Lone Ranger

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F.A.Q. (frequently asked questions)

What is Tonto's horse's name?

Tonto's horse is named "Scout." He's a spotted palamino or "paint." Originally, Tonto rode double with the Lone Ranger on Silver. After a publicity photo was taken of the Lone Ranger and Tonto this way, WXYZ wisely decided to give Tonto his own steed. Scout was originally supposed to be solid white like Silver, but when they made the movie serials they realized that it would make Silver less impressive that way, so Scout was changed. Tonto's mount did have another name. He was known as "White Feller" in the early Lone Ranger novels. You can decide whether or not that counts.

Who is the Lone Ranger's Nephew? What is his horse's name?

The Lone Ranger's nephew was Dan Reid, Jr, however, we do not know what his true first name was. His mother was killed in an Indian attack and he was taken in by Grandma Frisbee, who raised him. She got the name Dan from a locket that his mother had worn. Dan Jr. rode the son of Silver, Victor. On television Dan Reid, Jr. was played by actor Chuck Courtney in 14 episodes.

What tribe of Indians does Tonto belong to?

Tonto is from the Potowatomie tribe. The Potowatomie Indians were a real tribe who originally lived in and around the state of Michigan (The Lone Ranger originated at WXYZ in Detroit.) According to Lone Ranger lore they were all wiped out except for Tonto who was found and saved by a young John Reid long before he became a Texas Ranger.

Is Kemosabe a real word? What does it really mean?

Kemosabe (or any of the other various spellings) is a real word. And no, it doesn't mean "horse's butt." It is actually from the language of the Potowatomie Indians. One of the shows' producers, Jim Jewell, had a father-in-law who ran a boy's camp named "Camp Kee-mo-sah-bee."

Kemosabe means "faithful friend" or "trusty scout."

Isn't it true that Tonto means "fool" in Spanish?

This is true, but it was not that meaning that was intended by the producers of the show.

There are two versions of the story.

Fran Striker told the Saturday Evening Post that he invented Tonto's name and that it was picked by merely alterring the consanants in the name Gobo. (This was a caveman character Striker had created in another radio program.)

Jim Jewell says that Striker was remembering wrong. Tonto, he said, is another Potowatomie word. There were a few Indians who would come to the camp to tell stories to the children. One of the Indians apparently had a penchant for drinking after the children had gone to sleep. Sometimes he would get rowdy and the other Indians would call him "tonto." This meant "wild one." Jewell remembered the word, liked it, and gave the name to the Lone Ranger's Indian companion.

The truth is lost in the fog of time...

What is the Lone Ranger's real name?

This is another question that can be answered in two ways.

We know that the Ranger's last name is "Reid," because his brother who was killed in the ambush by the Cavendish Gang was named Dan Reid. (This is also the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew, although we do not know what his true first name was. His mother was killed in an Indian attack and the kindly woman who raised him got the name Dan from a locket that Dan's mother had worn.)

No first name was given to the Lone Ranger during the radio and television program. Somehow, though, the name "John" appeared in the liner notes of a Lone Ranger record. (Wes Tom fills in this part: "The name John first appeared in the book Radio's Golden Age by Frank Buxton and Bill Owen in 1966 published by Easton Valley Press.")

The name was used in the 1981 "Legend of the Lone Ranger" movie. Because of this, many refuse to accept that name as the Ranger's true name. This is debatable.

Which characters have seen the Lone Range unmasked?

After the Lone Ranger took up the mask only 3 characters on the show ever saw him unmasked- Tonto of course, his nephew Dan Reid, Jr., and Grandma Frisbee. On the radio show he revealed his true identity to Butch Cavadish, just before Butch died... Butch saying he wished he had died never knowing. But on the TV show Butch never died and the Ranger never revealed himself to Butch.

I heard the there is some sort of connection between the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet...

Britt Reid is the name of the alter-ego of the Green Hornet. He is the Lone Ranger's nephew's grandson. (Or son, depending on whether you're talking about the radio Green Hornet or the television Green Hornet.)

Why was Clayton Moore removed for awhile as the Lone Ranger and replaced by John Hart?

