Jay Silverheels

AND STILL HE RIDES!

The original Lone Ranger and Tonto — Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

I grew up with the Lone Ranger and Tonto racing around my bedroom. It was the wallpaper that informed me he was the “Lone” not the “long” ranger because until then, I was sure he was the Long Ranger … as in “he rode great distances.” Or maybe he was just very tall.

Other girls had Disney Princesses, but I had “Hi Yo Silver, the Lone Ranger Rides Again!” Although my walls did not play music, I could hum well enough and I had many a long chat with Lone and Tonto, Silver and Scout as I lay abed in the evening pondering the meaning of life and how I could convince my mother to let me have a horse.

Eventually, as I rounded the corner into adolescence, the Lone Ranger and his trusty Indian Companion (who had led the fight for law and order in the early west) returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear whence they had come. They were replaced by plain, off-white paint. I would have preferred Lone and Tonto, but felt it was time for a change. The paper was old and getting a bit tattered so it was hard to argue the point.

This did not end my allegiance to the first love of my life. I don’t honestly know what it is about masked men on horses that turns on all my lights, but both Zorro and Lone made me woozy with unrequited love. As the years rolled on, I became very attached to Tonto, not as Tonto, but as Jay Silverheels, the actor, whose career I continued to follow long after the Lone Ranger had disappeared from the airwaves.

I still love the Lone Ranger and I didn’t let Johnny Depp spoil it for me by the simple expedient of not watching the movie when it came out or since then.

The Lone Ranger fought the good fight. He never asked for thanks and would run away rather than have to accept them. He was the goodest of the good guys and whenever I’m not sure what to do in a morally ambiguous situation, I can always ask myself “What would the Lone Ranger do?”

Then, I send Garry to town because when in doubt, the Lone Ranger always sent Tonto, right?

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MY HEROES WEAR MASKS – THE LONE RANGER RIDE AGAIN!

The original Lone Ranger and Tonto — Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

I grew up with the Lone Ranger and Tonto racing around my bedroom. Until I got the wallpaper, I was sure he was the Long Ranger … as in “he rode a lot and covered great distances.”

Other girls had Disney Princesses, but I had “Hi Yo Silver, the Lone Ranger Rides Again!” Although my walls did not play music, I could hum well enough and I had many a long chat with Lone and Tonto, Silver and Scout as I lay abed in the evening pondering the meaning of life and how I could convince my mother to let me have a horse.

Eventually, as I rounded the corner into adolescence, the Lone Ranger and his trusty Indian Companion (who had led the fight for law and order in the early west) returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear whence they had come. They were replaced by plain, off-white paint. I would have preferred Lone and Tonto, but felt it was time for a change. The paper was old and getting a bit tattered so it was hard to argue the point.

This did not end my allegiance to the first love of my life. I don’t honestly know what it is about masked men on horses that turns on all my lights, but both Zorro and Lone made me woozy with unrequited love. As the years rolled on, I became very attached to Tonto, not as Tonto, but as Jay Silverheels, the actor, whose career I continued to follow long after the Lone Ranger had disappeared from the airwaves.

I still love the Lone Ranger and I didn’t let Johnny Depp spoil it for me by the simple expedient of not watching the movie when it came out or since then.

The Lone Ranger fought the good fight. He never asked for thanks and would run away rather than have to accept them. He was the goodest of the good guys and whenever I’m not sure what to do in a morally ambiguous situation, I can always ask myself “What would the Lone Ranger do?”

Then, I send Garry to town because when in doubt, the Lone Ranger always sent Tonto, right?

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Love that Masked Man — but I’ll skip the movie

LoneRangerWallpaper

My Lone Ranger wallpaper

The “new” Lone Ranger opens today, but the reviews are already in. In newspapers around the world, the reviews are appalling. Really bad. Not a little bad. Seriously terrible. I had no plans to see it anyway, so these reviews merely confirmed my expectations.

The Lone Ranger Panned and Predicted to be Box Office Poison by Mike Smith gives a pretty good summary of the reviews to date. It’s exactly what I expected. I would have preferred to be wrong. Given the Johnny Depp factor, I expected a travesty and it appears we got one.

Seeing the movie would desecrate the memory of my first true love. If I don’t see it, at least I have my memories.

