Lone Ranger
Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger
Publication information
First appearance WXYZ radio; Detroit, Michigan, USA; January 30 or 31, 1933 (sources differ)
Created by Fran Striker[1][2] or George W. Trendle[3][4][5]
In-story information
Alter ego John Reid
Team affiliations Texas Rangers
Partnerships Tonto
Abilities Expert marksman[6]
Above-average athlete, horseman, and hand-to-hand combatant

The fictional character, Lone Ranger, is a masked former Texas Ranger who fights injustice in the American Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto. This character has become an enduring icon of American culture.[7]

He first appeared in 1933, in a radio show conceived either by WXYZ (Detroit) radio station owner, George W. Trendle,[3][4][5] or by Fran Striker,[8] the show's writer.[9][10] The character was originally believed to be inspired by Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes, to whom the book "The Lone Star Ranger" by Zane Grey, was dedicated in 1915.[11] Hughes hunted down the gang who killed Texas Ranger Captain Frank Jones in an ambush. Others believe the character was based on US Marshal Bass Reeves.[12] 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 movies. The title character was played on radio by George Seaton, Earle Graser, and most memorably Brace Beemer.[8] To television viewers, Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger. Tonto was played by, among others, John Todd, Roland Parker and in the television series, Jay Silverheels.

Departing on his white stallion, Silver, the Lone Ranger would shout, "Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!". As they galloped off, someone would ask, "Who was that masked man, anyway?" Tonto usually referred to the Lone Ranger as "Ke-mo sah-bee", supposedly meaning either "trusty scout" or "trusted friend,"[13][14] These Catchphrases, his trademark silver bullets, and the theme music from the William Tell Overture have become tropes of Popular culture.


The Lone Ranger is so named because the character is the last survivor of a group of Texas Rangers, rather than because he works alone (as he is usually accompanied by Tonto).

While details differ, the basic story of the origin of the Lone Ranger is the same in most versions of the franchise.[8] A posse of six members of the Texas Ranger Division pursuing a band of outlaws led by Bartholomew[13] "Butch" Cavendish is betrayed by a civilian guide named Collins and ambushed in a canyon named Bryant's Gap. Later, an Indian named Tonto stumbles onto the scene and discovers one ranger is still alive, though barely. (In some versions, Tonto recognizes the lone survivor as the man who saved his life when they were children; according to the television series, when Tonto left the Reid place with a horse given him by the boy Reid, he gave Reid a ring and the name Kemo Sabe, which he said means "trusty scout".[15]) He nurses the man, whom the radio show eventually established as being named John Reid, back to health. Among the Rangers, killed was John's older brother, Daniel Reid, who was a captain in the Texas Rangers and the leader of the ambushed group. John Reid fashions a black domino mask, using material from his brother's vest to conceal his identity. To aid in the deception, Tonto digs a sixth grave and places at its head a cross with John's name so that Cavendish and his gang would believe that all of the Rangers had been killed.

In many versions Reid continues fighting for justice as The Lone Ranger even after the Cavendish gang is captured.


The Lone Ranger

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. Actors Clayton Moore[6] and Jay Silverheels both took their positions as role models to children very seriously and tried their best to live by this creed. It reads:

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...somewhere...somehow...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.[16]

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 is never seen without his mask or a disguise.
  • With emphasis on logic, The Lone Ranger is never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked.
  • The Lone Ranger always uses perfect grammar and precise speech completely devoid of slang and colloquial phrases, at all times.
  • When he has to use guns, The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill, but rather only to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.
  • Logically, too, The Lone Ranger never wins against hopeless odds; i.e., he is never seen escaping from a barrage of bullets merely by riding into the horizon.
  • Even though The Lone Ranger offers his aid to individuals or small groups, the ultimate objective of his story never fails to imply that their benefit is only a by-product of a greater achievement—the development of the west or our country. His adversaries are usually groups whose power is such that large areas are at stake.
  • Adversaries are never other than American to avoid criticism from minority groups. There were exceptions to this rule. He sometimes battled foreign agents, though their nation of origin was generally not named. One exception was helping the Mexican Juarez against French troops of Emperor Maximilian, as occurred in the radio episodes such as "Supplies for Juarez" (18 September 1939), "Hunted by Legionnaires" (20 September 1939) and "Lafitte's Reinforcements" (22 September 1939).
  • Names of unsympathetic characters are carefully chosen, never consisting of two names if it can be avoided, to avoid even further vicarious association—more often than not, a single nickname is selected.
  • The Lone Ranger never drinks or smokes and saloon scenes are usually interpreted as cafes, with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.
  • Criminals are never shown in enviable positions of wealth or power, and they never appear as successful or glamorous.

