Lone Ranger gets his Name

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Thu Feb 21 20:26:15 UTC 2008

Ah ha. Delving further into the depths of NPR archives, it turns out that
the origin of Tonto's name had in fact been covered in the original story,
but had been cut due to time constraints (figures they would cut the
Indian's part...). Rather than tell you about it, you can go here
and hear it for yourself (Click on the "Listen Now" link). Hint: It's a
little bit of an anticlimax and it would appear that Fran Striker did not
know that the word "tonto" meant stupid, fool, etc. in Spanish.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
RonButters at AOL.COM
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 12:54 PM
Subject: Lone Ranger gets his Name

>Thanks for this find. I'm sorry that the interview did not tell us what the
>rationale was for Tonto's name.

>Of course, being someone for the hero to talk to is shorthand for a lot
>e.g., Tonto frequently has LR's back in his various crime-fighting
(cf. Robin for Batman). As I recall, the amount of serious conversation
between LR and the laconic Tonto is far less than what one usually finds
sidekicks and the big cheese. Tonto also shows far more wisdom and insight
most sidekicks. And because he is a competent adult who is wise in the ways
nature, there is less need for LR to protect him or explain things to him.
there is very little patronizing humor of the sort that one finds in some of
these pairings' interchanges.

In a message dated 2/21/08 5:29:19 AM, dad at POKERWIZ.COM writes:

> I found this NPR site some days ago but didn't pass it on as I figured
> interest in the Lone Ranger had waned. But, FWIW, if you look here
> http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18073741
> they have an interview with Fran Striker Jr., son of the original TLR
> writer.
> Part of what Jr. says is that (quoting the article) "For the first 10
> episodes of The Lone Ranger, the Ranger actually rode alone. (This was
> before they cooked up the backstory of the ambush at Bryant's Gap.) As
> writer Fran Striker told his son, Fran Junior, that posed a problem for
> creating dialogue.
> 'The Lone Ranger had nobody to talk to if he was a lone ranger,' Striker
> says. 'So it was suggested they create a sidekick for TLR. Script 11
> introduced Tonto. And [he] was developed solely for the purpose of giving
> the Lone Ranger someone to talk to.'"
> So Tonto was apparently an antecessor of Tom Hanks's ball Wilson in Cast
> Away and Will Smith's dog in I am Legend; all were created to give a lone
> protagonist someone to talk to.

Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.


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