Trivia / The Lone Ranger

The Radio Series:

  • Acting for Two: John Todd, who voiced Tonto in the radio series, was an accomplished Shakespearean actor. He was often drafted to play several roles (usually the bad guys) in any given episode.
  • Actor Existence Limbo: After the death of Earle Graser in a car accident, the writers of the radio serial had to quickly do revisions to the show's storyline in order to avert The Character Died with Him (some newspapers treated Graser as inseparable from the Lone Ranger, so much so that their headlines implied it was the death of the character. note ) and provide a smooth transition to his new actor, Brace Beemer. This necessitated the Ranger becoming incapacitated and unable to speak for a few weeks. (Graser's "Hi Yo, Silver' continued to be heard long after his death, however, and this extended into television and movies as well.) Beemer's voice was deeper and richer than Graser's, suggesting that the Ranger had got his Heroic Second Wind.
  • What Could Have Been: One of the many actors who auditioned to replace Earle Graser was future 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace.
  • You Sound Familiar: Before taking over for Earle Graser, Brace Beemer served as the show's announcer. He also played the Ranger in public appearances, as his 6-foot-3 and thin frame and expert horse riding and marksman skills made him feel more like the Ranger than the shorter, chubbier Graser, who had never ridden horses and had only shot a pistol once in his life. The horse who played Silver in these events really belonged to him, and was in a stable near his house when Beemer died. He was 27 years old, and Mrs. Beemer took care of him for the rest of his life.

The TV Series:

  • The Other Darrin: Clayton Moore was temporarily replaced on the TV Series by John Hart due to a dispute over either salary or creative differences.

The Film:

  • Actor Allusion:
  • Big Name Fan: Quentin Tarantino named it as one of his favourite movies of 2013. Really.
    "The first forty-five minutes are excellent…the next forty-five minutes are a little soporific. It was a bad idea to split the bad guys in two groups; it takes hours to explain and nobody cares. Then comes the train scene—incredible! When I saw it, I kept thinking, ‘What, that’s the film that everybody says is crap? Seriously?’"
  • Billing Displacement: Both the trailer and the poster show Johnny Depp's name first before Armie Hammer's. Beyond that, the masked face in the poster above is Johnny Depp's too.
  • Box Office Bomb: With a production budget of $225 million ($400 million including marketing), the film needed to earn over $800 million worldwide to break even. Instead, Ranger got blown out by Despicable Me 2, the former earning only $48.9 million in its first five days (compared to about $143 million for Despicable), ultimately pulling in around $260 million. This movie has not only surpassed John Carter as Disney's most humiliating flop, it is in the top ten (adjusted for inflation) biggest box office bombs in movie history.
  • Creator Killer: Subverted; the film's failure had almost nothing to do with Disney's exclusive big-screen partnership with producer Jerry Bruckheimer being allowed to expire (which was more a result of creative differences, and Bruckheimer's still going to be making movies with Disney from time to time), but given the timing, you've gotta wonder. Played straight with former Disney Studio chief Rich Ross (who's now at Discovery Channel); he greenlighted this movie, but was terminated after John Carter the year prior when that film's failure turned Ross into an enemy of director Andrew Stanton and CCO John Lasseter; this pair of flops will likely lock him out of Hollywood-level filmmaking for a while. And also, screenwriting duo Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who were heavily involved with the Pirates movies and Aladdin, have yet to write another movie. Remains to be seen if this will apply to Gore Verbinski.
  • Dear Negative Reader: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer responded to the negative reviews by saying that critics "conspired" to take down the movie. This lead to critic Alonso Duralde's quote that was once on the top of Critic-Proof.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Disney delayed production on their movie after the underperformance of Cowboys & Aliens.
    • When Jack Wrather bought the rights to the property in 1978, he sued Clayton Moore to stop him from appearing in public as the character, hoping to establish a new actor in the role for an upcoming movie. It ended up being an enormous PR disaster resulting in a successful countersuit and the film itself becoming a Franchise Killer. Indeed, if there was a Razzie award for "Worst Publicity", The Legend of the Lone Ranger would've been the first recipient, by a unanimous vote.
  • Franchise Killer: Pretty much did for the Lone Ranger franchise what Batman & Robin did for the Batman series. Needless to say, don't expect this series to pop up again anytime soon.
  • Genre-Killer: This and the aforementioned Cowboys & Aliens, after Wild Wild West got the ball rolling at the end of the 90's, have ensured that the genre won't have any superfluous sci-fi/fantasy/camp elements in it for a LONG time (though the western genre itself rolls on).
  • Saved from Development Hell: It appeared at one point in time that the film would never be made due to its budget coming in at well over $200 million, in part due to the poor performance of Cowboys & Aliens.
  • Star-Derailing Role:
    • Many people noted how after the release, critics began crapping on Johnny Depp's recent career choices. Combined with Transcendence, Mortdecai, and Alice Through the Looking Glass, and many point to this as the tide turning against him, though he got a reprieve as James "Whitey" Bulger in Black Mass (this was before his nasty divorce from Amber Heard began).
    • To a lesser extent, the film threatens to derail Armie Hammer's career, compounded by the disappointing box office performance of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015). He's since found more success as a character actor in smaller projects.
  • Stillborn Franchise: The film's critical thrashing and expensive failure sent the prospects of a 21st century revival of The Lone Ranger for Disney, copyright holder DreamWorks Animation AND future copyright holder Comcast/Universal right over the cliff, though Disney ended up having to foot the writedown for the project (that price tag was much larger than what DWA paid for the company that had a boatload of rights including The Lone Ranger).
  • Troubled Production: Originally pitched in 2007, it changed hands several times and had the script rewritten at least twice. Then in 2011 Disney delayed the start of production due to concerns about the budget and greatly frustrated Gore Verbinski, though in the end Disney's concerns turned out to be quite founded. Once filming actually began in 2012, it was delayed repeatedly by inclement weather, wildfires, a chickenpox outbreak and the death of a crew member who was working in a water tank, and at one point Johnny Depp was nearly trampled to death by a horse. And to top it off, it lost between 95 and 120 million dollars putting it in ninth place in the list of the biggest box office flops ever.
  • What Could Have Been: Reportedly the original script for the 2013 film had more of a full blown fantasy feel to it, with Cavendish being an actual Wendigo.
    • Seeing as how DreamWorks Animation got the rights to The Lone Ranger as part of their Classic Media package, Disney would have likely needed to discuss further licensing with them for the series's future. The film becoming one of the biggest bombs of all time and earning a lot of derision for its fantasy take on the series made any talks between the two studios over future films meaningless note , though Disney still had the characters in their Disney Infinity series at the same times (ironically, the other side of DreamWorks that Jeffrey Katzenberg is not really a part of was partially responsible for the other Western killer, Cowboys and Aliens, which almost convinced Disney to not let The Lone Ranger see the light of day). Any more attempts to keep Disney's Lone Ranger universe uphill through other means (primarily merchandising) were put down for good when NBCUniversal, perhaps Disney's biggest rival in the mass media, bought DreamWorks Animation several years later, giving them the rights to The Lone Ranger (plus Disney Infinity was discontinued altogether and won't receive any further updates past the summer of 2016).

The Franchise As A Whole

  • Channel Hop:
    • The franchise went through a plethora of owners throughout its existence. First, George W. Trendle continued to own the intellectual property for The Lone Ranger until 1954, when he sold the company who administered the property to Jack Wrather. After his death, the property then went to his widow, then Southbrook International Television, then Lorne Michaels, Golden Books, Classic Media, and ultimately DreamWorks Animation (along with its parent company Universal Studios since August 2016).
    • The two Lone Ranger film of the 1950's, the first titled simply The Lone Ranger and the sequel titled The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold, were originally distributed by Warner Bros. and United Artists, respectively, but their rights later reverted to Wrather Productions. Universal (through DreamWorks) now owns and distributes the films.
    • 1981's The Legend Of The Lone Ranger was first distributed theatrically by Universal through its deal with co-producer ITC Entertainment. Following the end of its theatrical run, ITC reclaimed distribution rights and licensed them to Magnetic Video, then CBS/Fox Video. ITV Global Entertainment, ITC's successor-in-interest, currently licenses the film to Lionsgate, but Universal's purchase of DreamWorks Animation gave them a portion of the copyright to the movie (the film was copyrighted by both ITC and Wrather Productions, the latter of which is now part of Universal/DreamWorks) and still collects royalties for any release of the film.