Reid decides to use only silver bullets, to remind himself that life, too, is precious and, like his silver bullets, not to be wasted or thrown away.[17][18]

The Lone Ranger's first name

Although the Lone Ranger's last name is given as Reid, his first name was not definitely specified as John until the 20th-anniversary radio program in 1953. As John Dunning explained in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio:

It told how six Rangers chased the ruthless Butch Cavendish gang through the badlands to a final showdown at a place called Bryant's Gap. The Rangers were headed by Capt. Dan Reid, and among those in his command was his younger brother, John. The Reid brothers had been partners in a rich silver mine strike before duty called, and were planning to return to the mine when their service with the Rangers was finished.[19]
Other radio reference books, beginning with Radio's Golden Age (Eastern Valley Press, 1966), also give the Lone Ranger's first name as John.[20] While his first name was not mentioned in contemporary Lone Ranger newspaper comics, comic books, and tie-in premiums, the name John Reid is used in a scene in the 1981 film The Legend of the Lone Ranger, in which the surviving Reid digs an extra grave for himself. The name John Reid also appears in Dynamite Entertainment's licensed Lone Ranger comic-book series that began in 2006.

The name Luke Hartman is used in the 2003 TV-movie/unsold series pilot.


Main article: Tonto

The character made his initial appearance in the 11th episode of the radio show.[16] Fran Striker told his son that Tonto was added so the Lone Ranger would have someone to talk to.[16] The radio program identified him as a member of the Potawatomi tribe, though some books say he was probably an Apache. He was named by James Jewell, who also came up with the term "Kemosabe" based on the name of a summer camp in upstate Michigan. In the local native American language, "Tonto" meant "wild one."[21]

The character spoke in broken English that emphasized Tonto had learned it as a second language, yet was fully committed to the Lone Ranger's vision of justice in the wild west.

Because Tonto means "foolish" or "silly" in Spanish, the character is renamed "Toro" (Spanish for "bull") or "Ponto" in Spanish-speaking countries.[21]

Dan Reid Jr.

The name of Captain Reid's son, the Lone Ranger's nephew, a character introduced in the radio series who became a juvenile sidekick to the Masked Man, is named Dan Reid. When Trendle and Striker later created The Green Hornet, they made this Dan Reid the father of Britt Reid, alias the Green Hornet, thereby making the Lone Ranger the Green Hornet's great-uncle.[22] Throughout The Lone Ranger radio series, Dan was played by Ernest Winstanley, Bon Martin, Clarence Weitzel, James Lipton and Dick Beals.

The Lone Ranger's nephew made his first appearance in "Heading North" (December 14, 1942) under the name "Dan Frisby", the grandson of Grandma Frisby. The two lived in an area described as "the high border country of the northwest" near the town of Martinsville close to the Canadian border. This and the following four episodes ("Design for Murder", December 16, 1942; "Rope's End", December 18, 1942; "Law of the Apex", December 21, 1942; and "Dan's Strange Behavior", December 23, 1942) centered around a plot to steal the valuable Martin Copper Mine and Dan's being fooled by a Lone Ranger impostor into helping him steal it. The Lone Ranger and the Mounties foil the plot and capture the impostor and his gang.

In the final episode of the arc, "A Nephew is Found" (December 25, 1942), the dying Grandma Frisby reveals to The Lone Ranger Dan's true identity and how he came to be with her. Fifteen years previously, Grandma Frisby had been part of a wagon train traveling to Fort Laramie. Also on that wagon train had been Linda Reid, wife of Texas Ranger Captain Dan Reid, and her six-month-old son Dan Jr., who were traveling from their home in Virginia to join her husband. Before the wagon train could reach Fort Laramie, Indians attacked it and Linda Reid was among those killed. Grandma Frisby took charge and care of Dan Jr., but upon reaching Fort Laramie found two messages waiting: one that Captain Reid (voiced in this story by Al Hodge) had been killed in an ambush at Bryant's Gap and the other that her own husband had been killed in an explosion. Taking Dan and certain items concerning his identity (including a small gold locket containing a picture of Dan's parents and a picture of Captain Reid's brother), Grandma Frisby travelled to Martinsville and raised Dan as her grandson.

