During the first week of this July, Disney released its much-hyped Lone Ranger feature film, based on the classic radio series from that medium’s Golden Age (and which spawned a number of big and small screen incarnations). Of course, we all know how this version fared at the box office – and not even a gifted actor like Johnny Depp (who played Tonto in the film) could salvage this big-screen train wreck. And by the way, I didn’t see the new Lone Ranger movie – which is probably one reason why sometimes, it’s smart to take the advice of film critics who are, for the most part, more wiser than both movie studio executives and film producers who’ve long since overstayed their welcome in Hollywood. (Like a certain person whose initials are J.B.)
The Lone Ranger debacle, of course, is a reminder that some show business properties are better off left alone, especially in today’s society. I say this because the Lone Ranger radio program (as well as its film and TV incarnations) belonged to a different time, when it entertained several generations of audiences who needed a positive role model at a time when our values were in danger of vanishing – considering what the world was already facing, from the Great Depression to the death and destruction that resulted from World War II. Of course, today’s generation does need role models – but I’m not sure if revamping the Lone Ranger for today’s audiences is a smart idea, especially concerning the pitiful dumbing down of the title character in the new film version, which makes the 1981 film The Legend Of The Lone Ranger look like a cinematic masterpiece. (And yes, I did see that film – much to my regret.)
There are also other reasons why Disney’s Lone Ranger movie didn’t fare well at the box office – including upping the ante in terms of both action and violence, perhaps in an attempt to reflect history’s revisionist view of the Wild West in 19th Century America. Of course, we all know that the actual Wild West greatly differed from that presented in the Lone Ranger’s various media incarnations – then again, it should be noted that those media incarnations from the 1930’s to the 1960’s catered mainly to young audiences during that long time span, the same youngsters who needed a temporary escape from the realities of the world that they lived in. Of course, if the Lone Ranger was conceived today instead of over eighty years ago, his life span as a fictional character wouldn’t last long, especially since the world’s various mass media industries have greatly expanded since the 1930’s, when the TV industry as a whole hadn’t yet existed (not to mention the Internet).
So, however popular the Lone Ranger was during the peak of his success, the mass media era that helped spawned him is already long gone – and trying to revamp the character in order to cater to what today’s audiences want is a recipe for a show business disaster in the worst way possible, and bringing forth a lesson that Hollywood should have learned by now: some show business properties that were created almost a century ago should really be left alone. And probably forever.
P.S.: Please check out my latest YouTube video:
John Lavernoich is the author of the novels Code Name: Chameleons (published by iUniverse/Writers Club Press) and Chameleons To The Rescue (published by Lulu Books/Highroad Books), and the recently published short story e-book collection Tales Of The Psychiatrist (published by Booktango), as well as various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet. To learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his writing achievements, please visit his official website (https://sites.google.com/site/johnlav65), as well as his pages on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/john.lavernoich?ref=name), MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jlavernoich), Twitter (http://twitter.com/JLav65), and WordPress (https://johnlav.wordpress.com). Mr. Lavernoich also maintains his own video channel on YouTube‘s website (http://www.youtube.com/user/JLav65?feature=mhsn), his own Author Spotlight page on Lulu Books‘ website (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Highroad), his own Profile Page on Amazon Studios‘ website (http://studios.amazon.com/users/59488), and his Chameleons, Inc. and Pictures Shop websites via Google Sites (Chameleons, Inc. website: https://sites.google.com/site/chaminc2002; Pictures Shop website: https://sites.google.com/site/picturesshop13).
©2013 John Lavernoich.