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The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) Poster

Trivia

At the time of production, Clayton Moore was still making personal appearances as The Lone Ranger. The Wrather Company, owner of The Lone Ranger character, sued the actor to prevent him from wearing the mask, saying an elderly man didn't represent the character the way he should. Moore continued making personal appearances in costume, wearing oversized sunglasses instead of the mask. After the film's extremely poor showing at the box office, Moore was allowed to make appearances as The Lone Ranger, mask and all.
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The filmmakers were disappointed with Klinton Spilsbury's line readings, and wanted an actor with a stronger voice. James Keach dubbed his lines.
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Stuntman Terry Leonard was badly injured during the horse to stagecoach transfer. His leg got caught under a stagecoach wheel.
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Stephen Collins, Nicholas Guest, Bruce Boxleitner and Kurt Russell were considered for the male lead.
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Tom Laughlin's final film.
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When the foreign dignitary is first in President Grant's train car, he is introduced to "Buffalo Bill" Cody, "Wild Bill" Hickok, and Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer, sitting across the booth from Grant. Grant jokingly tells Custer to get up and let the man take his seat, or he will have Custer transferred to Montana. Custer died in eastern Montana, in the Battle of Little Big Horn, also known as Custer's Last Stand.
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Bonita Granville's final film. After her 1930s film career, she married Jack Wrather, producer of The Lone Ranger (1949) and this movie. They were married for 37 years, until Wrather's death in 1984. She also appeared in the earlier The Lone Ranger (1956).
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Reportedly, casting Tonto and the Lone Ranger took eight months. In the end, two unknown actors were cast.
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Klinton Spilsbury's first and (as of 2015) only, acting credit.
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Publicity for the film stated that the Lone Ranger hadn't appeared in a major film for 23 years. The last time was The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958).
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According to media reports, Klinton Spilsbury spent a lot of time drinking, smoking, and brawling off-set during production.
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At the time, director William A. Fraker hadn't directed a movie for eight years. After this movie failed at the box office, Fraker moved to television, but continued to work as a Director of Photography on feature films.
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President Ronald Reagan, who had starred in westerns, was scheduled to attend the film's premiere. Reagan was shot by John Hinckley weeks before the premiere. Reagan sent a video greeting instead.
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According to cast and crew, Klinton Spilsbury demanded script changes because he had trouble delivering his lines. Spilsbury also demanded that the film be shot in sequential order so he could better portray his character's arc.
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Jack Wrather and Bonita Granville bought the rights to the Lone Ranger character and stories in 1978 for a reported $3 million, a record at the time.
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Western sets constructed for the film included an outlaw stronghold, an Indian village, a Pony Express station, and an entire town.
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Jason Robards has portrayed other American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the fictitious President Richard Monkton in Washington: Behind Closed Doors (1977).
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After The Magic of Lassie (1978) brought Lassie back to the big screen, Jack Wrather decided it was time for a remake of "The Lone Ranger".
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The film had the great misfortune of opening opposite Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
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The movie performed so badly at the box office that American investors had to salvage ITC by purchasing its remaining stock, then reorganizing the company as part of the newly-formed Tri-Star Pictures.
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The TV pilot The Lone Ranger: Enter the Lone Ranger (1949) was based on a screenplay by George B. Seitz Jr.. and edited by Fran Striker who was writer and editor for the TV series. Amy Stryker takes over as writer and editor of the newspaper from her uncle in this movie.
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Lew Grade later wrote he thought the problem was the movie took an hour and ten minutes for the Ranger to put on his mask. "The mistake was not dispensing with the legend in ten minutes and getting on with the action much earlier on," he said.
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According to Larry McMurtry, novelist George MacDonald Fraser had written an excellent script for the film, though he is not credited in the finished film.
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Post-production issues pushed the film's release date back six months.
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Although it was customary for previous stars to cameo in a movie where a new actor had taken over their role, Clayton Moore declined to appear in this film due to the legal actions against him.
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Klinton Spilsbury was cast in the hopes that casting an unknown actor would pay off in the way that Christopher Reeve did in Superman (1978).
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William A. Fraker told his crew he wanted the film to evoke the look of Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
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Klinton Spilsbury got into a bar fight during filming.
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At one screening in San Diego, people showed up dressed in Lone Ranger masks and Western costumes. During the movie, when the Lone Ranger vows to avenge his brother and the "William Tell Overture" kicks in, the theater erupted. "Sid Sheinberg, [the president of Universal] who was sitting next to me, looked over to me and said, 'It's previewing better than Jaws,'" says Walter Coblenz.
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Walter Coblenz said of the film's failure: "Looking back, I feel that we were trying to please everyone, from 6 to 60. It was too violent for little kids, and not sophisticated enough for an older audience. Maybe we were too intent on staying true to the Lone Ranger story."
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