On hearing this story, The Lone Ranger reveals his true identity and his own story to Grandma Frisby and promises that he will care for Dan like his own son. Before Grandma Frisby passes away, The Lone Ranger removes his mask and lets her see his face. Her last words are "Ride on, Lone Ranger ... ride on forever ... with Danny at your side." The Lone Ranger takes the grieving Dan outside the cabin, gives him the locket and reveals their true relationship. Dan Reid Jr. would go on to be a recurring character throughout the remainder of the series, riding with The Lone Ranger and Tonto on his own horse Victor.

Eventually, Dan Reid Jr. would be sent East to gain an education, making infrequent appearances on the series whenever Fran Striker wanted to remind the audience of the family connection, and would later become part of The Green Hornet radio series, first appearing on October 22, 1936, establishing the connection between The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet in the episode "Too Hot to Handle" (November 11, 1947) and being played throughout the series by John Todd, who played "Tonto" on The Lone Ranger radio series

Their horses

According to the episode "The Legend of Silver" (September 30, 1938), before acquiring Silver, the Lone Ranger rode a chestnut mare called Dusty. The Lone Ranger saves Silver's life from an enraged buffalo and, in gratitude, Silver chooses to give up his wild life to carry him.

The origin of Tonto's horse, Scout, is less clear. For a long time, Tonto rides a white horse called White Feller. In "Four Day Ride" (August 5, 1938), Tonto is given a paint horse by his friend Chief Thundercloud, who then takes White Feller. Tonto rides this horse and refers to him simply as "Paint Horse" for several episodes. The horse is finally named Scout in "Border Dope Smuggling" (September 2, 1938). In another episode, however, the Lone Ranger, in a surge of conscience, releases Silver back to the wild. The episode ends with Silver returning, bringing along a companion who becomes Tonto's horse Scout.

Whenever the Lone Ranger mounts Silver, he shouts, "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!" Besides sounding dramatic, this shout originally served to tell the radio audience that a riding sequence was about to start. Bill Cosby complained in his book Cosbyology that, when the TV version came around, the Lone Ranger still used the line for reasons he could not figure out.[6] In an echo of the Lone Ranger's line, Tonto frequently says, "Git-um up, Scout!" (The phrase became so well embedded in the Lone Ranger mythos that International Harvester used it as an advertising line to promote their Scout utility vehicle in the 1970s.)

Original radio series

The first of 2,956 radio episodes of The Lone Ranger premiered on on WXYZ, a radio station serving Detroit, on January 30, 1933[23] or January 31, 1933.[24] As Dunning writes in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio:

There may have been a few late-night on-air shakedown shows prior to the official January 31, 1933 premiere date. Lacking concrete evidence, [Lone Ranger authority Terry] Salomonson is inclined to doubt it. "There is nothing in any of the Detroit papers to indicate this, but that in itself doesn't mean much. The papers didn't even list the show in their radio logs at first."[24]
Sources disagree on whether station and show owner George W. Trendle or main writer Fran Striker should receive credit for the concept. Elements of the Lone Ranger story had been used in an earlier series Fran Striker wrote for a station in Buffalo.

In any case, the show was an immediate success.[4] Though it was aimed at children, adults made up at least half the audience.[4][8][25] It became so popular, it was picked up by the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network, and on May 2, 1942,[26] by NBC's Blue Network, which in time became ABC.[27] The last new episode was broadcast September 3, 1954.[citation needed] Transcribed repeats of the 1952–53 episodes continued to be aired on ABC until June 24, 1955. Then selected repeats appeared on NBC's late-afternoon weekday schedule (5:30–5:55 pm Eastern time) from September 1955 to May 25, 1956.

Each episode was introduced by the announcer as follows:

In the early days of the western United States, a masked man and an Indian rode the plains, searching for truth and justice. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when from out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!

By the time it was on ABC at 7:30 pm Eastern Time, the introduction, voiced by Fred Foy, had become "From out of the west with the speed of light and a hearty hi-yo Silver" following "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear," later changed to:

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 hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!

Followed by Brace Beemer's voice: "Come on, Silver! Let's go, big fellow! Hi-yo Silver! Away!"

