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Instant Celebrity - If you could be a famous person for a day, who what would you be? Why?


 

Silver-reaingI would choose to be Silver, the Lone Ranger’s horse. Strong, powerful, beautiful. Galloping free on the range, the wind in my mane, my snow-white tail streaming out behind me. Leaping fences, rearing high on my powerful legs declaring myself the king horses.

I might deign to carry one special man — my Ranger — when he rides out to rid the west of the bad guys and make the world a better, safer place. But when the saddle comes off, I will be free again.

White horse free

I will live off green grasses under blue skies. The wind and running streams will be my friends. No beeping, dinging, or buzzing.

No chores to do, schedules to meet, or bills to pay. I will live my life under the sky with no pain or shame of the past — nor fear of the future.

When my life is over, let me rejoin the earth, My Mother.

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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DON’T PRINT THE LEGEND

Dusty Streets of Tombstone

I love westerns. I hate westerns. I grew up wanting to be a western hero, maybe the Lone Ranger. Never mind the gender issue. I knew by the time I was 5 that boys get to do a lot more stuff than girls, so I wanted to be one.

When I was a kid I didn’t know much. I didn’t count bullets and wonder how come they didn’t reload. I had no idea how many bullets there ought to be. I didn’t notice prejudice, bigotry and the near-genocide of Native Americans … hey, I was a kid. But I’m not a kid now. I know what it means when someone says “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

I understand westerns are not historical documents and I don’t need them to be. I’m used to historical manipulation, ignoring facts to make a story work. But I can’t seem to ignore cruelty, mass murder and the adulation of psychopaths. The claims of heroism for what are really acts of malice, stupidity and greed. It doesn’t roll off me.

Big things bother me a lot while small things bother me proportionately less — like an itch I can’t scratch. “Print the legend” does not work for me. I can’t wrap my head around the myth. There are exceptions of course … but mostly … westerns have become painful to watch. New-style and cynical — or old-fashioned and racist — it’s the same. The only difference is style. For me, it’s no longer entertainment.

It just hurts.

Afternoon walk - Tombstone

HE LEFT THIS SILVER BULLET

The young man was confused. His horse edgy, restless. So much noise. He’d seen horseless carriages, but this was crazy. Those things were fast, going every which way. How many directions in a small town not much bigger than those with which the Lone Ranger and his faithful Indian Companion Tonto were familiar.

Different trees. No cactus. Churches the same. But so many? Why would a small town need so many churches? You’d think one or two would be enough.

UU Church Uxbridge

Silver whinnied. Lone released his neck rein so he could graze. Soft, green grass. Not coarse prairie grass. He needed to figure out how he’d wound up here. He thought back, trying to reconstruct events. He and Tonto had pitched camp by the Arkansas River, not far from Wichita. Built a fire. Then they heard something. Told Tonto to stay put, he’d check it out.

A weird noise. Sucking, whirring … like a tiny tornado. But not loud. A purr rather than a roar. He’d thrown a saddle on Silver, gone to investigate. In the middle of nowhere, a vortex hovered in the air. He’d ridden closer to get a better look. Whoosh!

Lone had experienced strange things in his 31 years, but this was the weirdest. He’d been transported somewhere else. Some time else, too, if those … vehicles? were any indication. Those wires couldn’t be telegraph wires. Too many. Too thick. Electricity? He’d heard you could get it in San Francisco. Out east too.

“Well,” thought Lone. “I’ve got my gun, ammunition, silver bullets. Silver. There must be work for me here. There’s always a job for The Lone Ranger.”

He looked around. He was on a green lawn surrounded by white churches. A few statues. Likely a village common. Not west of the Mississippi. This looked like pictures he’d seen of New England. He must be there.

It was all connected to the odd disturbance in the air. A doorway? Through … time? Space? Lone was an educated man. He read books. He’d heard of things like “time travel.” He’d never believed it. Why him? Only one possible explanation. The town was in trouble. They needed him.

He hadn’t seen anyone on horseback or driving a buggy. Just those noisy things. He had to figure out why he was here. Across the street, next to another big white church stood a brick building. A library. Well, where better to start collecting information? Librarians always know what’s going on in town.

75-LibraryGA-NK-6He dismounted, suddenly aware of his mask and gun. No one was wearing a gunbelt. It didn’t mean they weren’t carrying firearms. “Maybe they hide them here,” he thought.

“Look,” cried some teenage kids, “It’s the Lone Ranger! And Silver! Hey, where’s Tonto? Whatcha doin’, huh? Cool horse!”

“Okay,” muttered Lone to himself. “They know who I am. Now, I have to figure out who they are, where I am and what I need to do to get home.

He dismounted to lead Silver across the road. He’d ask the librarian. Then, he could start unraveling the mystery. He wished Tonto was here. It would be good to share this adventure with his friend.

