As we close out the year of 2012, some might ask what I am most hopeful for in 2013—what I most desire out of the upcoming year—world peace, the resurgence of the American economy, or even the announcement that humans will colonize the moon and begin a manufacturing industry there. No, what I want out of 2013 is far better than all those things, and as was just announced, it looks like I might get it. Hans Zimmer has just been announced as the musical composer for the new Lone Ranger film that is being done by the same people who did the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and I am ESTATIC about all these combinations coming together in this updated western.
I have loved The Lone Ranger my entire life. I used to watch re-runs of the old Republic serials on TV with my grandfather as far back as I can remember. In fact, my grandpa—the one who taught me how to use a bullwhip, shoot a gun, and avoid detection from the law as he was a former moonshine runner–used to play The Lone Ranger theme song on his banjo in the kitchen while my grandmother made friend chicken and chopped potatoes fried in pig fat. The Lone Ranger may have been my very first memory as a child of about one and a half years old. In fact from age 1 to about 5 years old my beliefs of what a man should be was summed up in three heroic characters, Zorro, Popeye the Sailor, and The Lone Ranger. To this very day all three of those characters resonate in my daily life more than any other influence and it was that Lone Ranger theme song played on a banjo by my grandfather that rings in my head almost every minute of every day—and I love it dearly.
The William Tell Overture will always be a treasured bit of music to me because my grandfather pounded it into my subconscious and I will always adore him for it. In the darkest days of my life when things sometimes seemed to be overwhelmingly evil that theme song to the classic Lone Ranger westerns bounced around in my mind to always show me the light. And yes, like the Lone Ranger sometimes the fight against evil means that good men do have to wear a mask, they do have to conceal their identity to hide their loved ones from the harm of their heroic crusades. However, these days, I prefer the methods of Popeye the Sailor. I no longer attempt to hide, I just eat spinach and proclaim, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” If you don’t like it, take a hike.
But the William Tell Overture playing while the Lone Ranger rode his trusted horse Silver to fight against the worst that resides in the hearts of mankind is a theme I have always trusted and I imagine that Hans Zimmer will pay tribute to it in some fashion—if not, he is perfectly capable of inventing something that is even better if that could possibly be imagined. I am quite a fan of Hans Zimmer, so much so that the CD player in our car has been playing the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean and Dark Knight Rises for over a year now every time we get in to drive somewhere.
My new grandson is about three months old and I have been working with him teaching him the art of the bullwhip. He watches me intently but can’t yet grip the handle under his own control. He can only wiggle with enthusiasm at the intense sound it makes. I recognize that like my grandfather did for me, I will have to do the same kind of thing for my own grandson, and I will. The foundations are already set, and it pleases me greatly to think that good old Disney is reinventing The Lone Ranger just in time for my grandson to carry on a tradition that my own grandfather started with me. If I have it my way, he will be wearing a black mask, a white hat and riding around a white horse everywhere he goes within a couple short years. And he will be going with us to see The Lone Ranger even though he will only be 10 months old when it comes out over the summer. If anything, the little boy will at least register some of the images with the stirring Hans Zimmer score that is sure to be magnificent.
So 2013 will be good for me, you can bet on it. I remember like it was yesterday how my grandfather looked in a sweaty white t-shirt in an un-air-conditioned farm-house kitchen plucking away at his banjo the William Tell Overture as my grandmother slaved over a hot stove stirring fried potatoes as evaporated pig grease dripped from the vent hood. The desire to be more than just an average man, the desire to be a good guy fighting the destitute, the corrupt, the very epitome of evil was thrust into my mind with the banjo strings of my grandfather and those old Republic serials of the Lone Ranger and his trusted horse Silver.
I simply can’t wait to see Johnny Depp as Tonto in Monument Valley. The new Lone Ranger film by the makers of Pirates of the Caribbean and distributed by The Walt Disney Company has great promise to be the next great western in a tapestry of tradition that has been vanquished by a modern age more akin to the villains of the classic westerns, than the heroes who rode white horses and hid their identity behind a black mask. It’s a sad commentary that good men must wear a mask, as evil has far too much control, and it will remain so as long as villainy is promoted as merit. That is something the adults who raised me never stood for, and that tradition will be passed on to a new generation. Hans Zimmer’s new musical score will make my job thankfully easier when The Lone Ranger hits theaters this upcoming July 2013.