Growing up I was a big fan of black-and-white TV cowboy shows: The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans. We’re talking more than 60 years ago.
I typically listen to classical FM radio in the morning while reading the news online, having breakfast, and writing drafts of blog posts. Yesterday morning, the William Tell Overture came on. Yes, for other Lone Ranger fans, it was the show’s theme song, the opening music. The Lone Ranger, dressed all in white with a black mask, came thundering onto the screen on his white horse Silver. Silver reared into the air, and the Lone Ranger shouted to his trusty partner Tonto. “Hi Ho Silver, Away!” And off they’d go to save the wild west from perdition.
“Tonto” means “stupid” in Spanish, but we didn’t know that. The Lone Ranger and Tonto called each other “Kemosabe”, which roughly means “faithful friend.” Tonto often got the Lone Ranger out of a jam, although the Indian sidekick was clearly subservient.
The series reflected a simpler time. We knew the Lone Ranger was good because he wore white and he always prevailed and he rode a white horse. We knew he and Tonto were really friends, even though Tonto was an Indian. We knew that good would triumph over evil because it did, in every episode. We knew that good and evil were clear, not muddled; there was no moral ambiguity in these episodes.
I haven’t thought of or seen the Lone Ranger in years, but I can’t hear the William Tell Overture without making that connection. Who knows what the composer intended with the musical piece, but for those of us of a certain era, the Lone Ranger is what he got.