The Lone Ranger was played by several actors:

  • John L. Barrett, on test broadcasts on WEBR in January 1933
  • George Seaton (under the name George Stenius) (January 31–May 9, 1933)
  • Series director James Jewell, for one episode
  • An actor known only by the pseudonym "Jack Deeds", for one episode
  • Earle Graser (May 16, 1933 – April 7, 1941). On April 8, Graser died in a car accident; and, for five episodes, the Lone Ranger was unable to speak beyond a whisper, with Tonto carrying the action.
  • Brace Beemer (April 18, 1941 to the end), who had been the show's deep-voiced announcer for several years
  • Fred Foy (March 29, 1954), also an announcer on the show, took over the role for one broadcast when Beemer had laryngitis.

Tonto was played throughout the run by actor John Todd (although there were a few isolated occasions when he was replaced by Roland Parker, better known as Kato for much of the run of sister series The Green Hornet). Other supporting players were selected from Detroit area actors and studio staff. These included Jay Michael (who also played the lead on Challenge of the Yukon aka Sgt. Preston of the Yukon), Bill Saunders (as various villains, including Butch Cavendish), Paul Hughes (as the Ranger's friend Thunder Martin and as various army colonels and badmen), future movie star John Hodiak, Janka Fasciszewska (under the name Jane Fae), Rube Weiss and Liz Weiss (a married couple, both actors in several radio and television programs in Detroit), and others. The part of nephew Dan Reid was played by various child actors, including Bob Martin, James Lipton and Dick Beals.


The theme music was primarily taken from the "March of the Swiss Soldiers" finale of Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture, now inseparably associated with the series. The theme was conducted by Daniel Pérez Castañeda,[28] with the softer parts excerpted from Die Moldau, composed by Bedrich Smetana.

Many other classical selections were used as incidental music, including Bizet's Symphony in C, Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave Overture, Emil von Řezníček's Donna Diana Overture, Liszt's Les préludes, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and music by Schubert.[29] Classical music was originally used because it was in the public domain, thus allowing production costs to be kept down while providing a wide range of music as needed without the cost of a composer.

In the late 1930s, Trendle acquired the rights to use incidental music from Republic Pictures motion picture serials as part of a deal for Republic to produce a serial based (loosely) on the Lone Ranger. This music was then modified by NBC radio arranger Ben Bonnell and recorded in Mexico to avoid American union rules. This music was used in both the radio and later television shows.[28]


The Lone Ranger program offered many radio premiums, including the Lone Ranger Six-Shooter Ring and the Lone Ranger Deputy Badge. Some used a silver bullet motif. One ring had a miniature of one of his six-guns atop it, with a flint and striking wheel, as used in cigarette lighters, so that "fanning" the miniature pistol would produce a shower of sparks. During World War II, the premiums adapted to the times. In 1942, the program offered the Kix Blackout Kit.

Some premiums were rather anachronistic for a 19th-century hero. In 1947, the program offered the Kix Atomic Bomb Ring, also known to collectors as the Lone Ranger Atom Bomb Ring.[30] This ring was a miniature spinthariscope that actually had a small amount of radioisotope in it to produce the scintillations caused by nuclear reactions. With its tailfin piece removed, though, the "bomb" body looked like a silver bullet.

The sponsor was General Mills, with its breakfast-cereal products: Cheerios, Wheaties, and Kix. In 1947, Cheerios produced a line of Frontier Town cereal boxes with the Lone Ranger likeness on the front of the box. Different versions of the boxes would have Frontier Town buildings on their backs to cut out. One could also send in ten cents and a box-top to get each of the four map sections of the town. These, as well as nine different boxes, were needed to complete the cardboard Frontier Town.

The Green Hornet

Main article: Green Hornet

The radio series inspired a spinoff called The Green Hornet, which depicts the son of the Lone Ranger's nephew Dan,[31] Britt Reid, originally played by Al Hodge, who in contemporary times fights crime with a similar secret identity and a sidekick, Kato. In the Green Hornet comic book series published by NOW Comics, the Lone Ranger makes a cameo through a portrait in the Reid home. Contrary to most visual media depictions, and acknowledged by developer/original scripter Ron Fortier to be the result of legal complications,[32] his mask covers all of his face, as it did in the two serials from Republic Pictures (see below). However, the properties have been acquired by separate owners and the familial link has been ignored in the Western character's various incarnations. The Lone Ranger – Green Hornet connection is part of Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe, which connects disparate fictional characters.

Film serials

Main article: The Lone Ranger (serial)

Republic Pictures released two serials starring the Lone Ranger. The first, released in 1938, utilized several actors playing different men portraying the masked hero, with the true Lone Ranger unknown to the audience until the conclusion; the character played by Lee Powell is ultimately revealed to be the Lone Ranger. The second serial, The Lone Ranger Rides Again, was released in 1939 and starred Robert Livingston. Tonto was played in both by Victor Daniels, billed as Chief Thundercloud.

