Monday, April 30, 2012

Number 1149: The Lone Ranger is pure gold

You've probably seen this picture of Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp (as Tonto, no less) from a revisionist movie version of the Lone Ranger legend.

I have mixed feelings. My Lone Ranger is the Lone Ranger of the Baby Boomers, growing up with the television show starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. But the Lone Ranger franchise has been lying dormant for a while, and some movie people are betting it's ready for a reboot and new look. I might not like it, but who knows? I'm not the target audience, and for those at whom it's aimed it might be good. (I'm a bit concerned about a white guy, Depp, playing a Native American. Even in the era of white people playing ethnic minorities, at least Jay Silverheels was a real Indian.)

This story, "Gold Coin Fraud," is from The Lone Ranger Western Treasury #1 (1953). It's a thick 25¢ annual, drawn by Tom Gill and his studio staff. "Gold Coin Fraud" has an educational slant to it. I've included two text pages showing different types of gold coins of the era.

I showed you the origin of the Lone Ranger from this issue in Pappy's #1046.


Booksteve said...

From Wikipedia: Depp has surmised that he is part Native American, saying in 2011, "I guess I have some Native American [in me] somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek."

Brian Barnes said...

I'm sorry, but slowly climbing through a small window is not conducive to good aiming and you are for sure going to get shot by one of the bad guys!

I haven't read a lot of these Lone Ranger westerns, but was surprised by the lack of actual death in it. I suspect there might have been some code the Lone Ranger had, or just where the story was published.

I had the exact same thought about Depp the minute I heard about that movie. Seems a bizarre choice, sure to create controversy (maybe the point.)

Pappy said...

Steve, if my great-grandmother was Native American does that make me Native American? Depp looks like he has that heritage, but there have to be some Native Americans out there who could do the part. Unfortunately, there aren't any that have the box office appeal Johnny Depp has.

Pappy said...

Gumba, there was a code for the Lone Ranger (had to speak proper English, for one, never shot to kill unless in extreme circumstances, no smoking, etc.) Dell had their own internal code about showing death. "They didn't want to be lumped in with the crime comics," as Helen Meyer of Dell told the Senate subcommittee holding hearings on comics in '54.

Obviously, the "proper English" only applied to the Lone Ranger, not Tonto, who speak-um some form of pidgin, kemo sabé.

Don said...

Online (Wikipedia) it says Jay Silverheels is Mohawk, not Navaho.

Don Yost

Mykal Banta said...

Depp as Tonto? No. I fear, as he does with many "update" movies, Depp will play the role with a condescending, hip smarm. Hey, he and his buddy, Tim Burton, completely misunderstood and fumbled the Dark Shadows franchise - why not make a summer of it and completely screw up Lone Ranger, too? At best, I foresee a politically correct, un-watchable mess. The kids will love it, though, being ignorant and not knowing better.

Oh, yeah. I absolutely Love Gill's Ranger. Now that's the Ranger!!

Mykal Banta said...

" Dell had their own internal code about showing death."

Dell Comics Are Good Comics! ;)

Pappy said...

Don, thanks for the correction. I misremembered something I read years ago, and probably confused Silverheels with another Native American actor. Obviously, since Silverheels was born in Canada he couldn't have been Navajo.

Pappy said...

Mykal, I'll reserve judgment on the Lone Ranger reboot from Burton and Company until it actually comes out. I'm hot and cold with Burton, though. Thought Alice In Wonderland was a disappointment, loved Corpse Bride, for which I had no expectations whatsoever. Dark Shadows I will have to probably see at some point. I didn't watch the show when it was on TV originally. I heard a lot about it, but it was on while I was at work.

I agree with you about Gill's Lone Ranger. I think of the artists who have handled the character (and that includes the comic strip, dailies and Sundays I followed for years credited to Charles Flanders) I much preferred Gill's version. I'm sure it had to do with it looking a lot like the Lone Ranger TV show, except in color, not black and white like my TV!