He looked around. “Hi yo Silver,” he added softly. “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

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LOVING THE WESTERNS

Western movies. You love them or hate them. Hardly anyone is neutral. I’ve always loved them, since I was a little girl, pretending to be a cross between The Lone Ranger and Jesse James.

White Horse Wallpapers  25

But why? What is it about westerns that makes them so appealing to those of us that love them?

Let’s work this as a list, top to bottom. Remember, this is my list. You may have a completely different list and totally not relate to mine. That’s okay.

Why I love Western Movies

1) Horses. I love horses. The more horses, the better. You could leave out the riders and I would sit there and watch the horses, no problem.

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2) Scenery. The deserts, the mountains, the plains. The dusty trail as the wagon train rolls westward. The Rocky Mountains looming, challenging. Sunsets over Monument Valley. Some of the most incredible cinematography has been done for westerns. From Ride the High Country to almost anything ever filmed by John Ford. To the dusty streets of Tombstone … the big sky hangs over everything, a huge blue dome. Everything is bigger, brighter, younger. The beauty is hard to match and it goes so well with the eye of the camera.

Dusty Streets of Tombstone

3) Simple ethics, simple philosophy. There is something terribly appealing about a world where the excuse “He needed killing” is an actual defense at trial. You can put a lot of violence into a western and it’s just fine. The bad guys wear black hats, figuratively or literally. The good guys are the ones with the nice horses, better clothing … and white hats. No ambivalence. No confusion. Not at all like the real world made up of endless shades of gray. It’s a black and white world, black and white morality. “He needed killing. So I killed him.” I get that.

TombstoneOKCorral

4) Heroes. This is really a continuation of the previous, but Wyatt Earp kills a lot of people and it’s okay. I can cheer him on as he and Doc Holliday rampage through the west. “Yes!!” I cry, waving my fist in the air. I could never kill anyone, but I can be really grateful that someone else is doing it for me. In real life, I favor gun control. In westerns? Blast away!

Ghost Town by Apache Junction

If the movie also has a good plot, terrific sound track, great cinematography? Some wit, cleverness and even a few laughs? Bonus material.

That’s it. Pretty simple, eh? Horses, gorgeous scenery, good guys being good, bad guys being bad. Add music, dim the lights and pass the popcorn.

 

Weekly Writing Challenge: Calliope Memories

Oom pah, pah … oom pah pah …

The sound of the calliope is a siren’s call to the little girl. There, in the middle of the big park, the magic ponies go up and down. Up, down, around and then around again.

“Can I ride Mommy? Please?”

Mommy nods yes. There’s no harm in a carousel. It’s just wooden horses, traveling in a circle, going nowhere, eternally and forever around the calliope as it pumps out the same songs. A good place to be on a bright summer day, a happy place to bring a five-year-old girl who loves horses. She can dream of real horses while the park spins past, green and sunny.

CarouselPony-ART-72

Years fly. The girl has grown into a young lady. Sixteen, if you please. “I’m not a child!” she cries to the world, but especially to her parents. “I will do as I please.”

What she pleases is to have a boy friend. To be in love, to make love. She has no future plans, not yet. Just the fresh bloom of love which must be eternal. Because in books, love is always eternal, always fresh and smelling of roses.

Today she is meeting her boy friend, her lover. They will be meeting by the carousel in the park. She loves the carousel, has loved it since childhood. It’s a magic place for her, one of the rare places that holds only happy memories. The calliope is playing the same songs it played when she was so little. So long ago, or so it seems. When she rode the big wooden horse, pretending she was riding a gallant steed, galloping off to protect the world. A little Lone Ranger going round and round in Central Park while the music played.

Life goes on. The next time she is able to visit the ponies, she is holding her little boy by the hand. “I rode those ponies when I was your age. Listen, the music is still playing. Just like it did when I was your age.”

“Can I ride Mommy?”

“Of course. That’s why I brought you here. To ride.”

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And the painted horses go up and down, round and round. And the park spins by all green with summertime. We will be young forever, she thinks. This is our forever summer as she watches her little boy dreaming as he rides the merry-go-round.

Years fly. So many years. The next time, she holds her granddaughter’s hand and they watch the horses. Her little granddaughter is a tiny thing, but brave. Like grandma, she has a passion for horses. She too is a dreamer. She rides and rides and finally, it’s time to go. Long shadows lie across the sidewalks and the carousel is about to close for the day. The woman is not old, but she can feel the shades of long future years and wonders if she will ever be here again. Will she will ever hear the calliope play? Ride the wooden horses? Will she still dream of what might yet be?

Most of her dreams have come true or been abandoned. Will there be new dreams, better or different dreams yet to come? It seems unlikely.

