Monday, January 30, 2023

Happy 90th Anniversary, Mr. Lone Ranger!

My parents raised me well. In my early years they taught me Murphy's Law: never argue with an idiot in public... else people will not know the difference between the two. Never was there a perfect example than the debate among fans of The Lone Ranger whether the radio program premiered on the evening of January 30, 1933, or January 31, 1933. The premiere date was indeed January 31, but it seems every year during the anniversary, there is a small percentage (very small, I should note) that want to pick a fight over the date and insist January 30. While they have no historical documents to back their claim, every year at least one or two of them try to draw me into a public debate. The easiest solution, of course, is to walk away and avoid them. It is not a matter of who is right and who is wrong, but rather from a psychological aspect that dictates getting into a debate of this nature is pointless.

The problem of January 30 vs. January 31 stems from mis-information posted on numerous websites, which keep getting reprinted on other websites. Worse, there is a small percentage of folks on social media who feel the most important thing they have to do today is get into arguments with other fans of The Lone Ranger so that their opinion of January 30 is more definitive than the factual January 31. Perhaps some people just want to have a reason to argue... but they can argue with someone else. I choose to walk away.

In college I was taught that people who hold irrational beliefs to be truth rarely change their minds. That is one of the key differences between those who put reason above emotion in their own thinking and those who do not: A person who truly values reason can be convinced to change their minds by evidence. A person who acts primarily on belief and emotion is almost impossible to sway with evidence. But I digress: the evidence is out there and therefore January 31 wins out. Which is why I feel sorry for that smallest of minority that want to, annually, debate over January 30 because of their belief and choose not to take three minutes and review the historical documents that speaks otherwise.

Enclosed below (click to enlarge) is a well-written (clear and concise) explanation of the premiere broadcast date, verifying January 31.

Scans above reprinted with permission from The Lone Ranger: The Early Years, 1933-1937, which reprints pages and pages of historical documents backing up all the facts contained within. I provide this info for you to be informed, not influenced. So the next time you meet a fan of The Lone Ranger who wants to pick a fight over the premiere broadcast date, walk away and leave them to their opinions. There are things far more important to debate over than the premiere broadcast date of The Lone Ranger. At least you have the facts and that is more important than trying to convince someone with an opinion otherwise.

Friday, January 27, 2023

The Shadow in Review (Book Review)

If you are a fan of The Shadow pulp magazine, you may want to seek out a copy of this mammoth phone book sized tome by John Olsen. The Shadow in Review is pretty much what you expect from the title. John read all 300+ novels of The Shadow and not only wrote a brief summary of the plots, but took extensive notes of the characters, continuity, and provided commentary for each novel. 

The Shadow was published from 1931 to 1949, initially written by Walter Gibson. Sales were strong enough to warrant the publishing company, Street & Smith, to publish from a quarterly to a monthly publication, then twice-monthly. By the mid-thirties, Gibson was assisted by Theodore Tinsely, while the novels were still credited to the fictional Maxwell Grant. Paper shortages during World War II forced the publishing company to shrink the size of the magazine from pulp to digest. Walter Gibson stopped writing the novels in 1946 over a contract dispute, so the assignment was handed over to Bruce Elliott. Elliott wrote only a small handful and those are held in low esteem by fans of the periodical.) Gibson eventually returned and the later stories started to replicate the format of the radio program.

Personally, I love the character but applying the logic of Spock, there is no way I could possibly read each and every novel in the series without sacrificing the enjoyment of other books and novels. So I queried a number of fans for a list of their top ten and amassed a stack of 40 or so for my bookshelf. Every year I read one or two novels for enjoyment. (Yes, I have the four with his arch nemesis, Khan.)

John Olsen's book is fantastic because I can read an entry a day and know what the plot is, and the bullet points, without having to read the novels. If you love The Shadow but find you won't have time to read all 300+ novels, this is an essential tome for your bookshelf.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Adventures of Scott Island, a.k.a. Harbormaster

Have you ever heard of the short-lived television program, The Adventures of Scott Island? Well, you are not alone. Neither did I. But I came across an archive with a bunch of material related to the production of the television series. When I dug into the history of the series, I discovered it was re-titled Harbormaster. Yes, that sounds more familiar. 

It was not uncommon for television programs to change names midway through production, before, during or after the initial telecast. On this series, Barry Sullivan starred as the captain of the sailing vessel, The Blue Chip II, who devoted his time repairing boats at the harbor and -- typical of ZIV television productions -- solving crimes as an amateur detective. When the program first aired, Harbormaster had stiff competition. Walt Disney was giving us Zorro and, well, you know how that fared for the Barry Sullivan series. 

Celebrity guests included Suzanne Pleshette, Martin Landau, Larry Hagman, Barbara Bain and the usual suspects found on television programs in the 1950s. It is a darn shame this series has yet to be released commercially on DVD. But while it is easy to find promotional material on Harbormaster, it is not easy to find material on The Adventures of Scott Island.

Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Life and Movie Career of Nell O'Day

Merrill T. McCord has assembled a book that documents the life and career of Nell O’Day, It was literally a ballerina on a horse, but such incongruity was nothing unusual for her. They are overlooked by stage of motion picture historians today, She was one of the most multi talented performers in the history of entertainment and displayed many contradictory personas, being called both a dainty girl and a tomboy. She was an actress in for venues, stage, theatrical films, industrial films, and television, a ballet in an acrobatic dancer, a singer of Broadway and western songs, wrote screenplays and stage place, and served as a magazine writer and editor. Her career has basically gone unforgotten but if you watch a lot of movies from the 1930s, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her in some films.

After reading this book, I was surprised to discover this is an actress that I have seen many times in Johnny Mac Brown westerns from Universal Studios, the 1930 musical King of Jazz, Fay Wray 1934 classic Woman in the Dark, Tim Holt westerns, PRC Texas Rangers westerns, Maria Montez Universal adventures, cliffhanger serials like PERILS OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED, and more. From old dark house murder mysteries to monogram studios horror films, Nell played supporting roles in tons of movies. 

Regrettably, actresses like her tend to fall by the wayside and become forgotten. Never receiving top billing, she went under noticed and overlooked over the last few decades until Merrill went to the trouble of digging through archives, her personal scrapbooks and papers, and documented her career in a wonderful 210 page book. There is a certain status quo for how information is presented in Hollywood biographies that has been excepted as the norm and what he did in his book is more of a variation on a theme which, I have to admit, is better in the way he presented her career chronologically. More so, if anyone is ever going to write a biography on a Hollywood actor or actress, this is a perfect template for how such books should be done.  

Lovingly illustrated and fascinating to read, This book is worth seeking out and purchasing if you love the damsels in distress, cowboy heroines, and vintage Hollywood in general.

Click the advertisement to enlarge.

Thursday, January 5, 2023


Ron Fortier, Mike Belcher & Aiden Belcher have produced a brand new original Green Hornet comic strip as fan fiction in a PDF file. Anyone wishing a copy can have it for free merely by writing either Ron ( or Mike at ( Again this is fan fiction and there is no charge. 

Merry Christmas Green Hornet fans!