Television series

Main article: The Lone Ranger (TV series)

The Lone Ranger was a TV show that aired for eight seasons, from 1949 to 1957, and starred Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. Only five of the eight seasons had new episodes. It was the ABC television network's first big hit of the early 1950s.[23] Moore's tenure as the Ranger is probably the best-known treatment of the franchise.[33] For the show's third season, Moore sat out due to a contract dispute and was replaced by John Hart.[34] Moore returned for the final two seasons. The fifth and final season was the only one shot in color. A total of 221 episodes were made.

Moore lawsuits

After the series ended, Moore continued to make public appearances as the Lone Ranger. In 1979, Jack Wrather, then owner of the rights to the character, won a lawsuit against Moore.[35] The actor began wearing oversize wraparound Foster Grant sunglasses instead as a substitute for the mask. Moore later won a countersuit, allowing him to resume his costume.[35]


The Lone Ranger (1956)

Main article: The Lone Ranger (1956 film)

The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958)

Main article: The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold

The Return of the Lone Ranger (1961)

In 1961 CBS produced Return of the Lone Ranger, starring Tex Hill, as the Pilot episode for a proposed TV series.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981)

Main article: The Legend of the Lone Ranger

At the time of the 1981 release of the film The Legend of the Lone Ranger, the movie studio filed a lawsuit and obtained a court injunction to prevent Clayton Moore from appearing as the Lone Ranger, and then gave a cameo to his successful TV replacement, John Hart. The film itself was a critical and commercial failure. It starred Klinton Spilsbury in his only motion picture appearance. His lines were overdubbed by James Keach.[36]

Moore, who never appeared publicly without his mask, was enjoined in the lawsuit from wearing it and, in protest, he began wearing oversized sunglasses that were the approximate size and shape of the mask.[37] In a sequence in the movie, John Reid, a newly graduated attorney, is traveling west in a stagecoach to meet his brother. Another passenger announces his intent to make his fortune from his invention of sunglasses. The stage is robbed and the inventor killed. As the man lies on the ground with the broken dark glasses, John Reid says, "So much for American opportunity."

The Lone Ranger (2003)

Main article: The Lone Ranger (2003 TV movie)

In 2003, the WB network aired a two hour Lone Ranger TV movie, starring Chad Michael Murray as The Lone Ranger. The TV movie served as the pilot for a possible new series. However, the movie was greeted unenthusiastically; the name of the secret identity of The Lone Ranger was changed from "John Reid" to "Luke Hartman," and while there was still an empty grave alongside those of the five dead Rangers, its supposed occupant was unidentified, and the hero maintained his unmasked identity as well, becoming a cowboy version of Zorro as in the second film serial. Ultimately, the project was shelved, with the Pilot aired in telefilm form during the summer season due to Murray's popularity with the target audience of the network.

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Main article: The Lone Ranger (2013 film)

In 2013, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films released The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto.[38] Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film is an origin story of the two characters and explores the duo's efforts to subdue the immoral actions of the corrupt and bring justice in the American Old West. The film, produced with an estimated budget of $225 million, was received negatively by American critics and performed poorly at the box office.[39]

Other media

The series also inspired numerous comic books, books, and gramophone records.


Format Films animated cartoon, 1966 to 1968

Main article: The Lone Ranger (animated TV series)

An animated series of the The Lone Ranger ran from 1966 to 1968 on CBS. It was produced by Herbert Klynn and Jules Engel of Format Films, Hollywood, and designed and animated at the Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Film studios in London, England. The show lasted thirty episodes; however, these were invariably split into three separate shorts, with the middle segment being a solo adventure for Tonto, so that there were actually 90 installments in all. The last episode aired on March 9, 1968.

These Lone Ranger adventures were similar in tone and nature to CBS's science fiction Western, The Wild Wild West, in that plot were bizarre and had elements of science-fiction and Steampunk technology thrown in. Even the Lone Ranger's greatest enemy in the animated series was a dwarf, similar to James T. West's greatest enemy, Dr. Miguelito Loveless. He was called Tiny Tom, and voiced by Dick Beals. This animated cartoon was credited as being a Jack Wrather production, and it provided the first exposure many 1960s children had to the characters.