We will probably never know.

The rumor at the time was that Clayton Moore had demanded a salary increase and was fired by the owner of the Ranger property, George W. Trendle. However, Moore says in his autobiography that he didn't make any such request and that it was clear that Trendle intended to replace him at least a year prior to the dismissal, since Trendle had ordered that the mask be made larger to cover more of Moore's face. Moore says he was given no reason when he was fired. Nor was he given any reason when they asked him to return. Moore speculates that Trendle disliked the fact that his property was becoming more identified with Moore than with Trendle. Moore thinks that Trendle didn't want any actor being the Lone Ranger in the public's mind (editor's note: By then it was already too late).

Moore's return to the show was just before the selling of the property to the Wrather Corporation. It's possible that Trendle realized that Hart's Ranger wasn't as popular and thought the property would be worth more with Moore back in place.

Further speculation is that George W. Trendle objected to Moore doing other roles and thought that Hart resembled a young Brace Beemer (the voice of the Lone Ranger on radio).

What was the Lone Ranger's mask made of?

Story-wise, it was made from the fabric of the Ranger's brother's (Dan Reid) black vest. The one he was wearing when he was killed along with the other Rangers.

According to Clayton Moore's autobiography, the actual masks used in the series were made from plaster with felt on the top of them. In the black and white episodes, purple felt was used! Black felt was used in the color productions.

Why does the Lone Ranger use Silver Bullets?

Silver bullets are the Lone Ranger's calling card. Silver is a symbol of purity. On the television show the Lone Ranger says he uses silver bullets as a symbol of justice, but more importantly, silver bullets serve to remind the Ranger of just how heavy a price firing a gun can be.

A side note: The Lone Ranger's horse, Silver, was shod with silver horseshoes!

Okay, so where did he get all of this silver from to make bullets and horseshoes and stuff?

The Lone Ranger had a silver mine that he and his brother, Dan, had planned on using for their retirement. A retired Texas Ranger named Jim Blaine (who knew the Ranger's secret) agreed to work it for him and make the silver bullets. The Lone Ranger and Tonto would periodically visit the old Ranger and stock up on bullets and more silver to use to buy goods. (This mine would be the basis of the fortune that built the Reid publishing empire in the Green Hornet.)

What were the guidelines or rules that the Lone Ranger followed?

Besides the creed of the Lone Ranger written by Fran Striker, there was also a code of behavior for the Lone Ranger and Tonto that was set forth by Trendel and Striker in the writers' guide for Lone Ranger stories. This code was strictly followed on the Lone Ranger radio show and later for the television show and subsequent movies that were made. They are as follows:

  1. The Lone Ranger never smokes, never uses profanity, and never uses intoxicating beverages.
  2. The Lone Ranger is a man who can fight great odds, yet takes time to treat a bird with a broken wing.
  3. The Lone Ranger believes that our sacred American heritage provides that every individual has the right to worship God as he desires.
  4. Play down gambling and drinking scenes as far as possible, and keep the Lone Ranger out of saloons. When this cannot be avoided, try to make the saloon a cafe and deal with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.
  5. The Lone Ranger at all times uses precise speech, without slang or dialect. His grammar must be pure. He must make proper use of "who" and "whom", "shall". and "will", "I" and "me", etc.
  6. The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill. When he has to use guns, The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill, but rather only to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.

In addition to this code of behavior there was also a set of guidelines that each episode had to follow to ensure that the integrity of the show wasn't comprimised:

  1. The Lone Ranger is never seen without his mask or a disguise.
  2. With emphasis on logic, The Lone Ranger is never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked.
  3. 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.
  4. Even though The Lone Ranger offers his aid to individuals or small groups, the ultimate objective of his story is 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.
  5. All adversaries are American to avoid criticism from minority groups.
  6. Names of unsympathetic characters are carefully chosen, avoiding the use of two names as much as possible to avoid even further vicarious association. More often than not, a single nickname is selected.

Did Clayton Moore come to believe that he really was the Lone Ranger?

