The Lone Ranger: The Silver Spur, originally broadcast 6/08/1938
While details differ, the basic story of the origin of the Lone Ranger is the same in most versions of the franchise. Six Texas Rangers are ambushed by a band of outlaws led by Barthalamo “Butch” Cavendish. Later, a Native American named Tonto stumbles on the scene and recognizes the lone survivor, as the man who had saved his life some time in the past. He nurses Reid back to health. The two men dig six graves for Reid’s comrades, among them Reid’s brother, Captain Daniel Steven Reid who is the Captain of the Texas Rangers. John Reid fashions a black mask using material from his brother’s vest to conceal his identity, so that Cavendish will think there were no survivors. Even after the Cavendish gang is brought to justice, Reid continues to fight evil under the guise of the Lone Ranger.
Although the Lone Ranger’s last name is given as Reid, his first name is not definitely specified. According to the story told in the radio series, the group of six ambushed Rangers was headed by Reid’s brother, Captain Dan Reid. Some later radio reference books, beginning with Radio’s Golden Age in the 1960s, claimed that the Lone Ranger’s first name was John; however, both the radio and television programs avoided mentioning his first name. Fran Striker’s obituary and a Gold Key Comics retelling of the origin both stated that “Dan” was the Lone Ranger’s first name, not his brother’s.
It appears that the first use of the name “John Reid” was in a scene in the 1981 big-screen film The Legend of the Lone Ranger in which the surviving Reid digs an extra grave for himself. This gave the use of the first name John a degree of official standing, although the name “Luke Hartman” was used in the 2003 TV-movie/unsold series pilot. The name of Captain Reid’s son, the Lone Ranger’s nephew, a later character who became a sort of juvenile sidekick to the Masked Man, is also Dan Reid. (When Trendle and Striker later created The Green Hornet, they made this Dan Reid the father of Britt Reid, alias the Green Hornet, thereby making the Lone Ranger the Green Hornet’s great-uncle.
Hopalong Cassidy: Letter From Beyond the Grave from 1951 or ’52.
“Hoppy” is a fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by the author Clarence E. Mulford, who wrote a series of popular short stories and twenty-eight novels based on the character. In his early writings, Mulford portrayed the character as rude, dangerous, and rough-talking. Beginning in 1935, the character ‒ as played by movie actor William Boyd in films adapted from Mulford’s books ‒ was transformed into a clean-cut, on-screen hero. A total of sixty-six immensely popular films were released, only a few of which relied on Mulford’s original story lines. Mulford would later revise and republish his earlier works to be more consistent with the character’s new, polished, on-screen persona.
Cassidy was played by William Boyd, James Ellison, Russell Hayden, George Reeves and Rand Brooks. George “Gabby” Hayes originally played Cassidy’s grizzled sidekick, Windy Halliday. After Hayes left the series due to a salary dispute with producer Harry Sherman, he was replaced by the comedian Britt Wood as Speedy McGinnis and finally by the veteran movie comedian Andy Clyde as California Carlson. Clyde, the most durable of the sidekicks, remained with the series until it ended. A few actors of future prominence appeared in Cassidy films, most notably Robert Mitchum, who appeared in seven of the films at the beginning of his career. George Reeves, mentioned earlier became well known for his television portrayal of Superman in the 1950s.