The Lone Ranger's voice was provided by Michael Rye {r.n. John Michael Riordan Billsbury}, who had portrayed Jack Armstrong: The All-American Boy on radio. Shepard Menken played Tonto. The narrator in the opening title was Marvin Miller. Other "guest voices" were provided by Paul Winchell, Agnes Moorehead and Hans Conried.

The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour, early 1980s

The Lone Ranger was featured, along with Zorro and Tarzan, in Adventure Hour cartoon shorts in the early 1980s, produced by Filmation. These episodes featured William Conrad as the voice of the Masked Man, though he was listed in the credits as "J. Darnoc" (Conrad spelled backwards). This series took a more realistic tone with a heavily historical context to include an educational element to the stories, even though there were several episodes that did feature elements of science fiction (much like the earlier cartoons from the 1960s). There were 14 episodes, split into two adventures at a time, for a total of 28 stories. Though Conrad was the main voice featured, other noted voice actors in the Filmation series include an uncredited Lou Scheimer, Frank Welker, and Michael Bell.

The Lone Ranger: The Lost Episodes, 2001

In 2001, GoodTimes Home Video released a videotape called The Lone Ranger: The Lost Episodes. Along with clips from the first serial, trailers for the two post-TV series features, commercials with Moore and sometimes Silverheels in character, and two complete television episodes, there was a cartoon short, said to date from the late 1930s. This cartoon was produced by Pathegraph on 16mm film and sold to the home market and libraries, which often showed cartoons as a prelude to the feature films they would play for children much as they do videos, now. It was a silent film, like most films produced for the home market, in those days, and had dialog written on still pages just as films of the silent era. The DVD also has the approximately eight minute long documentary, "The Lone Ranger and the Peace Patrol". Presented and narrated by Clayton Moore, it revolves around purchasing U.S. Savings Stamps, a child's version of Savings Bonds. The main focus is to get children to invest in the stamps. The narrated segment culminates with the inaugural ceremonies on the grounds of the Washington Memorial before a crowd of thousands of children and their parents.


Besides the premiums offered in connection with the radio series, there have been many Lone Ranger commercial toys released over the years. One of the most successful was a line of 10-inch action figures and accessories released by Gabriel Toys in 1973.

Video game

A video game version of The Lone Ranger was released by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America in 1991. It is an action adventure game featuring three different perspectives: side-scrolling, overhead, and first-person exploration. The game loosely follows the plot of the 1981 film The Legend of the Lone Ranger, with the ultimate goal being the rescue of the President of the United States, whom the Lone Ranger's nemesis, "Butch" Cavendish, has kidnapped.


The first Lone Ranger Novel appeared in 1936, and eventually 18 volumes were published, as listed below. The first book was written by Gaylord Dubois, but the others were written by the character's primary developer, Fran Striker. Striker also re-edited and rewrote parts of later editions of the first novel. First published between 1936 and 1956 in hardback by Grosset and Dunlap, these stories were reprinted in 1978 by Pinnacle Books.

  • The Lone Ranger (1936)
  • The Lone Ranger and the Mystery Ranch (1938)
  • The Lone Ranger and the Gold Robbery (1939)
  • The Lone Ranger and the Outlaw Stronghold (1939)
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto (1940)
  • The Lone Ranger Rides (1941)
  • The Lone Ranger at the Haunted Gulch (1941)
  • The Lone Ranger Traps the Smugglers (1941)
  • The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1943)
  • The Lone Ranger Rides North (1943)
  • The Lone Ranger and the Silver Bullet (1948)
  • The Lone Ranger on Powderhorn Trail (1949)
  • The Lone Ranger in Wild Horse Canyon (1950)
  • The Lone Ranger West of Maverick Pass (1951)
  • The Lone Ranger on Gunsight Mesa (1952)
  • The Lone Ranger and the Bitter Spring Feud (1953)
  • The Lone Ranger and the Code of the West (1954)
  • The Lone Ranger and Trouble on the Santa Fe (1955)
  • The Lone Ranger on Red Butte Trail (1956)

Comic strip

King Features Syndicate distributed a newspaper strip of the Lone Ranger from September 1938 to December 1971. Fran Striker himself initially scripted the feature, but time constraints soon required him to quit, replaced by Bob Green, later followed by Paul S. Newman and others.[40] The original artist was Ed Kressy, but he was replaced in 1939 by Charles Flanders who drew the strip until its conclusion.[41] In 1981, the New York Times Syndicate launched a second Lone Ranger strip, written by Cary Bates with art by Russ Heath.[42] It ran until 1984. In1993 Pure Imagination Publishing collected two of the storylines and put them in a comic book.

