Lone Ranger action figures
Synopsis of Toy
Ever since he made his debut as an early 1930’s radio character, the Lone Ranger has loomed large in imaginations young and old all over the world. As he moved on to conquer television, radio and movies, the Lone Ranger character also inspired plenty of toys. The masked man's 1950's TV run brought the customary cowboy accoutrements for boys and girls, but the Lone Ranger's popularity lasted well beyond the 50's, as evidenced by the Gabriel Toy Company's mid-70's action figure line. These collector’s items became a big hit by bringing the familiar hero into the toy world with plenty of style and class.
Gabriel Toys introduced the Lone Ranger toyline in 1973, creating a vast array of action figures, horses and playsets. The heart of the line was its six-person series of action figures, each nine-inches tall with a fully articulated plastic body. On the side of good, there was the Lone Ranger and his Native American companion Tonto. Dan Reid was the Lone Ranger’s long lost nephew, and Little Bear was Dan’s blood brother. There were also two villains: Butch Cavendish, the arch-nemesis of the Lone Ranger, and Red Sleeves, an Apache who was the “noble foe” of the Lone Ranger. Each figure came in a specially designed outfit plus accessories like belts and guns.
Instead of the vehicles that usually go along with action figures, Gabriel’s Lone Ranger toy line gave the toy buyer the option of horses. There were four horse in this series: Silver was the Lone Ranger’s horse, Scout belonged to Tonto, Smoke was the steed for Butch Cavendish, and Banjo was the horse for Dan Reid. Each horse was articulated and came with its stand for posing purposes. These horses also came with beautiful and well-crafted accessories like miniature saddles and bridles.
Once a toy owner had enough Lone Ranger figures and horses, the next logical step was to get some playsets to create a convincing backdrop for the Western-style action. Gabriel stepped up to the plate with eleven different playsets that were as handsomely designed as the figures and horses. Basically, each playset consisted of a series of miniaturized accessories designed to bring a different setting to life and included everything from tee-pees and tents to boots and pickaxes. Popular examples of these playsets included the Landslide Adventure, Carson City Bank Robbery, and Tribal Powwow.
Gabriel’s Lone Ranger toys did quite well thanks to their combination of handsome design and reliably popular characters. The company continued to manufacture their initial toys into the mid-1970’s, and their stateside success led to a European line of Lone Ranger toys. These were sold in those countries by the Marx toy company and included everything from the American line, plus new Europe-only toys. For instance, there were new action figures for the characters of El Lobo and Ted Dawson, as well as nine additional playsets.
The enduring success of the Lone Ranger allowed Gabriel to revive the Lone Ranger toy idea twice. The first was a series of figures produced in 1979 called Lone Ranger Rides Again. These were followed in 1982 by a series of three-inch figures inspired by the feature film The Legend Of The Lone Ranger. In recent years, the Lone Ranger has been reincarnated in toy form as one of the recently reissued Captain Action toys. Today, the classic Gabriel Lone Ranger figures and accessories remain popular with toy collectors thanks to their high quality. Their continued popularity proves that few toys can transport a person back to the Old West like Gabriel’s Lone Ranger toys.
Release History of Toy1973 - The Lone Ranger
1979 - The Lone Ranger Rides Again
1982 - The Legend of the Lone Ranger