December 5th, 2008 15:51 EST
"Hi-yo, Silver, away!" The Lone Ranger turns 75
From radio to film to television, The Lone Ranger has spent the past spent seventy-five years riding the plains of the American West. With Tonto by his side, they have traveled from town to town righting wrongs on behalf of those who can`t fight for themselves.
Now, the legendary masked avenger`s fight for justice can be seen on DVD, with The Lone Ranger 75th`s Anniversary Collector`s Edition: a dozen box set with the first two seasons of the series that includes 78 episodes of the Emmy-nominated classic with Clayton Moore in the titular role and Jay Silverheels, his trusty sidekick Tonto. "It was a stereotypical role", said media historian Mary Ann Watson, "but it was a significant role. Watson, also a professor of Eastern Michigan University, teaches electronic media and film studies. She also told The Detroit News Silverheels became a champion of American Indian actors since the series ended.
The DVD also features an 88-page color booklet, complete episode guide, and rare comic book images of a man considered the classic American Western Hero - the ultimate good guy that always does the right thing.
"The Lone Ranger means truth, honesty, and hard work - all the things that made America what it is" Lone Ranger Fan Club president Joe Southern said to The Detroit News, who is managing editor for The Hereford Brand, a Hereford, Texas-based newspaper.
Extras of the DVD, which comes out next week, includes an original radio broadcast from 1950 and three episodes from a 1960s cartoon series.
"The release of the DVD set", Southern states, "is setting the stage for the 75th-anniversary celebration and the upcoming movie by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer. It`s giving fans a chance to catch up on `The Lone Ranger` and find out what he`s all about".
The popularity of The Lone Ranger paved the way for the spin-off The Green Hornet, in which his nephew Britt Reid is a dashing newspaper publisher by day and a vigilante by night with the help of his manservant Kato. The Green Hornet even had a series on ABC from 1966-67 that marked the screen debut of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee.
The Lone Ranger has even influenced popular shows like NBC`s Knight Rider, about a lone crusader championing the innocent against those above the law with the aid of a talking super car. "I wanted to do The Lone Ranger with a car," said creator-executive producer Glen A. Larson in The Last Great Ride. "Kind of a sci-fi thing, with the soul of a western." Another was ABC`s Hardcastle & McCormick (1983-86), about a retired judge (Brian Keith) who idolizes The Lone Ranger, as he and an ex-con (Daniel Hugh Kelly) go after those that have gotten off on legal technicalities with their vehicle, the Coyote X.
Here`s this YouTube fan video in tribute of Hardcastle & McCormick -- the "Superheroes `R Us":
According to Southern, The Lone Ranger was a hero that people of all ages can look up to. "If you look at the movie and television shows out today," he said, "good and bad isn`t as black and white as it used to be. The Lone Ranger made it a lot clearer. You knew right from wrong and good from bad."