Comic books

[[wikipedia:File:Lone ranger.jpg|thumb|Dynamite Entertainment's The Lone Ranger #4 cover. Art by John Cassaday.]]

In 1948, Western Publishing, with its publishing partner Dell Comics, launched a comic book series which lasted 145 issues. This originally consisted of reprints from the newspaper strips (as had all previous comic book appearances of the character in various titles from David McKay Publications and from Dell). However, new stories by writer Paul S. Newman and artist Tom Gill began with issue #38 (August 1951). Some original content was presented as early as #7 (January 1949), but these were non-Lone Ranger fillers. Newman and Gill produced the series until its the final issue, #145 (July 1962).[43]

Tonto got his own spin-off title in 1951, which lasted 31 issues. Such was the Ranger's popularity at the time that even his horse Silver had a comic book, The Lone Ranger's Famous Horse Hi-Yo Silver, starting in 1952 and running 34 issues; writer Gaylord DuBois wrote and developed Silver as a hero in his own right. In addition, Dell also published three big Lone Ranger annuals, as well as an adaptation of the 1956 theatrical film.

The Dell series came to an end in 1962. Later that same year, Western Publishing ended its publishing partnership with Dell Comics and started up its own comic book imprint, Gold Key Comics. The new imprint launched its own Lone Ranger title in 1964. Initially reprinting material from the Dell run, original content did not begin until issue #22 in 1975, and the magazine itself folded with #28 in 1977.[44] Additionally, Hemmets Journal AB published a three-part Swedish Lone Ranger story the same year.

In 1994, Topps Comics produced a four issue miniseries, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, written by Joe R. Lansdale and drawn by Timothy Truman.[45] One of the major changes in this series was the characterization of Tonto, who was now shown to be a very witty, outspoken and sarcastic character even willing to punch the Lone Ranger during a heated argument and commenting on his past pop-culture depictions with the words, "Of course, quimo sabe. Maybe when we talked I should use that 'me Tonto' stuff, the way they write about me in the dime novels. You'd like that, wouldn't you?".[46]

The first issue of a new Lone Ranger series from Dynamite Entertainment by Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello shipped September 6, 2006. It has started as a six issue miniseries, but due to its success, it has become an ongoing series by the same team. On September 15, 2006, Dynamite Entertainment announced that The Lone Ranger #1 had sold out of its first printing. A second printing of the first issue was announced; a first for the company.[47] The series has received an Eisner Awards nomination for best new series in 2007. True West magazine awarded the publication the "Best Western Comic Book of the Year" in their 2009 Best of The West Source Book! And in 2010 Dynamite released "The Lone Ranger avenges The Death of Zorro".

Dynamite Entertainment:

  • The Lone Ranger Vol. 1 (160 pages, Collects The Lone Ranger #1–6)
  • The Lone Ranger Vol. 2 Lines Not Crossed (128 pages, Collects The Lone Ranger #7–11)
  • The Lone Ranger Vol. 3 Scorched Earth (144 pages, Collects The Lone Ranger #12–16)
  • The Lone Ranger Vol. 4 Resolve (Collects The Lone Ranger #17–25)
  • The Lone Ranger Vol. 5 Hard Country (Collects The Lone Ranger Volume 2 #1–6)
  • The Lone Ranger Vol. 6 Native Ground (Collects The Lone Ranger Volume 2 #7–12)
  • The Lone Ranger & Tonto (128 pages)
  • The Lone Ranger: Snake of Iron (92 pages)

