Note: this preview is from the previous version of the restoration -- to see a clip from the new one please visit the Squadron Home page!
Projected upgrade completion date: June 1, 2013 THE LONE RANGER(1938) on DVD Featuring Lee Powell, Herman Brix and Victor "Chief Thunder Cloud" Daniels -- Complete, Unsubtitled, and in English
Hallelujah, "Llanero Solo" is no more. The Lone Ranger is excellent. Watched it over 2 days, and enjoyed the heck out of it. -- Felix Lynx
What a hoot! I have to say it's, perhaps, the best serial I've ever seen, and I'm a huge fan of Flash Gordon! And your restoration is topnotch. -- Todd VanSlyke, IL
I recieved my copy of the restored Edition of the original Lone Ranger serial and I loved it . . . one of the best serials I have ever seen. Your crew did a great job piecing together this lost treasure and I highly recommend it to anybody interested in classic cliffhangers. -- Herb Dierking Yes, you read that right, and no, we aren't fooling.
And since there is such high collector and fan interest in this title, we'll skip the usual plot summary and blurb and instead give you a FAQ on what this edition is all about.
Q: Is this the first LONE RANGER serial, the one with the 5 Texas Rangers, including Lee Powell and Herman Brix and Hal Taliaferro, and in which the Lone Ranger's identity is only revealed at the very end? The Republic Pictures version of the Lone Ranger's origin? A: Yes, this is it.
Q: The one that is supposed to have been destroyed after its initial release, and which has been lost ever since? A: Yes, that's it. Republic was apparently under contract to destroy the existing prints of the serial after their license on the character lapsed, and, according to Clayton Moore and others, were burned on the Republic back lot. But some partially altered foreign-language release versions did survive.
Q: You mean like that version with the Spanish subtitles I saw? Is that what this is? A: No, almost none of the picture element for this restoration comes from that print; there are no subtitles in the Squadron edition.
Q: You mean it says "The Lone Ranger" at the beginning, not "El Llanero Solitario?" A: Yes.
Q: Does it have the opening credits in English? A: Yes.
Q: How about recaps, are they also in English and complete? A: Yes.
Q: And "next week" cards and closing credits as in the original also? A: Yes.
Q: You mean you didn't have to use the pasteover technique as you did in THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN to remove subtitles? A: No, it wasn't necessary. The source material for this edition was never subtitled to begin with, so you see the full unsubtitled original frame at all times. No cropping or frame enlargement was employed in the restoration.
Q: So this is a perfect, pristine edition of THE LONE RANGER serial with no flaws? A: Nope. The original serial is still lost and portions of it may be gone forever. What you have here may be the closest approximation possible, however, of what the complete original looked and sounded like. And all together, it's pretty close.
Q: What did you do, go out and shoot the missing parts with new actors as you did with MASKED RIDER? A: No. There's no original picture content missing from this DVD. All the original scenes and shots here are present in their original US release form, or as close as we can tell to what that would have been. There is, however, some variation in picture and sound quality in spots according to what sound and picture elements were used, which was determined by what has survived.
Q: Did you "change" anything, or re-edit anything to suit yourself, or add any additional sound that wasn't on the "original?" A: No. It would be impossible to do that anyway because the serial does not exist in complete original form to begin with to be "changed." So if someone starts up in saying something like that he won't be telling the truth. This project is an assembly of all the best-quality existing sound and picture elements from the original serial with replacement only of elements which are entirely missing today, from the original script where possible, and from clues in foreign prints at points where material in the film differs from the script. Every shot is in the proper original sequence as far as that is possible to know and all original sound is included, with dubbing used only in spots where no original sound exists at all any more. The goal of this project was to assemble the closest thing to the original release possible from what exists, not to rework that material in any way.
Q: OK, how's the picture quality then? A: It ranges from excellent and sharp in the majority of the chapters, even better now in the new restoration than what we’ve released before, to what might be termed decent 1980s Goodtimes Home Video quality, with very few splices, for the more rare scenes. The transfer is stable and basically very clean. Chapter openings, recaps, and closings all look spectacular.
Q: But the picture is complete, tho? And no subtitles? Really? A: Yes, it's complete. And no, no subtitles.
Q: Is it in black and white? A: Yes, standard black and white.