A decade passes quickly. A busy, difficult ten years before the woman, older, walking slowly with some difficulty can return to the old carousel in the park. Her son is with her again but he’s a middle-aged man. And the tiny granddaughter has morphed into a sullen sixteen. For all that, magic continues to live in those horses. Despite — or maybe because — of how many years have passed.

Three generations stand by the carousel while the calliope plays. Amazing. Most of the old carousels are gone, broken up into pieces. Sold to private collectors, their magic broken too.

But these horses, this special carousel. It is still alive. Its magic remains intact. It’s good to be alive on this summer day in Central Park, as a soft breeze is blowing. It is bringing memories of the past and hopes of the future, though the future isn’t quite as long as once it was. But it’s still there, bright and shining. Limitless in its possibilities at least for those still full of dreams. The old woman has few dreams, but many hopes, wishes. And that’s enough for now.

The sullen teenager transforms, however briefly. As if the music wakes the little girl she used to be. It reminds her of a time when she was happier. Carefree.Ten long years of her life. It is a very long time between six and sixteen. It’s an eternity or seems so.

Her son, the father, remembers too. It has been most of a lifetime since he was last here. He remembers the last time he rode those horses. He remembers the horses. Getting hot chestnuts to peel and eat, then riding the painted horses. The memories are soft as if seen through muslin. Fuzzy. He’s almost too big for even the big horses, but he’ll ride anyway. Grandma remembers the first time. All the times. Even the days when she came here alone to ride because it was just a subway ride, a single token. The boy friend. What became of him? She’ll ride, oh she’ll ride with joy. She would never miss a chance to ride.

Painted Ponies

No more real horses in her life, but today she is young. She feels a bit weird, like a distorted fun house mirror image of the child she used to be. Are these the same wooden horses she rode as a little girl, when she still thought anything was possible? While she formed her dreams of what she could be, would be? What life might be?

Around and around, the calliope, the green trees, the sunlight playing across the walkways and the memories. It’s always summertime here. It always will be.

 

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American Alphabet

A is for Arizona, with Big Skies and deep canyons …

Painted Desert

B is for Boston, a great city in every season …

Citco sign over Feway is part of the panarama of Boston.

C is for Coney Island. Chills, thrills and a beach too.

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D is for diner … the best place to eat on the road …

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E is for elections held all over our land …

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F is for Florida, where traffic flows across the causeway …

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G is for Gettysburg, where a big battle was fought and tourists are always welcome.

Main St., Gettysburg

H is for home, where most journeys begin.

A home

I is for Ireland and the Isle of Innisfree.

GarryInnisfree

J is for jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

K is for kitchen, where food is prepared. Or not.

Morning light in my kitchen as coffee brews ...

L is for Lone Ranger, my childhood hero who roamed the early west with Tonto, his faithful companion.

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M is for marina, where the boats wait and the sea calls.

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N is for Nathan’s where the best hot dogs await you!

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O is for Ogunquit, the Maine beach of sunrise over the Atlantic.

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P is for the Painted Desert where storm clouds gather but do not break.

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Q is for Quaker, the meeting-house down the road where peace reigns and songs of Thanksgiving are sung.

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R is for railroad, disappearing but still alive, if you search for them.

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S is for Symphony Hall where music fills the air.

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T is for Tombstone, where the Earps and Doc Holliday’s ghosts still linger.

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U is for unicorn. I’m sure they exist. They merely are hiding … so let’s go and hunt!

Rhett with Unicorn

V is for vintage, old things that remember the roads.

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W is for Williamsburg, an old town brought back to life.

Williamsburg Lane

X marks the spot and a cross-road of life and of roads.

BostonCrosswalk-2

Y is for yellow, the color of summer wildflowers by every roadside.

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Z is for Zeus, pretending to be a swan. Poor Leda, did her parents believe her?

Zeus the Swan

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.”
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He thought for a minute. “Let’s just wait,” he answered.
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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.

How Come They Don’t Simply Open the Windows? A Film Maven’s Dialogue

Earlier today, my husband the movie maven wrote me and a few of his old TV pals. He had a question, perhaps one that has long needed answering. Given the cost and scarcity of panes of glass in Ye Olde West, how come instead of breaking all the glass before shooting, why didn’t they open the windows? Following is the actual dialogue of leading movie experts.

Here’s the dialogue:

Garry (Chief Movie Maven and Former TV Journalist): Surprise!! I’m watching an old “High Chaparral” episode: ( A) Why do they always break the windows before the shootouts? Couldn’t they open the window first? Glass was expensive! ( B) How come the guys stationed on rooftops always get shot first in those shoot outs? - Big John Cannon

Marilyn (Blogger Supreme and Former Writer of Books Nobody Ever Read): I never thought about the windows. Not only are they expensive, but they’d be pretty hard to get. I mean, did they make that stuff on the ranch? Or did they have to haul it from back east?

