For this Retro Radio Memories offering we are charging ahead with The Lone Ranger marathon of Old Time Radio programs – with an episode entitled Thunder Rides the Flood. In the last couple of Retro Radio Memories articles, I have shared my love of The Lone Ranger as well as Tonto as pop culture heroes. An admiration for the core of both characters that was started thanks to catching reruns of the television series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, although I knew of the radio show thanks to my Grandparents. That isn’t to say however that I didn’t see the Ranger and Tonto in other places on TV… say like this rather ingenious TV commercial from 1986 for Tostitos.
Thunder Rides the Flood originally aired on August 8th of 1941 – which means that Earle Graser had tragically already died in that automobile accident in April of that year. It is Brace Breemer who you will be hearing in this particular episode – the actor who portrayed the character for the longest time. Starting on April 18th of ’41 until the final episode, which I do believe was aired on September 3rd of 1954. On one of the former Retro Radio Memories podcast episodes I shared a pretty moving tribute to Graser that was shared when the actor’s death was announced – I suppose since he was so well known as the Ranger there was concern about listeners thinking the show would be cancelled?
The story for Thunder Rides the Flood is actually the first chapter in what would be a story line concerning the Ranger’s loyal steed, Silver. The main action revolves around the villainous Breed Conway who leads a renegade group of Native Americans – who it turns out are ravaging the little town of Wild Fern. The Ranger and Tonto arrive just after the attack on the town and set out to join the posse that are seeking Conway and his second in hand, Blackhawk. The first encounter between our heroes and the posse doesn’t go so well but it is a prime example of why the Lone Ranger is kind of awesome as a hero. However I think it is safe to say that Thunder Rides the Flood is also a prime example of Old Time Radio of the day – they obviously do not use Native American but dated and offensive terminology like ‘Injun’. The episode itself is good and the Ranger at least stands on better moral ground by the end of the episode than with the last episode we shared… just thought I should let you know about the terminology beforehand.