After viewing the new Disney movie adaptation of this icon, I decided to do some research and found something interesting. I have copied the Wikipedia description below.
"As generally depicted, the Lone Ranger conducts himself by a strict moral code put in place by Fran Striker and George W. Trendle at the inception of the character. Actors Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels both took their positions as role models to children very seriously and tried their best to live by this creed. It reads:
- That to have a friend, a man must be one.
- That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
- That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
- In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for what is right.
- That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
- That 'this government of the people, by the people, and for the people' shall live always.
- That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
- That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
- That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
- In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
- The Lone Ranger is never seen without his mask or a disguise.
- With emphasis on logic, The Lone Ranger is never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked.
- The Lone Ranger always uses perfect grammar and precise speech completely devoid of slang and colloquial phrases, at all times.
- When he has to use guns, The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill, but rather only to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.
- Logically, too, The Lone Ranger never wins against hopeless odds; i.e., he is never seen escaping from a barrage of bullets merely by riding into the horizon.
- Even though The Lone Ranger offers his aid to individuals or small groups, the ultimate objective of his story never fails to imply that their benefit is only a by-product of a greater achievement—the development of the west or our country. His adversaries are usually groups whose power is such that large areas are at stake.
- Adversaries are never other than American to avoid criticism from minority groups. There were exceptions to this rule. He sometimes battled foreign agents, though their nation of origin was generally not named. One exception was helping the Mexican Juarez against French troops of Emperor Maximilian, as occurred in radio episodes such as "Supplies for Juarez" (18 September 1939), "Hunted by Legionnaires" (20 September 1939) and "Lafitte's Reinforcements" (22 September 1939).
- Names of unsympathetic characters are carefully chosen, never consisting of two names if it can be avoided, to avoid even further vicarious association—more often than not, a single nickname is selected.
- The Lone Ranger never drinks or smokes and saloon scenes are usually interpreted as cafes, with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.
- Criminals are never shown in enviable positions of wealth or power, and they never appear as successful or glamorous.
What I found most fascinating about it all was the fact that many of these ideals were imprinted upon my childhood self. Being around 6-8 years of age when I watched this series (TV was a great babysitter back then) I found that even now many of these core values are ones I live by. It was quite an enlightenment since all of this time all I really remembered out of the series were the fancy tricks that Silver could do.
Though I knew going in that the new movie would be far removed from the original series, (we continually think we can improve on things in this day and age) I found it entertaining. Who can not appreciate Johnny Depp's acting skills? Though I think it would have better served the movie if the title would have been Tonto and the Lone Ranger! Still it had it's moments and the soundtrack is phenomenal. There was still a hint of the original creed and sound good versus evil guidelines.
Overall it raised in me not only the realization that young children are very impressionable but sadly how Hollywood has lost sight of just how much they impact our future generations. It seems to me for the sake of 'art' and political agendas they have lost the simple morals of life. Watch any popular cartoons today and observe what the core values are that are being taught.
We, as writers, are no less responsible for what we produce as well. Will we go with the latest fad to make a quick buck or will our values and morals be important enough to pass on to future generations?