Monday, March 02, 2009

The Lone Ranger Suite

To answer the question you didn't ask, I did not see the Lone Ranger and his trusty steed, Silver, while walking to the Square today. Or any day, for that matter. No, I needed a place holder while I await the return of my trusty Apple MacLemon so I can download from my camera the pictures of the Curious Incident of the Chipmunk in the Shower. While I was pondering what to do instead, KNAU fired up Wagner's overture to Die Freischutz (The Flying Dutchman) and there was my answer -- theme #6 for what I choose to call the Lone Ranger Suite.

Backtracking for a moment: in my very early teens, I was quite smitten by the Lone Ranger (on the radio, of course; TV was several years in the future.) Oh, his voice was so strong and masculine (rivalled at that time and in my adolscent opinion only by Orson Welles and Burgess Meredith.)

But the Lone Ranger serial also served my development as an incipient egghead. Huh? You must understand that down in Jacksonville, Florida, in the late 30s and early 40s, NPR radio with its continuous day and night stream of music wasn't even dreamed of. No, classical music happened one night per week at 10 p.m. for all of an hour -- except on the Lone Ranger show, which relied on romantic era warhorses for dramatic mood setting. Just one example: the Polovetsian Dances from Borodin's Prince Igor usually meant that an Indian war party was gathering.

At the moment, some other compositions I recall being introduced to include Mendelssohn's Fingals' Cave, Les Preludes by Liszt, Wagner's Rienzi overture, A Night on Bald Mountain by Moussorgsky, the sea music from Scheherazade and, I believe, at least one selection from Tchaikovsky. All what the dotter would characterize as Big Music. Very Big Music. (Big and bombastic to my jaded elderly ears!) I've always wanted to hear a mashup of these themes woven together into the Lone Ranger Suite.

Beginning and ending, of course, with the gallop of the William Tell Overture. Only one sad note -- we are living in an age in which there are probably no youngsters left who would automatically let loose with a "Hi Yo Silver, Away!" as soon as they heard the Rossini. Tho there might be a shout from a septuagenarian in the back row.


Anonymous said...

You don't have to be that old to remember The Lone Ranger on the radio (1933-54) and certainly not to remember the TV series (1949-57) and all the re-runs.

"Who was that masked man?"

According to Wikipedia, the Lone Ranger conducted himself by a strict moral code put in place by Fran Striker:

"I believe.....

That to have a friend, a man must be one.

That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.

In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

That 'this government of the people, by the people, and for the people' shall live always.

That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

In my Creator, my country, my fellow man."

Maybe more of us should remember that code...

"I didn't even get a chance to thank him"

Anonymous said...

My fond memories of The Lone Ranger was from a small B&W TV with rabbit ears. I used to get shocked whenever I tried to adjust them.

Clayton Moore provided this young lad at the time, lots of entertainment.

It was my first into into 'Big Music' although I didn't realize it at the time.

Thanks for the memories.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

It must be fate, we're preparing for a garage sale this weekend and I was sorting through our vast accumulation of vynils and lo, there was a Lone Ranger record that I had purchased eons ago for the benefit of young sons (and self).

I credit you with introducing me to classical music via LR mood themes. Thanks!!


Granny J said...

anon #2 -- a piece of me says that we're infecting our young 'uns with our own sophistication too early and two much. The credo that you reproduced certainly substantiates that point of view. It is so very square and yet so necessary a point of view.

steve -- glad to serve your memory banks!

bro -- it1 helps to be both older and wiser

Sandy said...

And he was my hero, too - and I do remember being surprised the first time I heard the William Tell Overture in its usual classical setting, the Boston Philharmonic... ohmigosh - they're playing "popular" music and when I nudged my Dad, he said, "This is where it started, not at the end of a horse!"

On a trip to Washington, D.C. for my 14th birthday (on a DC12) I sat right in front of the Cisco Kid!!! For awhile he got more of my attention, but I always liked TLR because he was authentic... even 'out of costume.'

Granny J said...

sandy -- I'll bet an awful lot of kids were quite taken aback discovering that the overture had been around the concert halls long before they were born.

Avus said...

Ah, Granny...The Lone have taken me back to being a 10 year old at "Saturday morning pictures". These were held in two cinemas in the local town exclusively for kids. We walked a mile.Jumped on a bus for 7 miles, then circled the town before the flicks - then back in the reverse order.
No parental warnings, no mobile phones if we got into trouble (we would not want to tell the folks anyway!) No one thought there was any danger (there wasn't - and isn't, really). Kids have lost a great deal.

Granny J said...

avus -- ah, the old days. There was some wonderful stuff on radio back when I was a tad, not to mention the Saturday morning movie serials. BTW, a reader wrote me that you can get old Lone Ranger show podcasts at iTunes.

Tony said...

Got to this post late but I too have fond recollections of Hi Yo Silver Awaaaaay. Now replaced in my young grandson's repetoire(sp?) with "To Infinity and Beyoooond!"
Same effect by the way.

Granny J said...

tony -- which is why SF is often called space opera. But, you're right -- there's nothing more splendid for a youngster's imagination than daring-do and heroics.

Lucy said...

They used to say the definition of a truly cultured person was someone who could hear the William Tell overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger! Now I'm not so sure, seems to me a cultured person is someone thoroughly versed in the lore of the Lone Ranger...

I missed out on it, though with older siblings it was something always around. I didn't know they used other classical music; the Polovtsian Dances was one of my faves as a kid.

Granny J said...

lucy -- I'm always surprised when I discover pop culture from my youth was spread as world wide as appears to be the case! But I don't think that the messages of the Lone Ranger should have injured any youngster anywhere. Besides. there was always that music!

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