Thursday, February 23, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger meets Mark Twain (1980)

A Lone Ranger fan channel has turned up on YouTube. The playlist includes episodes of the 1980 Filmation reboot of the series, with William Conrad, fresh from Cannon, as the voice of the Ranger. Conrad, though, was billed as J. Darnoc (Conrad spelled backwards) for some unknown reason. There's no mistaking that distinctive voice, though.

Right now, let's take a look at "The Abduction of Tom Sawyer". It's not what you think, especially considering that Tom's creator, Mark Twain, figures prominently in the story.

Filmation had first acquired a license for The Lone Ranger 8 years earlier when the Ranger, then voiced by John Erwin, made a guest appearance on The Brady Kids. Unlike the 1966 series, 2 seasons were produced, with the second season episodes considerably shorter to make room for Zorro. CBS needed another legendary hero to share an hour with Tarzan after The New Adventures of Batman and the remaining remnants of Tarzan & The Super 7, rechristened Batman & The Super 7, moved to NBC for their final season. The problem was, the Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour was buried near the bottom of the lineup. Adding Zorro the next year didn't help.

Rating: A.

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