The Lone Ranger made his very first ‘public’ appearance way back in 1933 as a radio serial and due to its huge popularity it was later adapted to both TV and movies.
Despite having no major TV, movie or comic book media tie-ins at its time of release Gabriel’s Lone Ranger line of action figures was probably one of the highlights of the late 1970’s and its success was due in no small part to Gabriel’s unfailing dedication to this line providing fans and collectors with a huge range of figures and play sets all produced to excellent standards and superb quality and detail in order to give kids a completely immersive experience.
Unlike the later The Legend of the Lone Ranger line of figures The Lone Ranger Rides Again line, released in 1979, was reminiscent of the 1949-65 TV series.
While researching these I came across several sites that quoted a Hubley/Gabriel series having been released in 1973 but I cannot find any reference to these and so can only assume they are confusing these with the 1979 Hubley/Gabriel/Marx line.
Also many of the eBay auctions are for the 1979 The Lone Ranger Rides Again line, not a 1973/75 Hubley/Gabriel release as many state. If you look closely at the images many have this clearly written on the boxes or blister cards, so as always be careful and check thoroughly before purchasing.
The initial line consisted of five eight-inch figures but the European producers, Marx, released two extra characters, Tex Dawson and El Lobo. As well as these Gabriel also produced a Tonto and Red Sleeves double pack. There was also a variant version of Red Sleeves released with an “arrow firing” action feature.
Most of The Lone Ranger were packaged in both solid boxes and blister packs rather than one or the other but from what I can gather the blister packs were more predominant in Europe whereas the boxed figures were more popular in the US, the only exception to this, as far as I can see, is the Little Bear figure which was only packaged in a box.
· Dan Reid
· Butch Cavendish
· Little Bear with Nama the hawk
· Red Sleeves
· El Lobo (Marx European release)
· Tex Dawson (Marx European release)
Of course, any Western action figure line would be incomplete without horses!
This line had four horses: Silver for the Lone Ranger; Smoke for Butch Cavendish, Skout for Tonto and Banjo for Dan Reid. There were also three horse and rider sets for Tonto, The Lone Ranger and Butch. Some of these also came with a “action saddle” feature and they were available in an unusually large number of various packages rather than standard packaging across the line.
· Lone Ranger & Silver
· Tonto & Scout
· Butch Cavendish & Smoke
But Gabriel didn’t stop there because as well as the figures and horses they also produced a large number of classic Western Adventure sets, play sets and outfit packs giving the figures some great environments and settings for play.
These ranged in size from the enormous Carson City play set to the less extravagant European sets but one thing they all shared was Gabriel’s dedication to producing high quality and standard products. Only one vehicle was produced for the line and that was the Prairie Wagon, but this could be converted into 4 different types of wagon.
· Prairie Wagon 4-in-1 set
· Solitary Trapper With floating canoe
· Carson City
· Mysterious Prospector Includes pack burro
· Tribal Tepee
· The Hidden Rattler
· The Landslide
· The Blizzard
· The Hidden Silver Mine
· The Apache Buffalo Hunt
· The Carson City Bank Robbery
· The Lost Calvary Patrol
· The Hopi Medicine Man
· The Tribal Powwow
· The Missing Mountain Climber
· The Red River Floodwaters
The MIB or MOC figures are well sought after by collectors and often fetch prices of $150-$200 whereas loose figures generally fetch approx. $50. MIB horses sell for about half this price singularly and athe horse and rider sets for around $200. The MIB and MOC adventure packs and sets go for similar prices to the loose figures, usually averaging around $50-$60.
However, as always the market is continuously fluctuating and changing so if you see prices much higher than these, don’t despair, just be patient and bide your time. On the other hand if you see some selling for much lower prices, then grab them if you can!
The Legend of the Lone Ranger line was the second line based on the Lone Ranger released by Gabriel toys. The first line, The Lone Ranger Rides Again, was released in 1979.
These 3 ½ inch figures were based on the movie released in 1981 and despite the movie being a big disappointment Gabriel again managed to create an excellent line of figures.
There were 5 figures and 3 horses released on sinle blister packs and later double packs featuring the horses with their riders. All the figures ha 7 points of articulation: neck, shoulders, hips, and knees.
The backing cards initially featured the Lone Ranger's face on the front top right-hand corner and at the bottom a picture showing him riding off into the distance. These backing cards depicted the other figures and the horses in the set but the later double-packs with the horses and riders featured both this line figures and the Zorro figures, which were released at about the same time.
As well as these figures Gabriel also released a free mail-in Western Town playset which consisted of two two-sided cardboard cutouts sent flat-packed with instructions on how to put it together.
Although this line was not as popular as the original 1979 line in its time it has proved to be popular with collectors and remains in demand, however mint carded figures are difficult to find and hence often have a price tag of $50 up.
Horse and Rder
Many thanks go to the following sites and catalogs which were used for research as well as some of the images:
The Official Guide to Action Figures Second Edition