The Great Balloon Race.
Hey kids (of all ages), it's Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!
Last Saturday I covered Format Films' steampunk LONE RANGER series from the '60s. Saturday before that I did the SECRET LIVES OF WALDO KITTY, a '70s show from Filmation that parodied various pop-culture heroes, including the Ranger.
I suspect that, even then, Filmation had their own Lone Ranger series in the works. This one more closely resembled the classic, live-action series. As with many Filmation cartoons, it featured excellent character design and animation... Though they economized by recycling animation segments as much as possible.
The Ranger is voiced by William Conrad, most recognizable as the portly, but badass titular detective from the 1970s CANNON prime-time series. He was no stranger to western characters, as he was the voice actor for none other than Marshal Matt Dillon on the long-running GUNSMOKE radio program. For some reason, he was credited under a pseudonym. It can't be because he was embarrassed to voice cartoons. He was already well-known as the narrator to the iconic ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE show from the '60s.
It is probable that this animated series happened because the owners of the character wanted to generate interest for the upcoming big-budget Hollywood feature film LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER. But the movie was a disaster... First, they had to disprove the old adage that "There is really no such thing as BAD publicity!", pissing-off all Lone Ranger fans by filing suit against Clayton Moore, the star of the beloved live-action TV series (covered previously on this channel) to stop the old man from doing public appearances as the Ranger. It also didn't help that they picked a lead for the movie based on him looking good for the poster, despite the fact that he couldn't act. At all! They had to overdub all his dialog with someone else's voice.
In fact, the film may have generated enough bad mojo to curse the character for good. This Filmation series was his last screen success. A new live-action series in '03 never got beyond pilot. Even Disney's mega-budget feature film in '13 crashed and burned in spectacular fashion.
Filmation's Lone Ranger was usually run in a block with adaptations of classic pulp-origin heroes TARZAN and ZORRO. This episode features an appearance by Dan Reid, the Ranger's nephew, who sometimes rode with the Ranger and Tonto on radio and TV. He was the father of Britt Reid, the original GREEN HORNET who started in a spin-off radio series. From October, 1980.
|Category||Anime & Animation|
|Sensitivity||Normal - Content that is suitable for ages 16 and over|
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