Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tonto Had Something To Say

Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels with
Silver and Scout in the background
The first of 2,956 radio episodes of The Lone Ranger premiered on January 30, 1933 on WXYZ, a radio station serving Detroit, Michigan. 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, New York. In any case, the show was an immediate success.

Though it was aimed at children, adults made up at least half the audience. It became so popular, it was picked up by the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network, and finally by NBC's "Blue Network", which in time became ABC. The last new episode was broadcast September 3, 1954. 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 Brace Beemer, 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."
A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty ‘Hi-yo, Silver!’, The Lone Ranger!
When I was a small boy I had two 78s,  records I would play over and over, the legend of the Lone Ranger.  I remember the radio show.  On Saturdays, I would go by myself to the movies and among other serials shown would be some adventure of the Lone Ranger designed to bring me back the next Saturday afternoon.  This was 1953 or so, me seven years old, and  the number of TVs on our block only one or two.  My folks were far too poor to have a TV.  It is remarkable that no one thought anything of children wandering alone like that.  The movie house I walked to was at least ten blocks away toward the university where my mother taught and both she and my dad graduated.  Sometimes they would drive me, leave me at the theater alone and pick me up after.

 Tonto Had Something To Say
(overheard when they struck the set on that last Tuesday)

Go to any length
is what you told me as if
I would believe you,
take it to the bank.
When found in trees after that
they mistook me for
some sort of raccoon
up there all riled up, Masked Man,
fringe framed confusion,
old Kimo Sabe,
you the brass Clayton Moore to
my Jay Silverheels.

September 10, 2011 5:44 AM


  1. i could listen to or watch the loop of your younger years play on and on. the time, the innocence, the life that became you. how interesting, isn't it? how beautiful.

    yes, those times. where i live i am closer to those times than most. last night while outside, my son and i at a fire with hotdogs, a gang of his little friends biked by. it was getting dark fast. i could hear them squeal into the darkness, such freedom. after a time he asked me if he could join them. i said all of my be carefuls and sent him out. i stood on the front porch fighting the urge of calling him back, instead listening to them all wild and free cajoling the night, growing up. what do we do to our children to keep them so confined as we do? i realize, this world is a different place. why have we made it so? and how much we have lost!


  2. The public trust has been destroyed.

    When I went on vacation into the Canadian Rockies, I felt that I had taken a time machine back to the fifties also, so different the feel of the public spaces between rural Canada and the U.S. nearly anywhere.

    My love and I on that vacation were lamenting the loss of trust, so completely well deserved between strangers in the States. People just trash the commons here. The national park "outhouse" commodes in Canada were cleaner and better maintained by the public than our running water flush toilets, or they were in 2003. The people in general were cleaner, more considerate, friendlier, and felt naive to us in a totally endearing way.

    So when I hear that you can still just let your child fly off into the "wilderness", I nod knowingly and say under my breath you don't know the half of it. I do indeed regret our loss of innocence. I do not for a second believe that the protections we place on our children these days are overdone.

    I love you, my good friend and thank you for your long time connection.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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