So what does the Green Hornet’s father have to do with the tacky leg lamp Ralphie’s Old Man wins in A Christmas Story? It was his horse that won it for him!
John and Dan Reid were brothers. Younger brother John follows in his elder sibling’s footsteps and becomes a Texas Ranger. During a cowardly ambush by Butch Cavendish and the Hole in the Wall Gang, six Rangers, including John and Dan are killed. Almost. Nursed back to health by Tonto, younger brother John survives and becomes the Lone Ranger.
A few years later, the Lone Ranger meets his 14 year-old and orphaned nephew, also named Dan Reid. With his horse Victor, Dan Jr. occasionally rides with the Lone Ranger and Tonto. At some point before the ambush the Reid brothers staked out a silver mine, the source of the Lone Ranger’s super-accurate and trademark bullets. Upon his father’s passing, Dan Jr. inherited his father’s share of the mine.
Fast forward a number of years and after having moved East to go to school, Dan Jr. uses his fortune to become a publishing magnate and launches the Daily Sentinel newspaper. His son, Britt Reid, a rich and bored playboy, and his personal valet, the mechanically gifted and ass-kicking Kato, eventually become the outlaw crime-fighters the Green Hornet and Kato.
Where does that leave the leg lamp?
In A Christmas Story, Ralphie Parker’s Old Man loves to do the contests in the newspaper. For the puzzle “Name the Great Characters in American Literature” he muses aloud “What is the name of the Lone Ranger’s nephew’s horse?” to which Ralphie’s long-suffering mother replies “Victor.” She didn’t know the ramifications of this simple answer as a few scenes later the dreaded Leg Lamp arrives, a major award, and the prize for her knowledge of trivia.
So the Lone Ranger has a nephew, Dan, with a horse named Victor. The horse wins a Leg Lamp for the Old Man. Dan has a son named Britt. Britt Reid becomes the Green Hornet. Ta-Da! Just think how this useless bit of knowledge probably pushed the cure for cancer out of your head. Well you read it, you can’t unread it.
So with Seth Rogan’s Green Hornet movie opening today, here’s some more useless Green Hornet and Lone Ranger trivia.
- The Lone Ranger and Green Hornet were the creations of Radio Station owner George Trendle (station WXYZ “the last word in radio!”) and writer Fran Striker.
- The Lone Ranger’s theme song “The William Tell Overture” and The Green Hornet’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” were chosen primarily because they were in the public domain so no royalties would be have to be paid.
- The Hornet got his name because of the buzzing sound the Black Beauty’s defective horn made on their first mission. Kato later added the buzzing sound to the Black Beauty’s repertoire as an audio calling card. In his fourth episode he became the “Green” Hornet because of the color mask he wore. Also since Britt controlled the newspaper that wrote about the Hornet he could call himself whatever he liked. Rumor has it that the “Green” was added because the “The Hornet” was too difficult to copyright and trademark.
- The Lone Ranger’s trademark was a Silver Bullet. The Green Hornet left behind a small-stylized hornet sticker. Kinda not as cool a calling card when you can make it at a Kinko’s.
-Kato’s nationality has changed a few times over the years. Originally Japanese he became Filipino shortly before the U.S. entered WWII.
-by Joe Murray
Research for this came primarily from two sources- the long out-of-print Encyclopedia of Superheroes by Jeff Rovin and the very cool and super-comprehensive The Green Hornet A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comics and Television by Martin Grams and Terry Salomonson available at Captain Blue Hen Comics.