From my first earliest encounter with The Masked Man and his Faithful Companion, I was in love. There were times when it was unclear whether I loved the horse or the rider. I think Silver had an edge, but I yearned for the both.

To satisfy my passion and because I grew up when wallpaper was something glued to walls, I had Lone Ranger and Tonto in my bedroom. Life was not easy for me, but I had the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains all around me. It helped me through the really dark times.

Other girls had Disney Princesses, but I had “Hi Yo Silver” and “The Lone Ranger.” Although my walls did not play music, I could hum well enough, and I had many a long chat with Lone and Tonto as I lay abed pondering the meaning of life and how I could convince mom to let me have a horse. And hoping I’d discover I was adopted. Because if I were adopted, there was some small hope my real parents would come and take me away. Unlikely, but kids are optimists.

The original Lone Ranger and Tonto — Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

Eventually I grew up and out of my wallpaper, but it did not end my allegiance to The Masked Man. Even now, I’ll happily watch the old reruns. Silly? Maybe. But kindly, with some dignity allowed to the characters.

And, whatever else you could say about the show, they managed to cast a real Native American as (gasp) a Native American! More than half a century later, we get Johnny Depp? That’s the best we can do?

Remakes don’t have to be awful, even though they usually are. There have been remakes that are better than the originals. I can name several off the top of my head and probably so can you. It’s not impossible but it requires studios to make an effort to produce quality films. To get a good script and assemble a cast that can do it justice. It’s not that hard to make good movies. Good script, good actors, competent director. Voila! A good movie. They just don’t make a real effort.

My initial delight at learning Disney was making a new Lone Ranger movie changed to dread when I realized Johnny Depp was playing Tonto. We awaited the release of  trailer of the new “Lone Ranger” with foreboding. We were right to worry.

We watched the trailer. After it ended, silence enveloped us. Garry and I, wrapped in our individual thoughts, sat for a while. Thinking. Finally, I turned to Garry and said:  “Let’s wait till it comes to cable.”

He pondered that for a minute or two. “No, he said. “Let’s just wait.”

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Crap crap and more crap

I thought when they announced the remake of the Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp, Hollywood had hit bottom. Of course, I thought they’d bottomed out earlier —  Johnny Depp strikes again — in the horrible piece of trash version of Alice in Wonderland. It did surprisingly well at the box office despite getting awful reviews from critics and viewers alike.

Cover of "Alice in Wonderland"

I really hated Alice, but golly whiz, now they’ve brought out Oz the Great and Powerful which, it having gotten a couple of zero star reviews (I didn’t know you could get less than half a star), have they finally found the bottom?

Probably not. Not matter how bad it gets, it can get worse. Asking “How much worse could it be?” is perilous. Ask it and I guarantee the Universe will answer you with a demonstration.

I saw Alice at the movies. I was doing screen checks, so I was seeing lots of new movies. I got to see some great stuff, but I also got an up close look at how many dreadful movies Hollywood cranks out every year. Wow. All that money to make so many terrible films.

I loathed Alice in Wonderland with the passion I reserve for mutilated remakes. The thing I specifically hated above all else — other than the over the top CGI and Johnny Depp, who seems intent on reaching stratospheric levels of bad acting — was  the absence Lewis Caroll’s poetry. They talked endlessly about the Jabberwock and based half the movie on it, but never once recited the Lewis Caroll poem.

I love that poem and know it by heart. When I was a drama major (one of my many and varied majors), everyone was reciting Browning or Shakespeare. I was doing Lewis Caroll. Watching this movie, which treated the book and poetry with contempt, was heart breaking. Now, another of my all time favorite children’s movies, again dissed by Disney. Yuk. Ick. Ptooie. Feh feh feh.

LoneRangerWallpaperI refuse to see the “new” Lone Ranger. It’s due out next summer. I won’t see the new Oz, either, probably not even when it comes to cable. I’m not going to let them steal any more of my heroes or childhood memories. To put this in perspective, I grew up when wallpaper was something you glued to walls. It was not flickering on your computer screen. And I had Lone Ranger and Tonto wallpaper in my bedroom.

Where other girls had Disney Princesses, I had “Hi Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger Rides Again!” Although my walls did not play music, I could hum well enough and I had many a long chat with Lone and Tonto as I lay abed pondering the meaning of life and how I could convince mom to let me have a horse.