Q. Can I see a sample? A: Yes, click MOVIE THEATER at left to watch a promo trailer on YouTube (note: the stunt sequence in that trailer has not yet been adjusted for contrast so looks a little grey. The titles, you will see, are finished and look pretty damn good). Here are a few small frame-grab samples showing the range of picture quality that's present, which ranges from fair to very good. Because of the lower resolution of part of the original transfer, the smaller a screen this is watched on the better it will look. NOTE: These samples are dated and from the first version of the restoration. We’re currently upgrading it with new footage which will look even better; samples forthcoming.
Q: OK, how about the sound? Is it all there? A: Yes, all but 8 minutes of Chapter 10, which have been accurately re-created by professional actors who have dubbed the missing lines for those scenes (you can see a clip from this section on YouTube). A few additional lines missing due to splices and damage in Chapters 13 and 15 have also been re-created from clues in the original script and/or foreign prints.
Q: What about sound quality? A: It varies from very good to "damaged but restored," meaning hiss is present sometimes, though not to a degree that it damages the viewing experience. Some lines exist only in one poor-condition and difficult-to-restore source element and were included from that original source wherever possible.
Q: Is this a new digital transfer? A: Originally we answered no to this question. But we have now been able to add higher-quality digitally transferred material tp\o upgrade this edition, which looks much better than anything that's ever been circulated or seen before.
Q: This isn't the version of the serial that you put out on VHS years ago, is it? The one with the enlarged and stretched footage that's now sold on the budget Mill Creek DVD release? A: No. That restoration was done by Nolan Kenner from VHS material, not by the Squadron, is very dated now, and it has nothing to do with this edition which was prepared by Eric Stedman from different elements and basically from scratch.
Q: Is it better than the Mill Creek DVD release? A: Yes, a great deal better in both sound and picture quality, as well as content.
Q: Is this just some kind of repackaging of HI YO SILVER? A: Not at all. HI YO SILVER is a heavily edited feature version of the original serial with linking segments and at least one scene that weren't included in the original serial release, and is not much more than an hour long. It is also edited differently than the serial and includes different scoring in most scenes. This is the original edit of the original serial, with the original serial's picture and sound element combination, and original music, which runs almost 5 hours and all 15 chapters worth of content are present and accounted for.
Q: How were you able to create this? Where did this come from? A: That's for us to know and you to reap the benefits of.
Q: You mean if I order this I will really get the original LONE RANGER serial in watchable condition, with all the shots full frame, all the dialogue in English, no subtitles, no pasteovers, no re-created footage, all the cliffhanger endings and recaps intact? I'll really have THE LONE RANGER serial on DVD? A: Yes, with minor qualifications. Some bits and pieces of sound a second or so long just don't exist and so sometimes brief silences or a repeat of a second of music will appear on the soundtrack. As mentioned before, sometimes a little hiss is present, and though sometimes it looks great the picture element will sometime have a soft focus to it and is not always full digital transfer quality. It is, however, not scratchy or splicy, and most of the time has good contrast. The picture content is essentially complete. With the exception of the 8-minute dubbed section, the original audio content is complete also and if you just sat down to watch the serial without the intention to pick it apart technically with a fine tooth comb, it will be very enjoyable. This isn't perfect, but what is here is far and above the overall quality and presentation of any version of this serial that has ever been seen before, anywhere, and is now being upgraded, and so should please pretty much anyone who has any desire to be pleased in the first place!
Q: Hey, I'm a longtime collector that considers everything that isn't a "pristine mint condition original" junk. Should I order this? A: No, because this serial is for watching, not sealing in mylar. But if you can get your head out of the stratosphere, though, and back enough into reality to realize that the original version of this serial was BURNED and DOESN'T EXIST and look at this work for what it is, not what it isn't, and are more interested in having fun watching a great serial you thought you might never see than simply going about "owning" things, you should be delighted with it.
Q: How long did it take to do this restoration? Is it complete now? A: About 400 hours of restoration work has been put into the project. And more are now being put into the upgrade.
Q: When are you going to ship it? A: The original restoration shipped Nov. 16, 2009. The upgrade is scheduled to ship June 1, 2013.
Q: Are there going to be any extras on the DVD? A: A small still gallery with pictures of material directly related to the Republic release, but that's all. The goal of this edition was to produce a clean, accurate, complete edition of the serial as possible, since as yet no such thing exists, and that's all, not to try and dress it up with bells and whistles to make it seem like it's more than it is. This is just a good solid complete collector's copy of the serial that we put a lot of work into making watchable again, and that's all it's supposed to be.
