It’s summer, so perhaps you can permit me this posting which does not raise a single Big Question. The memories describe days shortly after the dinosaurs died off.
It was first aired a few years ago, but it was only yesterday that a good friend told me that NPR had celebrated the 75th anniversary of my favorite radio show, The Lone Ranger, so I went online and found that I could listen to the tribute here. For some of the broadcasts themselves, see here.
We had a big console radio in our living room, and even though it could be heard very clearly all over the room, we competed for places in chairs or on the floor as close to the radio as we could get. If you had to leave your place to go to the bathroom, you had to declare that you were coming back to your spot, or you lost it for the evening.
The Lone Ranger was my favorite show. His voice was deep and resolute, exuding righteousness. (When the Catholic Hour dramatized the retelling of the Gospels in Fulton Oursler’s The Greatest Story Ever Told, they surrounded the voice of Jesus with choirs of angels sweetly humming, but it couldn’t match in awe-producing power that of the Lone Ranger.) The show was sponsored by Cheerios, which to this day is my favorite breakfast cereal. For many years I won trivia-contests by being able to name not only the Lone Ranger’s nephew but also his horse. (Don’t cheat by googling it.) In the Spring, when Daylight Savings Time began and we had an extra hour to play outside after supper, it was a hard decision to make, whether to go in and hear the Lone Ranger at 7:30. The theme-music was Rossini’s William Tell Overture, and I still can’t hear it without being brought back to my childhood, huddled near that radio. When a TV show of the Lone Ranger began, it was a great disappointment to find him played by a mere mortal.
We were usually sent to bed at 8:00. Detective stories usually followed and could be heard up in our bedrooms. I used to try to fall asleep before one of them ended, because it always concluded with a police alert: “Be on the Lookout!” And there’d be a detailed description of, say, Scarface Malone who had just escaped from a prison for the criminally insane, and whose face I could imagine staring in at us from the roof.