger himself helped to restore order. He never dared to make another public appearance.

Then in 1949, my birth year, “The Lone Ranger” premiered on television, on ABC. His popularity was bigger than ever, and I grew up with this good show--so good that the Lone Ranger told Tonto that he would never shoot to kill, but to wound. The series was a great mix between good morals and exciting adventure. Its script and stunts are now laughable compared to today’s shows, but there’s something about those Lone Ranger episodes that stand well above contemporary TV--something that the discerning viewer has no trouble realizing.

I’ve collected enough vintage TV shows, seasons and series on DVD to last me through retirement--scores of my favorites--and I am repulsed by advertising and will never be a salesman. Yet I am so pleased by the boxed set I received in the mail a couple weeks ago that I can’t keep quiet about it. It’s the 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of the Lone Ranger, Seasons One and Two. Not only is this a good price for two seasons of any TV show, but I was surprised by all the box contains: 12 well-packaged discs, a disc of bonus features, a flip-side poster of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, a staple-bound episode guide, an 84-page book of the history of “The Lone Ranger,” an autographed photo of Clayton Moore in costume, a little comic book of “The Legend of the Lone Ranger with Tonto and Silver,” 15 trading cards, a vintage postcard application to join the Lone Ranger Safety Club (when card postage was only a penny), a vintage letter (in the mailing envelope) sent to new full-fledged members of the Lone Ranger Victory Corps, and a Lone Ranger Victory Corps membership card.

Opening this box reminded me of how excited I was when I was a kid opening the package from the Three Stooges Fan Club! And this made me think that maybe there’s a Lone Ranger Fan Club nowadays. There is! And because it’s in the process of making some administrative changes, joining the Lone Ranger Fan Club now in 2011 is FREE! Of course I joined, and a week later received a large manilla envelope in the mail with my THE LONE RANGER FAN CLUB Kemo Sabay Certificate of Membership! And along with this membership, you receive online the monthly official newsletter, “The Silver Bullet,” full of neat stuff. I’m so pleased with this Fan Club that I raved about it on Facebook and two of my cousins also joined. [In August of 2016 I checked again. To join it's now $19 for the initial setup, and $12.75 per calendar year thereafter. Still well worth it for the enthusiast.]

In both the book you get with the DVD set and on the Fan Club certificate can be found The Lone Ranger Creed:

“I believe that to have a friend a person must be one.

That all people 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 everyone must gather and light it themselves.

In being prepared physically, mentally and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

That a person should make the most of what equipment they have.

That this Government, of the people, by the people and for the people, shall live always.

That people 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 truth alone, lives on forever.

In my Creator, my Country, my fellow people.”

The Lone Ranger Creed

That doesn’t sound bad to me at all, and yet I haven’t thought of a contemporary TV show that would or could sport such a creed.

My family and I are really enjoying watching these old episodes from 1949, reproduced in good quality, too, and yes, I’m advertising all this. I hope that you, too, will appreciate this good series with us. And when online social networks ask me to list my heroes on my profile, I’ll no longer be dumbfounded.


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