Johnny Depp or Jay Silverheels: Two Tontos Too Many?




Tonto was real.to me even if he were on a fuzzy TV screen.  He was not just a Native American fictional character, dreamt up by writers for radio and television as a companion for the Lone Ranger.

Jay Silverheels as Tonto was bigger than life. Sitting in front of our big television in New Haven, Connecticut waiting for the next episode of The Lone Ranger, my sister and I would not move for the next 30 minutes. I liked the Lone Ranger, but my love was for Tonto.


He was such a good friend to The Lone Ranger--quiet, logical, faithful and very intelligent.  He and his horse, Scout, got his companion out of many dangerous situations.  Tonto was excellent at reading other people who meant them harm and could warn the Lone Ranger. In addition, Tonto was a great scout and could find his way anywhere. There was a lot of hoopla about Tonto from all sides--intellectuals and native Americans.And there still is, but Jay was my perfect Tonto.




Both Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels  as Tonto became influential role models and lived by this creed below created by writers Fran Strker and George W. Trendle:
 I believe...
  • that to have a friend, a man must be one.
  • that all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  • that God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  • in being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
  • that a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  • that 'this government of the people, by the people, and for the people' shall live always.
  • that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  • that sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.that all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
  • in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.


If that weren't enough, The Lone Ranger and Tonto could carry and use their guns, but allowed only to disarm an opponent as painlessly as possible, they could never drink or smoke and had to use perfect grammar.  A tall order! Can Johnny Depp live up to Jay Silverheels' persona? Tonto was perfect, at least I thought so.  He was so handsome, especially when riding his horse.  I had a real crush on Jay that's for sure,  I remember feeling a secret pleasure in my little heart from ages six to eight.  My sister, Diana, loved all cowboy shows, but saved her heart for Route 66s George Maharis.

I would always be faithful to my first love, Jay Siverheels as Tonto.



Johnny Depp will of course play the part of Tonto and I can't wait to see this new movie which is scheduled to be released March 2013.  Here are some pictures of Johnny as Tonto, modeled after a painting of Tonto by a white artist.  I don't think he looks as cute as my Jay. but I will wait until I see him in the movie to decide.



Depp seems perfect for the role of Tonto if the directors let him do his own version of the character. Until then "Git-um up, Scout". !"  Jay will always be my one and only Tonto. Johnny can be my favorite pirate. Meanwhile, "Hi-yo Silver! Away!"


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