Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's Favorite OTR

The Lone Ranger--"Kit Carson"--July 17, 1944:

This particular episode is one of 16 broadcast in 1944 in which the Ranger shares an adventure with a real-life person. In fact, I posted comments about the Teddy Roosevelt 2-parter a few months back.

"Kit Carson" is something of an anomaly. It starts with the commander of Fort Leavenworth in Kansas reading a news story about the deaths of John Adams & Thomas Jefferson, both on July 4. That sets the story firmly in 1826. A few minutes later, a young Kit Carson enters the tale.

So I figured the story would be have a 50-year gap in it, with young Kit having an 1826 adventure, then teaming up with the Lone Ranger as an old guy in some sort of follow-up to the first half.

But instead, the whole story was set in 1826, with the Ranger and Tonto mysteriously and without explanation existing in that time period (40 to 50 years before they should be around.)

Of course, it was a good, entertaining story, so there's really no reason to complain. I guess the writers & producers simply decided to set aside internal continuity in order to tell the story they wanted to tell. The result was a sort of "Elsewords" or "What If" Lone Ranger tale, with a well-constructed plot and some nice bits of characterizations involving various people involved in the adventure.

I usually think that fictional universes are more dramatically viable if they pay proper attention to their internal continuities. But I have to admit that in this case, it simply doesn't matter. The episode did what all the stronger Lone Ranger episodes do--it told a good yarn.

(It does beg the question, though, of what sort of weapon the Ranger was using at one point when he engaged in a gun battle with a couple of bad guys. He was shooting multiple times without reloading in a time period where revolvers weren't yet available. )

Click HERE to listen or download.


  1. Interesting and insightful post, Tim, especially about writers telescoping the timeline to create a good story. Similarly, one of my favorite BONANZA episodes,"A Passion for Justice," features Charles Dickens visiting the Ponderosa in Nevada, much farther west than the real Dickens ever traveled, a detail that doesn't dampen my enjoyment of the episode (especially when the immortal Dickens is played by the inimitable Jonathan Harris!). --Gary in Omaha

  2. Time Compression was an inherent part of long running Westerns both on radio and TV. The Ranger's horse Silver certainly had an excessively long life span for a horse. Gunsmoke, both on radio and on TV, was perpetually stuck in the mid-1870s. The made-for-TV movies in the 1980s that brought James Arness back as Dillon acknowledged he had a decades-long career as a Marshall, but it was STILL the 1870s when there should have been a few phones and even an early automobile or two on the streets of Dodge. But that's how it should be--those shows NEED to be time-compressed to retain the setting that best fits them.

    I remember that Bonanza Dickens episode.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...