Q: So if I order this, I'll really have the whole original LONE RANGER serial in watchable form at last? A: Yes. Not absolutely perfect, a little rough in spots, and in some shots in lower resolution than we might like, but certainly decent in quality and sometimes excellent, and most important, with content that is COMPLETE and almost all ORIGINAL or if not, exactly like what the original looked like to the point where you can't tell restoration was performed. When you receive this you'll have your own copy of one of the greatest serials of all time which can still be enjoyed by young and old, and we heartily encourage you to get a copy to watch with your grandkids over the holidays.
Q: I own a magazine which reviews DVDs. Can I request a review copy? A: Yes, contact Eric Stedman and he will send you one.
Q: Is this really the original LONE RANGER complete on DVD and in English? Really? A: That's right, it really is.
Q: And I can have a copy? A: Unless you're a dealer in or promoter of unlicensed DVDs (in which case you ought to clean up your act), yes you can. Hi Yo Silver, Away!
More Customer reviews of THE LONE RANGER:
I received my LONE RANGER serial today; I have thus far viewed the first 3 chapters. All I can say to this is WOW! It is exactly as you promised it----flawed in places, but definitely intact, and very viewable . . . your efforts in restoring this serial for us fans deserve a standing ovation. BTW, you may be interested in knowing I viewed these 3 chapters on my computer 22 inch HDMI monitor---and I still found them extremely viewable. You cannot help what wasn't there but thank God I now have this complete edition. Once word gets out, you should sell plenty of this set. Great job, Eric. I doubt anyone else could have done any better. . . I hope all you guys will get a chance to see a remarkable adventure and I do mean SEE IT as complete now as it can possibly be. -- Dr. Tobor
it is exactly as Doc wrote. I did watch it on a large screen TV, and it still looked good. While it isn't close to being like a studio release print, it is miles ahead of what we have seen before. -- Pa Stark
Received my copy today and am VERY pleased, a great improvement over what we've had for so many years . . . It's so good that I can now see which actor is playing the Lone Ranger, as well as Yak's saggy rear end. What fun. -- Kane Richmond
HI folks~ Thanks very much Doc!!!! I've only watched 4 chapters so far, and I have not experienced any disappointment at all seeing it on a 36" TV . . . Great fun. I felt like I was 10 years old again. Thanks again for a job well done. I'm going to take my time with this one and savor every moment. -- WillieJG
WOW ! ! What a difference ! I can finally see clearly what's going on. I just finished watching the first three chapters, because I had to control myself. Although I watched it on my 52" HD TV, I was not disappointed with the quality, and noticed there was not any annoying artifacts or distractions to really complain about. Considering this is made up of pieces of the only existing elements, it is AWESOME ! Doc, you once again outdid yourself. On behalf of all serialdom, Thank you for your efforts on this exciting serial, and keep up the good work. -- The Lightning
Dr. Grood has once again delivered the goods. Looks great. Many thanks! --ADCHIMP
Very nice job -- Chuck Anderson, B-Westerns.com
LIST PRICE $29.95 -- SPECIAL SALE PRICE: SAVE $5 TILL JUNE 1, 2013
THE LONE RANGER Upgrade (Disks Only)
If you have already ordered the LONE RANGER DVD Set from the Squadron and have the case, you can order the UPGRADE DISKS ONLY. Scheduled shipping date is June 3, 2013.
THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN
THE LOST REPUBLIC SERIAL NOW AVAILABLE COMPLETE AND VIEWABLE WITHOUT SUBTITLES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1939!
