Sunday, November 23, 2014

Outré Intro: The Lone Ranger (1949 - 1957)

There may be no theme song or introductory montage more famous than the one that heralds the beginning of every adventure of The Lone Ranger (1949 - 1957) starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels.

The montage to this beloved black-and-white series commences to the tune of Rossini's The William Tell Overture (1829), a thrilling call to adventure that has become synonymous, over the last sixty years, with the Lone Ranger, and was even resurrected in last year's big budget feature film about the long-lived hero. The theme song gets the adrenaline going, and immediately makes the audience aware that action is the destination.

In fact, the introductory montage maintains a kinetic, almost hyper pace throughout, with the Lone Ranger seen almost entirely in motion. We see him riding, at top speed, atop his ivory steed, Silver, firing his gun at outlaws, and then watch as he rides down a hill towards the audience.  

He turns left, rides up the mountainside, and Silver rears up majestically on his hind legs.  This particular image is iconic, it's fair to state.

The montage continues below. For the first time in the intro, the Lone Ranger is still -- unmoving -- but just long enough for audiences to read the title card for this week's episode.  After the title is displayed, it's back to the galloping action...

The voice-over narration in the following section of the montage changed over the years. Sometimes, it describes the Lone Ranger as a "fabulous individual" who would cause "fear in the lawless" and offer "hope to those who wanted to make this frontier land their home."

In other versions, the imagery remained identical but the montage voice-over introduced Tonto as the Lone Ranger's companion, and invited viewers to return to "Yesteryear" to experience the adventure all over again.

Regardless of the version viewed, the montage concludes with the Lone Ranger, still in motion, riding away from camera, off into his newest adventure.  

Most episodes of the series maintain the pace, excitement and velocity suggested by this introduction.

Below, the stirring montage in action.

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