Friday, January 22, 2016

Three Things You Did Not Know About The Lone Ranger

This is an ashcan edition prototype pulp magazine of THE LONE RANGER #1, dated August 1936. This historic magazine marked the first appearance of The Lone Ranger character in print, and so was the artist conception of the masked man. The magazine has two Western stories by Wayne Brooks and Peter Stuart, but neither have any Lone Ranger content; the third story is "The Lone Ranger Rides: A Glimpse Down Pioneer Trail." There are only two of these known to exist (both pictured below). The last time one of these went up for auction it sold for $8,418.58. If you know of anyone who has this, can you have them contact me? I have a question that can only be answered by someone who has one of these.

The pulp magazine began April of 1937 and sadly, the ashcan prototype has been mistakenly labeled as 1937 instead of 1936. 

Debunking one of the many myths about THE LONE RANGER: the first radio broadcast was in 1933. There are no recordings known to exist. Yet, collectors today have a recording telling of the origin of The Lone Ranger and claim it is the first episode. This myth began as a result of this audio cassette release from the 1980s, from Metacom, a.k.a. Adventures in Cassettes. The company was mistaken. The recording is from the 1940s in which the cast and crew revisit The Lone Ranger's origin. (By the way, there was never an origin story for The Lone Ranger until the later years -- the 1933 premiere opened with the Masked Man foiling the crooked scheme of Arizona Pete, a notorious outlaw. The December 5, 1938, broadcast retold of the Arizona Pete story, with only the slightest variations: Tonto never came into the series until episode 12 so Fran Striker had to incorporate Tonto into the story. If you want to hear the very first adventure of The Lone Ranger, the December 5, 1938 broadcast is the one you want to seek out among collectors and listen to.

As for The Lone Ranger's mask... the calendar year of 1933 to 1934 depicts a number of variations. Fran Striker, who wrote the radio scripts, developed the character as he went along. Among the many early variations (mid-1933 to early 1934) was a silver mask that covered his entire face -- in a similar manner as depicted in the Republic cliffhanger serials from 1938 and 1940. At one time Fran Striker told George W. Trendle in an inter-office memo that having watched a couple chapters of the serial he loved the visual concept.

Staff member Robert Liggett sketched his own rendition on a radio script, pictured below.

Tonto was more blood-thirsty in the early years. By 1938, when Trendle began recording the radio broadcasts, Tonto was more respectful of human life. But here is one such example of his savage nature in the early years. Excerpt from the radio script of August 5, 1933:
Ranger: What do you think of that Tonto?
Tonto: Mebbe we shootum now eh?
Ranger: Wait Tonto.
Tonto: Here. Takeum gun. Shootum dead. Heap bad men.
Ranger: No, I think we’ll let them live.
Tonto: Rob stage. Kill Bryant.
Ranger: Jeff Bryant is young. He’s got to be tempered before he’s real steel Tonto.
Tonto: HUH?
Ranger: Only by going thru fire, do men become tempered.
Tonto: Bad men no have fire. They have scheme. Bad scheme.
Ranger: (laugh) Guess we’ll head for where there’s shelter now Tonto.
Tonto: Ugh. Rain, heap wet.
Ranger: We’ve heard enough.
Tonto: Tonto like heap much killum bad men. Tonto see Scarface man around towns. Him all time in saloons. Him good only dead. You say word, Tonto do shootin’. 

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