Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Journey #77 - The Lone Ranger and Zorro

Icons of justice in the Old West, The Lone Ranger and Zorro protect the innocent and fight against corruption, greed, and abuse of power. These are their tales.

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The Lone Ranger first appeared in 1933 in a radio show conceived either by WXYZ (Detroit) radio station owner, George W. Trendle and by Fran Striker, the show's writer.  It has been suggested that the character was inspired by Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes to whom the book "The Lone Star Ranger" by Zane Grey was dedicated in 1915.  The show proved to be a hit and spawned a series of books (largely written by Striker), an equally popular television show that ran from 1949 to 1957, and comic books and movies. The title character was played on radio by George Seaton, Earle Graser, and most memorably Brace Beemer.  To television viewers, Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger. Tonto was played by, among others, John Todd, Roland Parker and in the television series, Jay Silverheels.  A new film adaptation, The Lone Ranger, was just released this year directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto.
Zorro debuted in Johnston McCulley's 1919 story "The Curse of Capistrano", serialized in five parts in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly.  McCulley went on to write many others.  Zorro was then featured in the motion picture The Mark of Zorro in 1920, and was a commercial success. The character has been adapted in many forms such as television, comics, and a short-lived radio show in 1957 which was written by Maria Little, directed by Robert M. Light and produced by Mitchell Gertz. Only a handful of episodes are known to have survived.  The most recent successful film adaptation, The Mask of Zorro (1998), starred Anthony Hopkins as an aged Don Diego de la Vega and Antonio Banderas as Alejandro Murrieta, a misfit outlaw who is groomed to become the next Zorro.  Its sequel The Legend of Zorro (2005), again starred Antonio Banderas as Zorro.

Theme music: Liberator by Man In Space

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