Texas Tom

Texas Tom (Retired Famous TV Anchor): This reporter is nowhere near the movie expert that you are. However, my sense is they always break the windows for (first of all) the visceral sound effect of the breaking and shattering glass, which  also is a much stronger macho gesture than simply opening a window. Besides, opening the  window just might require one or two more seconds than smashing the glass, which can be interpreted as an act of absolute crazed panic and desperation, and also shows the blood curdling anger and hostility of the glass breaker’s killer instinct. As for always shooting the guys on the roof first, my sense again runs to the most bang for the moment answer. Having a stunt man tumble a story or two from a roof, balcony, overhang or whatever has a much more visceral (there’s that word again) impact on the  viewer’s brain and gut than simply shooting a guy standing  in front of you, or  on the same level with you.  It’s a much more dramatic way of saying “this is the real deal here”.  - T. Texas Tom: Champion Cap Gun Fighter of the Entire West

Garry: Damn, you are so much more cerebral than me. You sound more like a Pilgrim than a Texican. Mebbe it’s because we’re on a fixed income that I wince when they just break the windows rather than opening them to spray lead. That’s another thing. You would think they would be more economical with their bullets. Let the bad guys use up their ammo and shoot when you have a clear target. I guess the Duke would be pissed if he heard this austerity rant.

Jordan (Well-Known Radio Talk-Show Host): Do you think they only manufactured breakaway glass and furniture back in the old west?  Thought stuff back then was made to last?

Marilyn: You’d think the chairs would collapse if you sat in them. Balsa must be sturdier than I thought.

Garry: Yeah, I used to laugh my ass off at the six shooters that never ran out of bullets. Also, Roy, Gene and our other heroes being chased by hordes of bad guys could shoot over their shoulder with precision and nail three bad guys with one bullet.

Texas Tom: Remember (of course you do) in the old Westerns with Hoot, Gene and Roy and Tex and those old guys would chase the bad guys and shoot for a whole reel without ever reloading?   We used to laugh about that never-ending stream of bullets … they never ever fired their last one.

Marilyn: No one ever went into town to buy bullets, either. They must have had an armoury somewhere. Even the Lone Ranger never told Tonto to go into town and buy some ammo. They only ran out of bullets if the script writer decided it was the time to heighten the tension.

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.
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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..
-
-
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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Sneak Peek: The New Lone Ranger and Tonto, Garry Armstrong

Marilyn and I both love westerns and she has a “thing” about the Lone Ranger. But I have a queasy feeling about Johnny Depp and his revisionist view of Tonto in garish get-up and the Ranger in a less fashionable outfit.

Are we going to get some bizarre twist on their relationship?? What are the camp fire scenes going to look like? Better warn the Rangers, Pilgrim!!

A new look for Lone and Tonto. Is it just a bit too new?

From USA Today:
Johnny Depp is the trusty sidekick Tonto; Armie Hammer portrays the Lone Ranger.

Depp and Hammer enrolled in Old West boot camp before filming. Forget about his secondary roles in the novels, the radio program and the TV series. In the upcoming film The Lone Ranger, Tonto walks side-by-side with the famous masked lawman.

“This is all about two guys who are on the same path, but who have come from two very different worlds,” says Armie Hammer, who plays the title character in the action-adventure flick due out July 3, 2013.

Putting Tonto on equal footing is helped by the fact that he is played by Johnny Depp, who reunites with his Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer for the film, which just wrapped its lengthy shoot.

“The challenge was to turn the story on its head and reinvent it,” says Verbinski, pointing out that his story is even narrated by Tonto. “Everyone has heard about the Lone Ranger, but not from the only other who was there – Tonto.”

Depp’s Comanche shaman character is a daunting vision complete with eerie full torso makeup and a stuffed crow headpiece.

“This is not the look you want to wake up to in the middle of the night and see hovering above you,” admits Depp, who helped create the appearance.

He and Hammer both enrolled in Old West boot camp before filming — Hammer learned to dismount at full gallop and Depp perfected bareback riding. “Johnny really embraced the Comanche culture, says Verbinski.

There were almost nasty consequences as Depp had one spill where his horse miraculously avoided hitting his head with its hooves.

“There was potential for real badness,” says Depp. “But we got through it.”

The tale re-frames the hero’s journey from law-abiding John Reid to the man who is forced to don the Lone Ranger mask and work outside the law. It includes the silver bullets and, naturally, the famous “Hi-Yo Silver” cry.

“Right before the horse threw its legs up in that scene, the thought went through my head, ‘I’m really about to yell this right now,’ ” says Hammer, who will unveil the film’s first trailer on today’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

“As the horse landed, the whole crew roared. Johnny told me, ‘That was blankety-blank awesome.’ “