Cee Jay e-mailed me a few days ago asking about a pilot titled “The Return of the Lone Ranger,” supposedly produced in 1961 by CBS with Tex Hill starring. Wikipedia mentions the pilot in its article about The Lone Ranger, it has its own Internet Movie Database entry and is mentioned in a variety of Internet sources, including the Lone Ranger Fan Club and the website of Dynamic Forces, a company which published comic books based on the iconic character. But all of these sources use a variation of the following description:
An attempt by CBS to revive the series in 1961, Return of The Lone Ranger, did not get past the pilot stage. The Lone Ranger was played by Tex Hill in the pilot.
Some sources even say the pilot aired. I can find absolutely no other information about this pilot. And it seems odd to me that CBS would even be interested in airing a new television series based on the Lone Ranger. The beloved ABC series starring Clayton Moore (and John Hart) had aired its final first-run episode on June 6th, 1957 but repeats continued to draw viewers in daytime syndication on both ABC and NBC until September 1961. I find it hard to believe that the network would think a new version would succeed.
For the record, here’s a broadcast history of The Lone Ranger, which aired on all three networks before entering national syndication:
Thursdays (Prime Time First Run)
September 15th, 1949 – June 6th, 1957; Repeats Through September 12th, 1957
Fridays (Prime Time Repeats)
June 16th, 1950 – September 8th, 1950
September 22nd, 1957 – September 18th, 1960
September 28th, 1960 – September 20th, 1961
June 13th, 1953 – September 24th, 1960
October 1st, 1960 – September 23rd, 1961
Does anyone have any information on this supposed 1961 pilot starring Tex Hill?