The original Lone Ranger and Tonto — Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

Growing up and out of my wallpaper did not end my allegiance to masked men on horseback.
As the years rolled on, I became quite passionate about Zorro too. I can sing the Zorro song from the TV show. When did Disney abandon children? They used to be the one place you could expect them to only partly maul your favorites books. Anyway, when the two Zorro movies starring Antonio Banderas came out, I adored them.
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Remakes don’t have to be trash. There have been remakes that are better than the originals. I can name several off the top of my head and probably so can you. It’s not impossible but it requires studios to make an effort to produce quality films. They know how, they just don’t do it.
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My initial delight at learning Disney was making a new Lone Ranger movie switched to dread when I realized Johnny Depp was playing Tonto. I remember with what deep foreboding we waited for the trailer of the new “Lone Ranger.” We were right to worry.
-
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We watched. Garry and I, wrapped in the silence of our individual thoughts, sat for a while. Finally, I turned to him and said:  “Let’s wait till it comes to cable.”
-
He thought for a minute. “Let’s just wait,” he answered.
-

Heroes

Guy Williams as ZorroLife has been singularly bereft of heroes lately. Perhaps I’m just getting older and life is making me more cynical but I think it’s the world that’s getting more cynical. It seems to me there has been a continuing trend on TV and the movies that has accelerated in recent years to create heroes who are not entirely heroic, but rather more human. Less black and white, more gray. Despite how reasonable this approach may be, I prefer my heroes heroic.

I like my superheroes really super, solidly and clearly on the side of justice. There’s plenty of room in literature, film, theater and television for ambivalence and flawed heroes. At least in genres where my heroes fight evil to save the earth or a some piece of it, I want a clear and unambiguous line between good and evil. Life isn’t really like that, but that’s what escapism in the movies and on television is all about.Santa_Claus_1

Give me a masked hero, preferably on a horse, wielding a sword. I can make do with a six-gun if he only shoots them in the hand (the Lone Ranger never actually killed anyone).

Today being Christmas, my first question is whether or not Santa Claus counts as a superhero. I think the answer will depend on the age of the person answering the question. Probably “yes” below age 6. A solid “maybe” through around age 9, followed by a short period of  “I don’t think so.” I remember when my granddaughter was at the “switchover” age. She was reasonably sure there was no Santa Claus, but she figured she ought to hedge her bets, just in case.

She definitely didn’t want to alienate Santa should he turn out to be the bestower of gifts. Thus she “sort of believed,” but sort of didn’t. It was funny watching her work her way through her first major philosophical dilemma.

Personally, I’m a weenie for masked men. I’m a sucker for horses even without a rider, so it can’t be much of a surprise.  Depending on the level of heroism involves, I can compromise on the mask too. But LOTS of extra credit for the horse and if it is a particularly magnificent steed … ah, be still my heart.

I am almost as passionate about superheroes. I favor capes. Although I waited patiently, none of my heroes ever came to take me away. I love my husband and an orange 1970 (1969?) Dodge Challenger convertible, although not a horse, was certainly a better than average ride, but I did long for the mythos and might of my comic book and screen heroes and super heroes. Although I’m significantly more creaky than I used to be (maybe a buckboard rather than a saddle?) I’m still ready and waiting.

Superman was filmed in color, though I was well into my 30s before I saw it for myself. Until then, I never had a color TV so I remember all those early shows as black and white and am frequently surprised to discover they are actually in color. Zorro made my heart flutter and The Lone Ranger made me weak in the knees. Despite the fact that to this day, I cannot fathom how come no one recognized Superman when he wore wire-rimmed eyeglasses, I loved him anyway. Batman too, though Supe was really My Guy.

Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

I had some small issue with the whole phone booth thing since in New York, where I grew up, they had glass sides, so they were not exactly a private shelter. Why didn’t he just do it at super speed so no one could see? Who needs a phone booth anyhow?

I am glad that movie makers share my love for the super guys who filled the dreams of my girlhood. I was the only girl … hell, the only kid … I knew who had Lone Ranger wallpaper. Not on a computer. There was no such thing. No, I had it on my walls. Lone and Tonto, endlessly riding in a small circle around the same little patch of ground … “Hi yo Silver! The Lone Ranger Rides Again!” I always thought Tonto got rather short shrift and I thought his horse, Scout, was every bit as cool as Silver, but I would have settled for any kind of equine.

