The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto. The character has been called an enduring icon of American culture.
“This is a story of one of the mysterious characters to appear in the early days of the West. He was a fabulous individual. A man whos presence brought fear to the lawless, and hope to those who wanted to make this frontier land their own He was known as the Lone Ranger.”
“The movie that started it all. Enter the Lone Ranger sets the stage for what will become one of the most cherished of all of the classic westerns. Even today, people can learn so much from this movie about good and evil. This will never be outdated, nor go out of style.”
The Lone Ranger first appeared in 1933 in a radio show on WXYZ (Detroit), conceived either by station owner George W. Trendle or by Fran Striker, the show’s writer. Although test episodes actually aired earlier on radio station WEBR in Buffalo. The radio series proved to be a hit, and spawned a series of books (largely written by Striker), an equally popular television show that ran from 1949 to 1957, comic books, and several films. The title character was played on the radio show by Earle Graser for some 1,300 episodes, but three others preceded him, according to The New York Times: “a man named Deeds, who lasted only a few weeks; a George Stenius [actually George Seaton according to the Los Angeles Times], and then Brace Beemer; the latter became the narrator of the program.
Clayton Moore portrayed the Lone Ranger on television, although during a contract dispute Moore was replaced for a season by John Hart, who wore a different style of mask. On the radio, Tonto was played by among others John Todd and Roland Parker. In the television series, Jay Silverheels, who was a Mohawk from the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario, Canada was cast in the role.
Shown here is the first episode of the TV series. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels also both starred in two feature films, The Lone Ranger in 1956 and The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold in 1958.
As generally depicted, the Lone Ranger conducts himself by a strict moral code based on that put in place by Striker at the inception of the character. It read:
I believe that to have a friend,
a man must be one.
That all men 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 every man
must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared
physically, mentally, and morally
to fight when necessary
for what is right.
That a man should make the most
of what equipment he has.
That ‘this government,
of the people, by the people
and for the people’
shall live always.
That men should live by
the rule of what is best
for the greatest number.
That sooner or later…
we must settle with the world
and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth,
and that truth alone, lives on forever.
In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
In addition, Fran Striker and George W. Trendle drew up the following guidelines that embody who and what the Lone Ranger is:
- The Lone Ranger was never seen without his mask or some sort of disguise.
- He was never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked.
- He always used perfect grammar and precise speech devoid of slang and colloquialisms.
- Whenever he was forced to use guns, he never shot to kill, but instead tried to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.
- He was never put in a hopeless situation; e.g., he was never seen escaping from a barrage of gunfire merely by fleeing toward the horizon.
- He rarely referred to himself as the Lone Ranger. If someone’s suspicion were aroused, either the Lone Ranger would present one of his silver bullets to confirm his identity or someone else would attest on his behalf; the latter happened at the end of most episodes when someone would ask, “Who was that masked man?” as the Lone Ranger departed. His decision to adopt the moniker of Lone Ranger was inspired by Tonto; following the ambush at Bryant’s Gap, Tonto observed him to be the only ranger left—in other words, he was the “lone” ranger.
- Though the Lone Ranger offered his aid to individuals or small groups facing powerful adversaries, the ultimate objective of his story always implied that their benefit was only a byproduct of the development of the West or the country.
- Adversaries were rarely other than American, to avoid criticism from minority groups, with some exceptions. He sometimes battled foreign agents, though their nation of origin was generally not named. An exception was his having helped the Mexican Benito Juárez against French troops of Emperor Maximilian, as occurred in the radio episodes “Supplies for Juarez” (September 18, 1939), “Hunted by Legionnaires” (September 20, 1939), and “Lafitte’s Reinforcements” (September 22, 1939).
- The names of unsympathetic characters were carefully chosen so that they never consisted of two names if it could be avoided. More often than not, a single nickname or surname was selected.
- The Lone Ranger never drank or smoked, and saloon scenes were usually shown as cafes, with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.
- Criminals were never shown in enviable positions of wealth or power, and they were never successful or