Concept

Tonto

Summary
Tonto is a fictional character; he is the Native American (either Tonto Apache or Comanche or Potawatomi) companion of the Lone Ranger, a popular American Western character created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. Tonto has appeared in radio and television series and other presentations of the characters' adventures righting wrongs in 19th-century western United States. Tonto made his first appearance on the 11th episode of the radio show, which originated on the Detroit, Michigan, radio station WXYZ. Though he became well known as the Lone Ranger's friend, Tonto was originally created just so the Lone Ranger would have someone to talk to. Throughout the radio run (which spanned 21 years), with only a few exceptions, Tonto was played by American actor John Todd. Chief Thundercloud played the character in the Republic movie serials The Lone Ranger and The Lone Ranger Rides Again. To this point, Tonto had been depicted, on the radio series, as a somewhat elderly sidekick. This serial established the better-remembered image of Tonto as a handsome young tribal warrior in buckskins. The only diversion from this image since then has been Johnny Depp's depiction in Disney's 2013 film, The Lone Ranger, its most recent portrayal. Jay Silverheels portrayed the arguably best-remembered version in The Lone Ranger television series. This was the highest-rated television program on the ABC network in the early 1950s and its first true "hit". Ivan Naranjo, a Blackfoot/Southern Ute actor from Colorado, voiced the character in The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour. Michael Horse portrayed Tonto in the film The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981). Tonto made his first appearance on the 11th episode of the radio show The Lone Ranger. Two conflicting origin stories have been given for the character Tonto and how he came to work with the Lone Ranger. As originally presented, in the December 7, 1938, radio broadcast, Reid had already been well established as the Lone Ranger when he met Tonto.
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