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All He Left Was This Silver Bullet
(and if Disney's right, a box office record...)

Masked justice...
With thundering hooves, a cloud of dust and a mighty hi-YO, Silver, Walt Disney Productions may have just guaranteed where I'll be in the summer of 2010. According to Jim Hill Media today, the Mouse House plans on announcing a big screen adventure for The Lone Ranger.

Since producer Jerry Bruckheimer has done so well with pirates (and, my own mixed feelings aside, he has), he now wants to turn his attention to Westerns. Not just any Western, and this should be the key, but the masked man created by Fran Striker for radio back in the thirties.

How can we not be excited? Hill reports a lot of ironies and naysaying (do check out the article - it's good), but it boils down to a troubled history for the Lone Ranger in the past three decades without pointing out the obvious.

Here goes: in 1981, The Legend of the Lone Ranger bombed. In the title role, Klinton Spilsbury was so bad that James Keach came in and dubbed all his dialogue. That didn't save it, of course, nor did the blistering but not breakout performance of Christopher Lloyd as Butch Cavendish, the man that killed all of the Lone Ranger's family.

Then Westerns in general haven't done well in theaters since Mel Gibson's Maverick. The WB tried to launch the Lone Ranger a few years ago with Chad Michael Murray, but no one paid much attention to it. Thank heavens, since it was forcing the character into the Smallville mode, which was really initially an attempt to copy Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Let them find their own voice, thanks.

Apparently, a four-year attempt at Columbia Pictures to make the Lone Ranger also failed. So why should this time around be any more exciting?

The Lone Ranger is on the upswing. Dynamite Publishing has successfully relaunched the character in comic book form, and it's been a consistently high seller, as well as being just a darned good book. Hill also leaves out that from 1981 on, those masked man projects have sucked.

It's the quality that will bring us out on something like this. Wild Wild West tanked? (And you know some pundit's going to bring that up…) Please take into account that IT WAS TERRIBLE and audiences figured that out early on. If it had been good, we'd have a special edition DVD by now.

Allegedly, Bruckheimer has retained Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio (professionally, you have to use the ampersand) to write the screenplay. Not only did they make the Pirates trilogy work, they also did wonders for Zorro. So that's a no-brainer.

Thank you, Disney. Now …who will be that masked man?


Derek McCaw

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