See also


  1. The Green Hornet, Martin Grams, Jr. and Terry Salomonson, 2010, p. 5-6
  2. His Typewriter Grew Spurs, Fran Striker Jr., 1983
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Lone Ranger". wikipedia:Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "The Lone Ranger". wikipedia:Radio Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Radio: The Masked Rider". Time magazine. January 14, 1952.,9171,806226,00.html. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Stephanie Stassel (December 29, 1999). "Clayton Moore, TV's 'Lone Ranger,' Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  7. Kit, Borys (March 27, 2008). "Disney preps 'Lone Ranger' remake". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-09-27. [dead link]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Dennis McLellan (June 9, 1993). "A Gathering of Kemo Sabes : TV's Lone Ranger, Fans Return to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. His Typewriter Grew Spurs, 1983
  10. WYXIE Wonderland, Dick Osgood, 1981
  11. "Lone Ranger Research Connects the Dots to Cambridge", Mike Clark,
  12. The children's book by Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux (2009). Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal. Carolrhoda Books. ISBN 978-0822567646. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Lone Ranger Season 1 Episodes 2,3,4 "Enter the Lone Ranger, The Lone Ranger Fights on, The Lone Ranger Triumphs" |year=1949
  14. Brewers Dictionary of 20th Century Phrase and Fable.
  15. The Lone Ranger, "Pilot Episode"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "The Lone Ranger: Justice from Outside the Law". NPR. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  17. "The Lone Ranger was Really a Black Man".
  18. Bass Reeves - First thoughts about. Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
  19. Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 406. ISBN 0-19-507678-8. 
  20. Frank Buxton and Bill Owen, Radio's Golden Age: The Programs and the Personalities ([New York]: Easton Valley Press, 1966): 209.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Van Hise, James, Who was that Masked Man? The Story of the Lone Ranger" (Pioneer Books, Las Vegas, 1990), pp. 16-18.
  22. Jim Harmon, The Great Radio Heroes, Doublday,1967
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Jan 30, 1933: The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit radio". Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 Dunning, p. 407
  25. "The Lone Ranger". Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  26. Dunning, p. 404
  27. King, Susan (November 12, 2008). "'Lone Ranger' back in the saddle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Music of The Lone Ranger CD liner notes by Graham Newton, 1992.
  29. Jim Harmon, The Great Radio Heroes (McFarland, 2001), p. 162.
  30. Reif, Rita. ARTS/ARTIFACTS; Trivia Long Ago, Serious Treasures Now. The New York Times. June 11, 1995.
  31. "Too Hot Too Handle," The Green Hornet (radio series) (November 11, 1947), ABC radio network.
  32. Murray, Will, "Where Hornets Swarm," Comics Scene, # 9, (October) 1989, Starlog Communications, Inc., p. 41.
  33. McLellan, Dennis (June 12, 1993). "After 60 Years, the Lone Ranger Still Lives". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  34. McLellan, Dennis (September 22, 2009). "John Hart dies at 91; the other 'Lone Ranger'". Chicago Tribune.,0,2385894.story. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Who's That Masked Man? Hi-Yo-It's Clayton Moore!". The Los Angeles Times. January 15, 1985. 
  36. "The Legend of the Lone Ranger". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  37. Goldstein, Richard (1999-12-29). "Clayton Moore, Television's Lone Ranger And a Persistent Masked Man, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  38. Jenna Cooper (2008-09-25). "Disney Announces Upcoming Films, Tron, Prince of Persia, and the Lone Ranger Starring Johnny Depp". UGO Networks. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  39. Bowles, Scott. "'Despicable minions unseat 'Lone Ranger' at Theaters", USA Today, 7 July 2013. Retrieved on 8 July 2013.
  40. Scapperotti, Dan, "Then you are...Lone Ranger," Comics Scene, #9, (October) 1989, Starlog Communications International, Inc., p. 44 (also corroborates artists source).
  41. "The Lone Ranger comic strip by Fran Striker". Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  42. Lambiek comic shop and studio in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1926-09-29). "Comic creator: Russ Heath". Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  43. The Lone Ranger (Dell, 1948 series) at the wikipedia:Grand Comics Database.
  44. The Lone Ranger (Gold Key, 1964 series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  45. Lone Ranger and Tonto, The (Topps, 1994 series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  46. Sheyahshe, Michael A. (2008). Native Americans in Comic Books. Jefferson: McFarland & Company. pp. 124–126. 
  47. Lone Ranger #1 Sells Out!

Further reading

  • Bisco, Jim, "Buffalo's Lone Ranger: The Prolific Fran Striker Wrote the Book on Early Radio," Western New York Heritage, Volume 7, Number 4, Winter 2005.
  • Grams, Martin, The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comics and Television, OTR Publishing, 2010.
  • Harmon, Jim, The Great Radio Heroes, Doubleday, 1967.p[
  • Jones, Reginald, The Mystery of the Masked Man's Music: A Search for the Music Used on the Lone Ranger Radio Program, 1933-1954, Scarecrow Press, 1987 (ISBN 0-8108-3974-1).
  • Osgood, Dick. Wyxie Wonderland: An Unauthorized 50-Year Diary of WXYZ Detroit. Ohio: Bowling Green University Press, 1981.
  • Holland, Dave "From Out Of The Past: A Pictorial History Of The Lone Ranger" (Holland House, 1988)

External links

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