The Lone Ranger rides again. Or does he? It appears the masked lawman of the western plains got shot out of the saddle at the box office. At last count, Walt Disney Studios stood to loose more than $150 million.
Some critics are calling the new Lone Ranger flick one of the worst movies ever made. The film opened to very disappointing reviews on the Fourth of July. Right up front I will state I have not seen the movie and after reading the synopsis of the plot and watching the ads on TV, I have no intentions of spending my hard-earned dollars on this piece of junk.
However, I did see the 1981 film adaptation of one of America's most beloved western heroes called “The Legend of the Lone Ranger.” It is possibly the only movie that could save the new Lone Ranger film from the dubious distinction of being the “worst movie ever made.” “Popeye” with Robin Williams would also be in the running but that is a whole different story.
There was plenty of controversy surrounding the “Legend of the Lone Ranger.” Another actor dubbed the voice of then unknown and still unknown actor Klinton Spillsbury throughout the film. To add salt to the wound, the movie's production company filed an injunction against Clayton Moore, who played the most famous Texas Ranger on television, from wearing the Lone Ranger mask when he made public appearances at state fairs.
Though Moore was 65 at the time the new film was produced, the company did not want anyone to think that Mr. Moore was going to play the title role in the motion picture. Wearing wrap-around sunglasses and a western outfit similar to what he wore on TV, Moore made the personal appearances anyway. Moore later sued and was able to once again wear the mask in public.
The saga of The Lone Ranger dates back to radio in the mid-1930s. It was so popular that it became a hit TV series from 1949 to 1957 and lives on today in reruns on various stations across the nation.
The original Lone Ranger was child friendly. The Ranger spoke perfect grammar and he never killed anyone. He was so adept with a six-gun that he could simply shoot the gun out of the hand of the outlaw at 100 yards. His white hat, white steed and silver bullets were symbolic truth and justice in the lawless old west.
I will confess that The Lone Ranger was not my favorite western. I've come to respect the lessons taught by what was termed in the 1950s and 1960s the adult western. I do, however, still enjoy the simplicity of good always triumphs over evil. The Lone Ranger episodes are still very fun to watch though they are frequently “corny” and the acting is sometimes wooden and often comical.
Page 2 of 2 - If you really want to know the true story of the Masked Man and his Native American companion, Tonto, see the first three episodes of the series available on DVD at quite reasonable prices. Movies for theater release were later compiled from the TV series and were much better than the latest fiasco.
One can only image why the Disney Company, didn't make the new Lone Ranger more child friendly. From the movie trailers, the film appears dark with cartoonish special efforts. Tonto looks more like a villain from a Batman movie than the Lone Ranger's sidekick. Even the criminals are depicted as abnormally despicable with the Butch Cavendish character being portrayed as a cannibal.
Perhaps Disney Studios intentions were to resurrect interest in westerns. Apparently that failed at that effort but managed to renew interests in another film genre – the disaster movie – because this Lone Ranger seems to be a real “bomb.”
Maybe Hollywood will finally get the message. When it comes to remaking an American icon, don't mess with success.