"Thought you'd like to know that "The Lone Ranger Rides Again" arrived and is excellent. Thanks for restoring a lost treasure. You are going to make an old man very happy." -- Customer Bob Johnston "The Lone Ranger Rides Again [is] a triumph!!" --John Brooker, Wranglers Roost, the UK western film magazine "I just wanted to let you know "The Lone Ranger Rides Again" arrived in the mail yesterday. Even though the serial itself can't be compared with the first one, the Serial Squadron restoration is top-notch. I thought it was a great job." -- Customer Craig Thomas
"Impressive restoration, Very pleased with quality. Super fast shipping; A+" "Good and fast service. Item was every thing that it was advertised to be." -- eBay customer reviews
"Thank you for the great job on the LONE RANGER DVD. I enjoyed it so much." -- customer Emmit Austin
"Howdy...I recently bought a copy of this serial from you, and I just had to write because I really wanted you to know what absolute, unmitigated JOY the thing has given me. What a thrill to see this rarity...I've longed to for years, but have only been able to find plainly unwatchable copies. THANK YOU for doing it right! I'm off to buy some more right now. Cheers" -- customer Patbuttram
THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN RESTORED EDITION REPUBLIC 1939 15 Chapters
Directed by William Witney, John English Music by William Lava Robert Livingston as The Lone Ranger Billy Bletcher as the voice of the Lone Ranger Chief Thunder Cloud as Tonto Duncan Renaldo as Juan Vasquez
Additional Cast: Ralph Dunn as Bart Dolan, J. Farrell MacDonald as Craig Dolan, Jinx Falken as Sue, William Gould as Jed Scott, Rex Lease as Evans, Ted Mapes as Meritt, Henry Otho as Pa Daniels, John Beach as Hardin, Glenn Strange as Thorne, Stanley Blystone as Murdock, Edwin ParKer as Hank, Al Taylor as Colt, Carleton Young as Logan, Ernie Adams as Grover, Eddie Dean as Cooper, Forrest Taylor as judge, Silver Chief as Silver
After linking up with a wagon train, the Lone Ranger finds himself in the middle of a cattlemen/nesters struggle. Assumed incorrectly to be the bully boys of all the ranchers, but secretly under the command of Bart Dolan, a rancher's nephew, are the Black Raiders. False accusations, kidnaping, fake kidnaping, attempted lynching, ballot box theft, and the like abound till the closing episodes, which find the settlers gathered inside a fortress for a final showdown. In this serial the Lone Ranger has a second partner in Juan Valdez, who at first wrongly believes the Lone Ranger to have murdered his brother, then fights beside the Masked Rider of the Plains. Unusually, the Lone Ranger appears frequently without a mask in this story, using the alias Bill Andrews. This DVD is a new and thorough reconstruction of the serial with: -- Restored chapter openings and beginnings in English -- Reconstructed cliffhanger endings -- Reconstructed chapter recaps -- Reconstructed chapter opening sequences -- Restored picture, including removal of ALL Spanish subtitles -- Noise-reduced sound.
The digital transfer was created from the only known source print. This is the highest quality presentation of the existing film material and its first digital transfer and contrary to previous overly conservative reports, we now will be able to present this serial on DVD fully restored and ENTIRELY WITHOUT SUBTITLES.
In addition to the complete 15 chapter serial the DVD also contains the rare Lone Ranger home movie cartoon and 30 minutes of on-camera commentary by serial authors Len Kohl and Richard Hurst and Squadron members Zorro, HiYo Silver, Durango Kid, Brick Bradford, Barcroft, Dr. Satan, Daredevil, Ace Drummond, Red Racer, Dr. Grood and Pa Stark ( filmed at SerialFest 2007)!
DVD Contents Chapter 1: The Lone Ranger Returns Chapter 2: Masked Victory Chapter 3: The Black Raiders Strike Chapter 4: The Cavern of Doom Chapter 5: Agents of Deceit Chapter 6: The Trap Chapter 7: Lone Ranger at Bay Chapter 8: Ambush Chapter 9: Wheels of Doom Chapter 10: The Dangerous Captive Chapter 11: Death Below Chapter 12: Blazing Peril Chapter 13: Exposed Chapter 14: Besieged Chapter 15: Frontier Justice Lone Ranger Cartoon Still/Memorabilia Gallery/Serial Author & Fan Commentary The restoration is now complete & DVDs are shipping now.
Plot summary by R W Stedman SAMPLE FRAMES FROM THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN DVD This DVD has been painstakingly restored from the only existing master of THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN, which was fully subtitled in Spanish. Chapter openings, title cards, recaps, cliffhangers, and end titles have been fully restored or re-created for this edition. Subtitles have been removed using a technique which borrows visual information from existing unsubtitled film frames so some artifacts and letterboxing are sometimes present in repaired sequences (and sometimes they are completely invisible!).
Subtitles removed from the bottom fifth of this frame by pasting over image information from succeeding frames. Sometimes the blend is perfect and completely invisible, sometimes it is slightly noticeable (note the slightly dark line above at the level of the actor's shoulder)
A frame before subtitle removal
The same frame successfully (and invisibly) restored with the pasteover technique.
The Lone Ranger rides again!
Another pasteover (at the level of just above the Ranger's elbow)
Some brief shots which originally included 3-line subtitles are sometimes presented slightly letterboxed. This technique is used very rarely, in perhaps 1% of subtitled scenes.
This restoration is designed to resemble the original theatrical release of THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN as much as possible using elements which still exist.
"Thank you for the great job on the LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN DVD. I enjoyed it so much." -- Customer Emmit Austin