No, not really, but whenever he was asked to appear in character as the Lone Ranger he was careful to strictly stay in character as long as he was wearing the costume and mask. He also chose to follow the Lone Ranger's Creed and Code of Behavior in his everyday life.

"Kids nowadays aren't so quick to worship heroes. The world is a lot more complicated; we don't seem to believe in absolute good and evil-white hats and black hats-anymore. It's fashionable to think of virtue and honor and bravery as naive, outmoded emotions. Deep down, I believe that people still cling to those ideals. When I first appeared on television as the Lone Ranger, Jay Silverheels (Tonto) and I used to do a lot of public appearances. Years earlier, when George W. Trendle created the Lone Ranger for the radio, he gave his writers a code of behavior that the Lone Ranger and Tonto must live by. Jay and I were heroes to millions of kids, and to avoid disappointing them, we lived by Trendle's original rules"
Clayton Moore

How and when did Clayton Moore pass away?

Clayton died at 9:20 a.m. PST Tuesday, December 28, 1999 in the emergency room of a Los Angeles area hospital. According to a hospital spokesman, Clayton died as the result of a heart attack. He was 85.

Was Jay Silverheels a real Indian?

Yes he was. Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto on the show, was a full-blooded Mohawk Indian from the Six Nations Indian Reservation in Ontario, Canada. Jay played in the entire Lone Ranger TV series as well as the two feature length motion pictures "The Lone Ranger" and "The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold." He passed away March 5, 1980. His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered over the Six Nations Reservation where he was born 62 years earlier.

Why did Clayton Moore have to give up wearing the mask of the Lone Ranger back in the 1970's?

The Wrather Corporation, which owned the rights to the Lone Ranger character, was in the process of making a brand new movie called "The Legend of The Lone Ranger." In it would be a new Lone Ranger and Tonto. Apparently, the Wrather Corporation thought there would be too much confusion in the mind of the public if Clayton Moore was still out making personal appearances as The Lone Ranger and the star of the new movie, Klinton Spilsbury, was also out making personal appearances. In an effort to disassociate themselves from the past, the Wrather Corporation ordered Clayton to quit wearing the mask during public appearances. But that didn't stop Clayton. He purchased pairs of wrap-around sunglasses and wore those instead of the mask. An outpouring of sympathy and support for Clayton followed. The movie made in the late 1970's was not a success. In fact, does anybody know where Klinton Spilsbury ended up? As Jack Wrather, owner of The Wrather Corporation, fell ill and felt his days were few, he gave permission to Clayton to wear the mask once again.

Why did The Lone Ranger wear two different types of masks during the show? In some episodes he had on a small mask. In other episodes he wore a large mask.

Actually, Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger, wore more than two different masks. In the first season of the TV show, he wore a smaller mask that was a purple color. That's because it would show up different on a black and white TV set, which is all there was at the time. Later on, it's suspected that the producers wanted more flexibility with the actor who portrayed The Lone Ranger, so they had him wear a larger mask that covered more of his face. That's so another actor might be brought in and, supposedly, no one would know the difference. Then when the show went to color episodes, another mask was worn, this one black, and smaller, as it was in the first TV episodes.

Is there going to be a new Lone Ranger television series or movie?

I was trying to pretend this didn't happen. Where do I start with this one...

Ok, the WB network recently showed an updated Lone Ranger movie that was basically supposed to tell the story of a young Lone Ranger (this time named Luke Hartman instead of John Reid) before he became a legend in the old west. It also was to serve as a back door pilot for a possible series. This TV movie is closer to Dawson's Creek than to the Lone Ranger, featuring a karate fighting Tonto, and a Lone Ranger who lounges in steamy hot tubs with naked indian princesses. Everything about this version stands against what the Lone Ranger is and ever will be. It is fortunate that the late great Clayton Moore (The real Lone Ranger if there ever was one) wasn't around to witness this because if he weren't already dead this travesty would surely have finished him off. Thankfully, it has miserably flopped. Hopefully we will never be subjected to it again.

There is also specualtion of new cinema movie of the Lone Ranger as well and producers are talking of making Tonto a woman in this one... when does it all end. Leave the Lone Ranger alone if you aren't going to have any respect for him!

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