Friday, January 25, 2008


Hi ho, Silver...

Plaid Stallions (which if you haven't seen you should) has posted the full contents of Gabriel Toys' 1976 Lone Ranger catalog, which was another little blast from the past for me.

I had forgotten owning these until we bought some horse and rider toys for Georgia this last year that had similar dimensions, and having the sudden flashback of those tiny plastic saddles and their little cinches.

Why a western hero in a domino mask and powder blue speedsuit should have been so appealing to me as a child I'll never know, but I was obsessed with the Lone Ranger. I watched all of the old Clayton Moore black & white episodes over and over again, and later the Filmation animated series. Strangely, though, westerns in general didn't really appeal to me, and aside from The Lone Ranger and The Rifleman, which was another early favorite, I don't remember spending any amount of time watching other examples of the genre.

Chris, you're probably just a few years too young (I was born in 1954) to have been properly immersed in Westerns on film and TV as a kid. The Lone Ranger was great (although some of the plots are very simplistic compared to the earlier radio stories, or so I am told). And of course we had the Marx Western playsets (many of which were tie-ins to specific TV series like Gunsmoke and Roy Rogers), shows like Branded & Bat Masterson & Rawhide & Wagon Train, and tie-in games, Wild Wild West and its merchandise, the Johnny West series of figures, Civil War Centennial toys and all the pressed steel lunchboxes you could hope for. Yikes.
BTW, Celebriducks did a Lone Rangers duckie.

Oh yeah, I forgot "Have Gun Will Travel" with Richard Boone. A great show on old radio and TV.

Here's the theme song lyrics:

Have Gun Will Travel Theme Song

"Ballad of Paladin" by Johnny Western, Richard Boone, and Sam Rolfe
Performed by Johnny Western

Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of a man.
A knight without armor in a savage land.
His fast gun for hire head's the calling wind.
A soldier of fotune is the man called Paladin.

Paladin, Paladin Where do you roam?
Paladin, Paladin, Far, far from home.

He travels on to wherever he must;
A chess knight of silver is his badge of trust.
There are campfire legends that the plainsmen spin
Of the man with the gun,
of the man called Pa-l-l-l-l-a-din

We need some High Fantasy westerns!
Yeah, I was a little behind the curve on the western craze. It was all spacemen and kung fu masters when I showed up. A lot of the shows were still on heavy rotation in reruns, though. And my dad, who grew up in west Texas, had been weaned on Roy Rogers and Tom Mix and that whole gang, so I got a lot of it from him, as well.

For some reason I never got into Have Gun Will Travel, though in retrospect it would have been right up my alley. I think I tried it once when I was really too young for it, and never went back.

I like the idea of a High Fantasy western, though...
Emma Bull's recent novel The Territory is rather good, a rather subtle look at magic use in the time before the OK Corral confrontation.
I remember quite liking Midori Snyder's The Flight of Michael McBride, but I suppose that's really more of a Western "urban fantasy", to abuse the meaning of "urban", than an epic fantasy.
Hey! I had Lone Ranger and Silver as shown in the catalog, but what's not shown is the Covered Wagon/Chuck Wagon combo that you could hook Silver up to. It was very elaborate, full camping/cooking utensils, water barrel, and very complicated rein and harness gear for hitching Silver up to the wagon. Prior to getting the Micronauts BattleCruiser, it was one of my favorite toys in 1975-1976.
You know, Sean, now that you mention it, I suddenly have a very distinct memory of little gray plastic pans, a little water barrel, and the detachable cover for the wagon. I wonder if I had that, as well, or maybe just saw someone else's.
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