When people ask me what I collect, I tell them I collect pop culture icons. A while back, I made the decision to pare down my collecting habits to focus on icons rather than everything that I thought was cool–a guy only has so much space and money! My definition of the term “icon” is a pop culture character that has stood the test of time and been successfully revamped and rebooted throughout the years. The icons I collect consist of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Hulk, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, James Bond… and of course, King Kong.
I don’t collect memorabilia for characters like Pee Wee Herman or Mr. T because their popularity will most likely die with them. There are plenty of examples of how a character tied to a single actor slowly fades from popularity, many of whom can be found in the characters seen in the old Western movies. Remember Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, and Tom Mix? Well, a lot of people probably don’t. However, there is one Western cowboy who has managed to stand the test of time and become what I would deem an iconic character still worth collecting, and that would be the Lone Ranger.
Along with his trademark catchphrase and unforgettable theme song, the fact that the Lone Ranger is a “Masked Man” probably helped to keep the Lone Ranger character relevant longer than the rest. The character first appeared in a radio show in 1933, and in 1949, Clayton Moore brought the Lone Ranger to life in the wildly popular television series. Many actors have donned the mask since, and Armie Hammer will hopefully reinvigorate the franchise for the current generation of movie-goers, with his portrayal in the upcoming movie with Johnny Depp.
There is enough Lone Ranger paraphernalia out there to fill a warehouse, and my collection is by no means very large, but I have had a lot of fun finding items to put on my shelves.
Lone Ranger Colorforms set. 1966
Lone Ranger Coloring Book. 1951
Lone Ranger Game. 1938
Lone Ranger Target Game. 1939
Lone Ranger Squirt Gun by Durham. 1974
What pop culture characters do you collect? Any other Lone Ranger fans out there?