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Classic ‘Lone Ranger’ Rides to DVD Nov. 11

22 Sep, 2008 By: John Latchem

Classic Media will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Lone Ranger with a boxed set of episodes from the TV show that helped make the character an American icon.

“The Lone Ranger is arguably the most popular Western character of all time,” said Nicole Blake, SVP of marketing for Classic Media. “The character spans the generations. Most people will have a Lone Ranger memory from when they grew up.”

The Lone Ranger: 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition streets Nov. 11 (prebook Sept. 30) at $119.93 from Classic Media and distributor Genius Products. The 13-DVD set includes the first 78 episodes from the 1949-57 Western show about the masked crimefighter in the Old West.

“It’s a must-have for any true Lone Ranger fan or any historian of the West,” Blake said.

The Lone Ranger, created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, debuted as a radio show Jan. 30, 1933. Over the course of nearly 3,000 radio episodes, the character became a symbol of justice, marked by his code of morality, and accompanied by his trusty horse, Silver, and his faithful Native American sidekick, Tonto. Even the theme music, the “cavalry charge” finale of Gioacchino Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” became instantly associated with the character.

Adventures of the Lone Ranger subsequently carried over to films, television, novels and comic books.

“This is one of the true entertainment franchises that spans all mediums,” Blake said. “More important than any one representation is the spirit of the Lone Ranger, and that notion that everyone has within them the power to make a better world.”

The DVD release is part of an overall marketing push, which includes fan celebrations and collectible Lone Ranger merchandise such as a coffee table book, trading cards and a new graphic novel, all designed to introduce a new generation of fans to the character, Blake said. The celebration kicked off in June with a Lone Ranger tribute at the Texas State Railroad, with plans for similar gatherings in North Carolina, Colorado and other states.

The theme of the campaign, Blake said, is “When the West was wild, one man stood for justice.”

Blake said tales of the Old West have always proved popular with audiences, and points to recent successes such as “Deadwood,” Broken Trail, 3:10 to Yuma and the upcoming film Appaloosa.

“Western is the way,” Blake said. “True classics never go out of style.”

The 78 episodes included on the new DVD comprise two of the show’s five seasons and represent the initial production run with Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger. John Hart would play the character for the third season, with Moore returning for seasons four and five. Jay Silverheels starred as Tonto. The episodes have been digitally remastered, and the boxed set is packed with exclusive memorabilia, including an 88-page souvenir booklet, a comic book and photo reprints.

Blake said Classic Media turned to the fans when researching what extras to include.

A bonus DVD in the boxed set includes three episodes from the 1960s “Lone Ranger” cartoon series; a “Lassie” episode, “Peace Patrol,” starring the Lone Ranger; and “The Tribal Talisman,” a 1950 episode of the “Lone Ranger” radio show selected by a Lone Ranger historian consulted for the set, Blake said.

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