Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Re Visiting a Couple of Old Heroes. Meet and Greet The Lone Ranger & Tonto

The Star of the Texas Rangers

I usually do not re do many of my Hero Dawgs but I have found that some of the drawings I did and posted in  the early days of this Blog were not as good as they could have been.

Below is an example I posted in March 2011. When my Dawgs looked a little more Doggie than they do now.

My early workings of The Lone Ranger & Tonto from March 2011

So I have up dated the Pictures and represent The Lone Ranger & Tonto

Like a lot of the heroes I have covered in my recent blog, The Lone Ranger began as character on the Radio. The True creator of this hero is unclear. It was either George W Trendle The Owner of the US Radio station WXYZ based in Detroit or Fran Striker who was the Radio Shows first writer, but what is known that in January 1933 the WXYZ Radio station broadcasted the first adventure of the Marked Lawman from the Old West.

These are not the original opening words spoken in 1933, but they became the opening lines shortly thereafter.

"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger! .. With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States! Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice! Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! From out of the past come the thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!"

The show was so popular that soon books and tales of the Lone Ranger were being published all around the world. By the late 1940's he even had his own Television Show in America. This and the Weekly Movie House Series and later full blown Feature Movies meant that The Man in The Mask and his Faithful Indian side kick were here to stay. In Disney tried to bring these characters back for another adventure in the 2000's..... to mixed reviews.

A New 2017 Version of the Heroes

As the Series began on Radio, the identity of the Masked Vigilante was less of a problem than it became once he made it onto the silver screen.

Once on Film and on TV the Lone Ranger would not be seen without his masked or called by any other name. He did have a name his companion and partner Tonto called him by "Kemo-sabe" which has been taken to mean "Trusty Scout"  or  " Trusted Friend" or even " One Who Watches in Secret " .... but what ever the true meaning on the phrase, it is one of deep regard and affection from Tonto to his friend The Lone Ranger.

Who was the Lone Ranger, and what was his origin. Again no exact origin has ever been established. Over the years it has been changed but basically The Masked Gun Man name has never been fully forthcoming, as this was unimportant to the stories. How The Masked Man became The Lone Ranger is a little bit easier to establish.

Unlike today when the Origin of a Character is the first part of most stories, the origin and the meeting between The L R and Tonto was never discussed as a back story as this was seen as unimportant.  Why the LR wore a Mask and why he did what he did was never part of the stories.  The stories were about what injustice the L R was fighting, not why he was doing it or his motivation except he wanted to protect others from evil and wrong doers.

When a back story was established it involved both Tonto and a man that would become The L R.  The Lone Ranger was a Texas Ranger, who had been the sole survivor of an ambush. The L R was one of 6 Texas Rangers who were pursuing an Out Law Gang lead by Butch Cavendish. The Group of Rangers were lead by Captain Daniel Reid who had received a tip off the Cavendish Gang where holed up in a Canyon called Bryant's Gap.

The Rangers rode into the Canyon only to find that they had been duped and the Cavendish Gang were laying in wait for them. It would transpire that the informant  had been paid  to double cross the posse of Texas Rangers.  In the ambush all the Rangers were shot and all believed to have been killed.  Their lifeless bodies were left  as the Cavendish Gang quickly rode off making their escape.

This is where Tonto came onto the scene.  Tonto was a North America Indian who had come across the bodies of the Texas Rangers. He set about burying the bodies when he realised that one of the Rangers was still alive barely.  He tended to the young Rangers Wounds and continued to bury the other bodies. He dug 5 graves for the deceased Texas Rangers and another one for the one that had survived. Thinking that if the killers did return they would believe all had indeed been slaughtered in the ambush. Tonto's Tribe and heritage again is not always clear. He is believed to be the son of a tribal Chief, but his tribe has been stated as both Pottawatomi and or Comanche at different times.

This again is where the origin story differs. In some stories  Tonto recognises both the deceased Captain Daniel Reid and the surviving Ranger as Daniel's younger brother. A Name for the younger brother is  never established. Tonto remembers that the younger Reid boy had as a youngster helped save him and his family from death. Thus the two had become child hood friends.  Blood Brothers you could say. As a parting gift the young Tonto had given the younger Reid Brother a ring inscribed with the words Kemo-sabe. The dying young man had this ring around his neck on a chain, identifying him as Tonto's old childhood friend.

After Tonto manages to bring  the young Ranger back to full health he agrees to help Reid bring the Cavendish Gang to book and pay for their crimes and the unlawful killing of the other Rangers.

As Reid the Younger Ranger is believed to be dead killed along side the other Rangers, he decides that he will hide his identity and fashions a mask and adapts his Texas Rangers Uniform and becomes the Lone Ranger.  As a man of Mystery he feels this would strike terror into his prey. As such he leaves behind his previous name and takes on the Masked Lawman as he only identity. In the Radio Shows and the original TV and Film Series, The Lone Ranger is never seen to be without his Mask.

In other versions of the story Reid the younger  again is the sole survivor of the ambush and after he heals from his wounds takes up the Masked Vigilante roll as the Lone Ranger in order to again bring the Cavendish Gang to justice for their crimes. The Lone Ranger would meet Tonto after he has captured the Gang and would invite the Native North American to join him on his crusade to rid the west from all injustices.

Along with the Two Heroes there were two other supporting characters, the Horses used by the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

The Lone Rangers original Horse was called Dusty a Chestnut Mare, but a chance meeting with a  Wild White Stallion who the Lone Range saves from being hurt by a rampaging buffalo brought Silver into the Lone Rangers life as his trusty steed.

On the other Hand Tonto's Horse was originally called White Feather. This was OK on Radio as both heroes having White Horses was not an issue. However once the Lone Ranger made it onto the Silver Screen it was decided that both Horses needed to be different colours to help the viewer identify them more easily.  Tonto soon was given a Horse described as a Painted Horse.  This Pinto was later named Scout. Both horses are of extreme intelligence and would at times help save their masters from harm.

The Radio and the original Television show helped cement The Lone Ranger and Tonto  into American History. With moralistic tales of Good Verses Evil, the Use of a Native American Indian  shown as more than a just a savage or a subject of light hearted comical purpose, the Lone Ranger programmes were very forthright in dealing with social issues of the then present day. Although Tonto did speak in broken English this did not mock either the Character or the Actor portraying Tonto.

Finally, as already mentioned the Phrase  spoken by Tonto "Kemo-Sabe" became a house hold word quickly adopted into every day speak for all fans both young and old. ... But another Catch Phrase also came into being and would usually be spoken  by the LR at the end of most of his shows...... " Hi Yo Silver Away !!!"

This dramatic Line combined with the Clever use of The William Tell Overture by Rossini would mean that The Lone Ranger and Tonto would continue riding into the Sunset and memories of both young and old for ever.


Next Time another Hero or should I say Heroes from Yesterday, and these have a unusual  connection to the two western heroes covered today.

Until Next Time ENJOY !

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