EIGHINGER: The Lone Ranger and the true code of a superhero

Posted: Feb. 6, 2013 12:26 am Updated: Mar. 6, 2013 3:15 pm

I've seen the first wave of commercials and I'm excited.

The Lone Ranger, it appears, will soon ride again This time it will be on the silver screen.

Tonto, his faithful sidekick, will be back, too. The fact that wacky Johnny Depp will be playing Tonto in the film, to be released later this year, will make the wait all the more bearable.

The first television show I can remember watching as a wee lad was "The Lone Ranger," starring Clayton Moore as the masked man of the Wild West. Jay Silverheels played Tonto. Both are now riding that big range in the sky, but they left behind visions forever etched into the memory banks of young boys who are now known as baby boomers. I always loved when the Lone Ranger rode off into the sunset to the familiar "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!"

The Lone Ranger came along at a time when it meant something to be a superhero. There weren't many of them around when I was young. Other than the Lone Ranger, we heard about Superman every now and then and maybe once in awhile Batman would be mentioned.

I often sit and chuckle at the talk from the backseat of the car when hauling around our oldest two grandsons. There is non-stop chatter about superheroes and which one could beat up the other. I think I have heard every possible pro and con about Spiderman, Ironman, the Hulk, Wolverine, the Flash, Wonder Woman, the Justice League, the Silver Surfer, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and a couple of dozen other superheroes who have risen to popularity in recent years

But I ask you, what makes a true superhero?

Fran Striker and George W. Trendle, the two gentlemen who are given credit for "inventing" the Lone Ranger almost 80 years ago, laid out some specific ground rules for the masked champion of all that was good. They also insisted the men who portrayed the Lone Ranger and Tonto -- Moore and Silverheels -- abide by a moral code befitting a ... well, superhero.

Among the requirements of the Lone Ranger and Tonto were to believe:

º That to have a friend, a man must be one.

º That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

º In being prepared physically, mentally and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

º That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

In addition, the Lone Ranger:

º Always uses perfect grammar and precise speech completely devoid of slang and colloquial phrases.

º Never shoots to kill, but rather only to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.

º Never drinks or smokes; saloon scenes were usually interpreted as cafes, with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.

º Only uses silver bullets, to remind himself that life, too, is precious and, like his silver bullets, not to be wasted or thrown away.

Now that, friends, is the code of a superhero.

Hi-yo, Silver! Away!



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