Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lone Ranger debuted 85 years ago in Detroit

Lone Ranger publicity photo from July 30, 1965/Wikimedia
It was 85 years ago that The Lone Ranger rode into the hearts and imaginations of Detroiters on a fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty "Hi-yo Silver!"

The Lone Ranger began as a radio program that first aired on WXYZ in Detroit on either January 30 or 31, 1933. The records aren't clear as to which one of those two days was the first airing of the show. It's also not completely clear whether it was radio station owner George W. Trendle or writer Fran Striker first conceived that masked rider of the plains, according to On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio by John Denning.

The one thing that is abundantly clear is that this legend started right here in Detroit and soon became a global cultural icon. A total of 2,956 episodes The Lone Ranger aired from our local radio waves. Dozens of books, comic strips, and comic books soon followed as well as The Long Ranger Magazine and several animated short films.

All of this culminated in The Lone Ranger television series, which aired on ABC and produced 221 episodes during its five-season run from 1949 until 1957. There were also a series of movies that began with The Lone Ranger (1956) starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels from the television series and continuing on to the 2013 version that starred Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, which was nominated for two different Academy Awards.

It's moment like this that one feels a need to step back and marvel at the legacy that was born here in Detroit and that continues on 85 years later with a global audience.

Hi-yo Silver! Away!

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