Macon woman no Johnny-come-lately Lone Ranger fan

jwilliams@macon.comJuly 5, 2013 

While some moviegoers may be getting their first introduction to the story of the Lone Ranger this weekend, Joyce Harrison has been a fan for more than 70 years.

Harrison has a collection of serialized Lone Ranger stories that ran in The Macon Telegraph on Tuesdays in 1940. The clippings have faded to yellow and the edges are starting to crumble, but each cliff-hanger is still easily readable.

“How the Lone Ranger Captured ‘Silver’ ” and “The Life of Tonto -- By the Lone Ranger” were published in chapter installments each week, and Harrison has kept them all tucked away neatly in an old envelope with her grandfather’s name on it.

Harrison, 84, grew up between what is now Warner Robins and Byron, and she said her house didn’t have electricity until the late 1930s. When her family did get electricity, their first appliances were a refrigerator and a radio. That’s when she started to listen to the “Lone Ranger” program.

“I listened every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to get home from school.”

She became hooked on the Lone Ranger, and that devotion increased when The Telegraph began running the Lone Ranger serial.

“I was thrilled to death when they published it in the newspaper to read,” she said.

She was about 10 when she began to clip out the stories. At the time, she didn’t realize she would one day want the dates from the newspaper.

Since then, she’s used the backs of the clippings, which contain other articles and obituaries, to determine that the stories ran from about March to November 1940.

Harrison was able to pass on her enthusiasm to her daughters by way of “The Lone Ranger” TV show, featuring Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto.

She said she may try the new movie, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, to see if she wants to watch the whole thing, but she’s not sure she will.

“I have such happy memories of listening on the radio and then watching with my daughters on TV,” she said.

Looking at excerpts from the newspaper serials, it’s easy to see how readers could get drawn into the stories of Wild West adventure and friendship that always hinted at more to come.

The last chapter of “The Life of Tonto” reads:

“The Lone Ranger held out his hand to grip that of the Indian.

‘The last time we met,’ he said, ‘we found that our trails were different, but now those trails seem to have met again. From now on --’.

‘From now,’ the Indian repeated, ‘we ride same trail. You, Lone Ranger, and Tonto always ride together.’

THE END.”

To contact writer Jaime Williams, call 744-4331.

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