Wednesday, July 03, 2013
The Lone Ranger Week: Action Figures from Gabriel (1976)
My beloved Granny, Tippie -- who passed away in the summer of 2007 -- hailed from Big Spring, Texas, and loved all things from that state. She always told me everything was bigger in Texas, and when I had my first What-a-burger, I knew she was telling the truth.
Anyway, when I was a boy, I was thrilled by my granny’s devotion to the Lone Star State because it inspired her to buy me a whole bunch of Gabriel action figures from that company’s Lone Ranger toy catalog. The Lone Ranger, after all, had been a Texas ranger. One year for my birthday -- perhaps when I was six or seven (in 1976?) -- Tippie bought me The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Silver, and Butch Cavendish.
Alas, I have nothing whatsoever left of this collection today, to my great chagrin.
One of the reasons for that chagrin is that these toys from Gabriel were really, really well-made, at least if my memory serves.
The action figures stood nine inches tall and were “fully jointed” (or articulated), and each character came dressed with removable clothes, holsters, hats, six-shooters and other items. The Lone Ranger figure (“the daring and resourceful masked Rider of the plains”) even came with a comic book adventure and a removable mask.
Other figures included the aforementioned Tonto (“The Lone Ranger’s faithful Indian companion”), and Butch Cavendish (“The Lone Ranger’s Enemy in the fight for Law and Order.”) Cavendish actually looks just like he did on the show, in episodes like “Enter the Lone Ranger.”
You could also purchase the characters’ steeds, Silver, Scout, and Cavendish’s black horse, smoke. I never had any horse except Silver, but I loved that toy.
These are the figures I recall from memory, but apparently the Gabriel line came to include a lot more, at least in Europe. Additional figures included Little Bear (“Indian brother of the Lone Ranger’s nephew, Danny Reid”), Tex Dawson (“Sheriff of Carson City, trusted friend of the Lone Ranger,”) El Lobo (“the Mexican Outlaw, scheming enemy of the Lone Ranger.”) and The Mysterious Prospector.
At least one playset was also manufactured for the line: a giant cardboard Carson City. This playset was a diorama of n old fashioned Western street replete with the General Store, hotel, territory jail and the Golden Nugget Saloon.
Boy, do I wish I had managed to hold on to my Lone Ranger collection. Today, I have four figures from the Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) era but it’s not quite the same thing.