“Hi-yo, Silver, away!”
From radio to film to television, The Lone Ranger has spent the past spent seventy-five years riding the plains of the American West. With Tonto by his side, they have traveled from town to town righting wrongs on behalf of those who can’t fight for themselves.
Now, the legendary masked avenger’s fight for justice can be seen on DVD, with The Lone Ranger 75th’s Anniversary Collector’s Edition: a dozen box set with the first two seasons of the series that includes 78 episodes of the Emmy-nominated classic with Clayton Moore in the titular role and Jay Silverheels, his trusty sidekick Tonto. “It was a stereotypical role”, said media historian Mary Ann Watson, “but it was a significant role. Watson, also a professor of Eastern Michigan University, teaches electronic media and film studies. She also told The Detroit News Silverheels became a champion of American Indian actors since the series ended.
The DVD also features an 88-page color booklet, complete episode guide, and rare comic book images of a man considered the classic American Western Hero – the ultimate good guy that always does the right thing.
“The Lone Ranger means truth, honesty, and hard work – all the things that made America what it is” Lone Ranger Fan Club president Joe Southern said to The Detroit News, who is managing editor for The Hereford Brand, a Hereford, Texas-based newspaper.
Extras of the DVD, which comes out next week, includes an original radio broadcast from 1950 and three episodes from a 1960s cartoon series.
“The release of the DVD set”, Southern states, “is setting the stage for the 75th-anniversary celebration and the upcoming movie by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer. It’s giving fans a chance to catch up on ‘The Lone Ranger’ and find out what he’s all about”.
The popularity of The Lone Ranger paved the way for the spin-off The Green Hornet, in which his nephew Britt Reid is a dashing newspaper publisher by day and a vigilante by night with the help of his manservant Kato. The Green Hornet even had a series on ABC from 1966-67 that marked the screen debut of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee.
The Lone Ranger has even influenced popular shows like NBC’s Knight Rider, about a lone crusader championing the innocent against those above the law with the aid of a talking super car. “I wanted to do The Lone Ranger with a car,” said creator-executive producer Glen A. Larson in The Last Great Ride. “Kind of a sci-fi thing, with the soul of a western.” Another was ABC’s Hardcastle & McCormick (1983-86), about a retired judge (Brian Keith) who idolizes The Lone Ranger, as he and an ex-con (Daniel Hugh Kelly) go after those that have gotten off on legal technicalities with their vehicle, the Coyote X.
Here’s this YouTube fan video in tribute of Hardcastle & McCormick — the “Superheroes ‘R Us”:
According to Southern, The Lone Ranger was a hero that people of all ages can look up to. “If you look at the movie and television shows out today,” he said, “good and bad isn’t as black and white as it used to be. The Lone Ranger made it a lot clearer. You knew right from wrong and good from bad.”