Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday's Favorite OTR

The Lone Ranger: “Last Coach West” 8/22/45

Gee whiz, someone on The Lone Ranger writing staff got just a little bit sneaky. This episode is literally a remake of the classic 1939 Western Stagecoach.

Well, maybe not so sneaky. Stagecoach is based on a short story by Ernest Haycox titled “The Stage to Lordsburg.” I suppose that WXYZ in Detroit (where The Lone Ranger was produced) might have acquired the rights to that story.

Because there’s no question that it is indeed the same story—a stagecoach is caught in a remote location by Apaches on the warpath. The people riding the coach are exactly the same character templates as those in the movie (with a couple of them subtracted to help trim the story into a 30-minute time slot). They interact with one another in pretty much the same way their film counterparts did. Of course, in this instance, they are also joined by the Lone Ranger. And it’s the Ranger (rather than the character played by John Wayne in the movie) who performs the dangerous feat of jumping off the stage onto the horses to control them after the reins are dropped.

If I had to guess, I would guess against extra money being spent to buy the rights to Haycox’s story. I think the writers really were being a little sneaky. But what the hey. We kinda sorta get a John Wayne/Lone Ranger team-up. How cool is that?

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