He could graze on our lawn, live in the otherwise unused garage, please mom? I’ll take care of him. You won’t have to do a thing.

She was immovable. How could I lead the fight for Justice without a horse? I tried flying, which worked for Superman, but all I got were scabby knees and elbows. No matter how hard, no leap got me over a single tall, or even medium-sized building.

So, return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when Silver and Scout, Trigger and that fabulous black horse that Zorro always rode carried my heroes, with and without masks. I absolutely positively will NOT see the latest remake. Johnny Depp in heavy makeup and way too many feathers as Tonto? Hell, Jay Silverheels was at least a real Native American. Couldn’t we do as well in 2012?

We could use a few heroes now, could we not?

Maybe they are still out there … we just don’t seem to see much of them anymore.

Fear With Loathing – The New Lone Ranger

We tuned in because we had heard this would be the first viewing of the trailer for the new “Lone Ranger” due to be released July 3, 2013.

Our hearts were filled with trepidation. We dreaded discovering exactly how revisionist they could make the movie. I remembered, with a sharp pain in my head, the last Johnny Depp vehicle I’d hated: the horrible perversion of “Alice in Wonderland” that got great reviews, proving to me that there are millions of people who have neither judgment nor taste.

I had not merely disliked the movie. I loathed it with the passion I reserve for remakes of favorite stories that have been mutilated. What was, on top of everything else, particularly weird was that they talked about the Jabberwock and based a large amount of the plot on it, yet at no point did they actually offer us the Lewis Caroll poem.

I know the poem well. By heart, actually, because when I was a drama major (one of my many and varied majors), everyone was reciting Browning or Shakespeare and I was doing Lewis Caroll. I have always marched to an off-beat drummer.

Original black and white illustration of the Jabberwock.

Jabberwocky

BY LEWIS CARROLL

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
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“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”
-
He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.
-
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!
-
One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.
-
“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.
-
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
Only “The Walrus and the Carpenter” gives me more joy. But, I digress.
-
I grew up with the Lone Ranger and Tonto racing around my bedroom. Other girls had Disney Princesses, but I had “Hi Yo Silver, the Lone Ranger Rides Again!” Although my walls did not play music, I could hum well enough and I had many a long chat with Lone and Tonto, Silver and Scout as I lay abed in the evening pondering the meaning of life and how I could convince my mother to let me have a horse.
-
Eventually, as I rounded the corner into adolescence, the Lone Ranger and his trusty Indian Companion (who had led the fight for law and order in the early west) returned to those thrilling days of yesteryear from whence they had come. They were replaced by plain, off-white paint. I would have preferred Lone and Tonto, but felt it was time for a change. The paper was old and getting a bit tattered so it was hard to argue the point.

The original Lone Ranger and Tonto — Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

This did not end my allegience to the first love of my life. I don’t honestly know what it is about masked men on horses that turns on all my lights, but both Zorro and Lone made me woozy with unrequited love. As the years rolled on, I became very attached to Tonto, not as Tonto, but as Jay Silverheels, the actor, whose career I continued to follow long after the Lone Ranger had disappeared from the airwaves.
-
Thus it was with deep foreboding that we awaited the first look at the trailer for the new “Lone Ranger” movie. I had first been delighted when I heard they were making it. When I realized that Johnny Depp was playing Tonto, I was a lot less delighted. I have liked Depp in three movies: “Finding Neverland” and the first two Pirate movies. In everything else, he chews up the scenery. I’m sure he could do a better job if he had a director who could control him, but he is usually so over the top that whatever he is doing, it’s all about Johnny Depp and not at all about the character he is playing.
-
He upstages himself. The only other actor I know who can do that is Jack Nicholson … but Nicholson has earned his stripes … Johnny Depp hasn’t. Not yet and possibly, never will. He just wears way too much eyeliner and mascara..
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Just the makeup Johnny Depp is wearing for the movie is over the top. This is before he even opens his mouth. I cannot imagine it will get better from there.
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We sat, Garry and I, wrapped in the silence of our individual thoughts. Finally, I turned to him and said:  “Let’s wait till it comes to cable.”
-
He thought for a minute. “Let’s just wait,” he answered.
-
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