Season 10, Episode 06
Re-Imagined Radio pays tribute to three uniquely connected radio drama series, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and The Challenge of the Yukon. Produced by George Trendle, owner of WXYZ radio, and written by Fran Striker, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and The Challenge of the Yukon are each examples of pioneering radio storytelling. Through voices, music, and sound effects we are there as the The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and Sergeant Preston keep the criminals in check. Each character stands for something, and never backs away from their guiding principles. The larger than life characters, the adventurous plots, even the classical music themes have all contributed to making The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and The Challenge of the Yukon among the best of all Old Time Radio programs. This Re-Imagined Radio "Lone-Green-Challenge Tribute" honors that legacy.
Broadcasts and streams by our local, regional, and international partners, and Instagram Live. Archival recordings available for on demand listening.
NOTE: This episode features excerpts from an historic radio program with characters and dialogue that may be offensive to some listeners, especially those aligned with the Native American population. The intent is not to be offensive, but rather to portray this radio program as it was heard in its own time, and to promote opportunities for discussion and positive change in the time of our listening.
READ the working script for Lone-Green-Challenge.
Minor changes may have been made in production. Voice actors are creative. Otherwise, this is an accurate textual description of what is heard in the broadcast.
Curated, Produced, and Hosted by John F. Barber
Sound Design and Music Composition by Marc Rose of Fuse
Social Media by Regina Carol Social Media Management
Promotional Graphics by Holly Slocum Design
George W. Trendle, a lawyer specializing in movie contracts and leases, bought radio station WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan, with partner John H. Kunsky, in 1929. Together, they ran the radio station as Trendle Enterprises. WXYZ was an affiliate of the CBS network who refused Trendle's request to change the prime time program schedule. So, he went independent in 1932 and produced his own programs. The first was The Lone Ranger which went into production that same year.
The Lone Ranger was a popular radio drama, with 2,956 episodes from 31 January 1933 until 27 May 1955. The radio show spawned novels, films, television series, animations, comic strips and books, video games, premiums, and toys, as well as parodies and spoofs. Although possibly inspired by Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes, to whom the book The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey was dedicated in 1915, the Lone Ranger, and his companion Tonto, are both fictional characters. Even so, they, and their horses, Silver and Scout, are enduring American icons. Hi-Yo, Silver, away!
Bruce Beemer starred as The Lone Ranger.
The musical theme for The Lone Ranger was "The William Tell Overture." So closely are the music and radio program associated that many people think this music was created for The Lone Ranger radio drama. But it was actually composed by Gioachino Rossini as the overture for his 1829 opera William Tell. The music was in the public domain and Trendle thought that young listeners would benefit from hearing classical music.
At the end of each episode, a character would ask, "Who was that masked man?" As his idenity was revealed the Lone Ranger and Tonto were heard galloping off with the cry, "Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!"
The earliest known/surviving episode of The Lone Ranger is "Horse Thieves Steal Silver," first broadcast 2 February 1938. It is sampled for this Re-Imagined Radio tribute.The Green Hornet
The musical theme for The Green Hornet was "The Flight of the Bumblebee" composed 1899-1900 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera The Tale of Tzar Saltan. After the musical beginning, the announcer came in to say . . .
He hunts the biggest of all game, public enemies who try to destroy our America. With his faithful valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matches wits with the underworld, risking his life that criminals and racketeers within the law may feel its weight by the sting of The Green Hornet!
"Words and Music" was first broadcast 30 May 1939. It is sampled for this Re-Imagined Radio tribute.The Challenge of the Yukon
Jay Michael starred as Sergeant Frank Preston, 1939-mid-1940s. Michael also played villain Butch Cavendish on The Lone Ranger series. Bruce Beemer, star of The Lone Ranger, voiced the part of Sgt. Preston in 1955, the last year of the series.
Became a television series 1947-1949.
Returned to radio in 1950 with a new title, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, and continued until 1955.
The musical theme of The Challenge of the Yukon was the overture to Emil von Reznicek's comedic opera Donna Diana first performed in 1894. Each episode began with this classical music overture. Then, a bark from Yukon King, and the announcer came in to say . . .
It's Yukon King, swiftest and strongest lead dog in the Northwest, blazing the trail for Sergeant Preston of the Northwest Mounted Police, in his relentless pursuit of law breakers!
At the end of each episode, Sergeant Preston would say to King, his dog, "Well, King. This case is closed."
The earliest known/surviving episode of The Challenge of the Yukon is "Meeting the Terms of a Contract," first broadcast 28 May 1943. It is sampled for this Re-Imagined Radio tribute.Connections
Both The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet wore masks and colorful outfits.
Both The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet used non-lethal means to subdue criminals.
The Lone Ranger rode a horse named Silver.
The Green Hornet drove Black Beauty, the fastest car in the world.
The Challenge of the Yukon featured Rex, a black horse, and Yukon King, the swiftest and strongest lead dog in the Northwest.
The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet series shared the same announcer, Bob Hite.
The Challenge of the Yukon series shared, at its start, the same announcer as The Lone Ranger, Fred Foy. But he was replaced early in The Challenge of the Yukon series because his voice was thought too familiar and too identified with The Lone Ranger.
The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet shared family connections.
Recall The Lone Ranger origin story . . . Captain Dan Reid, his younger brother, John, and other Texas Rangers, were ambushed at Bryant Gap by the Butch Cavendish Gang. Dan and John, when not on duty with the Rangers, shared a secret and very rich silver mine. Mortally wounded in the ambush, Dan Reid made his brother John promise that if he survived he would work the silver mine and share its riches with Dan's wife and young son, Dan, Junior. John Reid was gravely injured but survived with the help of Tonto, began his career as The Lone Ranger, and cared for his nephew Dan, as he promised. Dan’s son, Breitt Reid, became The Green Hornet.
Siegel, Robert. The Lone Ranger: Justice from Outside the Law. "All Things Considered." National Public Radio, 14 Jan. 2008.
The first episode of a new "In Character" series offered by NPR. Celebrates The Lone Ranger's 75th Anniversary.
Lone-Green-Challenge web poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (240 x 356)
Lone-Green-Challenge landscape poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (820 x 356)
Lone-Green-Challenge trailer by Holly Slocum, Marc Rose, and John Barber.
Lone-Green-Challenge square poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (2000 x 2000)
Lone-Green-Challenge full poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (2000 x 3000)
Re-Imagined Radio presented a live performance by Metropolitan Performing Arts actors and other community volunteers at Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Re-Imagined Radio re-imagined The Lone Ranger origin story, that of the powerful white stallion, Silver, and women empowerment on a wagon train bound for the Oregon Territory. Audience count: 125. Streamed live on American Senior Radio Network. Also broadcast on KXRW FM and KXRY FM, Portland, Oregon. Archival recording available for on demand listening.
Recorded live performance.
Wade, Adeena. Re-Imagined Radio: Sound-based storytelling for the digital age. StoryHub, College of Arts and Sciences, Washington State University, 20 Sep. 2018.
Photography by Adeena Wade