Friends, welcome back to a new offering for Retro Radio Memories, shortly before setting up this site we had started a marathon of Old Time Radio episodes from The Lone Ranger over on the Retroist. Like many of the articles and podcasts that I was fortunate enough to start on that iconic site – I’m bringing Retro Radio Memories to Pop Culture Retrorama too and we are continuing that Lone Ranger marathon with an episode entitled Murder of Pony Express Rider. This episode originally aired on Friday of April 22, 1938 and featured Earle Graser performing the voice of that heroic masked man and I believe John Todd as his friend and faithful companion, Tonto. The Lone Ranger was incredibly popular to say the least as it began airing on WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan on or around January 31st of 1933 and continued to be aired until September 3, 1954. The western radio show would eventually find it’s way to the larger reaching Mutual Broadcasting System on May 2, 1942 and in total it is believed there were 2,956 episodes produced – that is a lot of Old Time Radio goodness set in the “…thrilling days of yesteryear.”
The creation of the Lone Ranger has been credited to WXYZ station George W. Trendle as well as Fran Striker, who I firmly believe is the actual creator of the character. I’ve stated this before but it bears repeating, I’m sure that Trendle had some hand in the creation of the character but from what I’ve read online it seems like Striker deserves the lion’s share of the credit. Interestingly enough, Fran Striker would go on to create a couple other legendary Old Time Radio show series – such as The Green Hornet, and Sgt. Preston from Challenge of the Yukon. That particular radio show would undergo a name change to Sgt. Preston of the Yukon in September of 1950 and would of course be the name of the popular TV series from 1955 to 1958.
In Murder of Pony Express Rider, the town of Greeneville has an enormous problem with a group of nearby outlaws. It appears this gang of brigands, led by a brute named Wolf, frequently ride into not just Greeneville but nearby towns – looting and and worse. As the episode begins though it appears that citizens of Greeneville are angrier at Colonel Dawson – who has just arrived to check on the safety of this Daughter. It turns out that the Colonel refuses to act against the outlaws until he is given orders from Washington to take his men and ride into the hills and clear out the villains. Which is exactly what he is waiting on – orders being carried by a rider from the Pony Express… unfortunately Wolf knows all about this and dispatches some of his men to make sure those orders never arrive. Which is how the Lone Ranger and Tonto are brought into the story – can they convince Colonel Dawson to act without orders and help save the townspeople of Greeneville?