Gabriel Toys introduced the Lone Ranger toyline in 1973, creating a vast array of action figures, horses, and playsets based on the successful radio, movie and television character.
The heart of the line was its six-person series of action figures, each 9″ tall with a fully articulated plastic body.
On the side of good, there was the Lone Ranger and his Native American companion, Tonto. Dan Reid was the “Lone Ranger’s long-lost nephew”, and Little Bear was Dan’s Indian blood brother, who had a hawk called Nama.
There were also two villains: Butch Cavendish, the arch-nemesis of the Lone Ranger, and Red Sleeves, an Apache who was the “noble foe” of the Lone Ranger.
Each figure came in a specially designed outfit with accessories like belts and guns.
Instead of the vehicles that usually go along with action figures, Gabriel’s Lone Ranger toy line gave the toy buyer the option of horses.
There were four horse in this series: Silver was the Lone Ranger’s horse, Scout belonged to Tonto, Smoke was the “wild black stallion” ridden by Butch Cavendish, and Banjo was Dan Reid’s Palomino pony. Each horse was articulated and came with a stand for posing purposes.
These horses also came with beautiful and well-crafted accessories like miniature saddles and bridles.
Gabriel released eleven different playsets that were as handsomely designed as the figures and horses. Each playset consisted of a series of miniature accessories included everything from teepees and tents to boots and pickaxes.
Popular examples of these playsets included the Landslide Adventure, Carson City Bank Robbery, Hidden Silver Mine and Tribal Powwow.
Gabriel’s Lone Ranger toys did quite well thanks to their combination of handsome design and reliably popular characters. The company continued to manufacture their initial toys into the mid-1970s, and their stateside success led to a European line of Lone Ranger toys.
These were sold in those countries by the Marx toy company and included everything from the American line, plus new Europe-only toys. For instance, there were new action figures for the characters of El Lobo and Ted Dawson, as well as nine additional playsets.
The enduring success of the Lone Ranger allowed Gabriel to revive the Lone Ranger toy idea twice. The first was a series of figures produced in 1979 called ‘Lone Ranger Rides Again’.
This series introduced new disguises for the masked rider, who could now masquerade as the canoe-paddling “solitary trapper” or “mysterious prospector” (complete with his own burro).
These were followed in 1982 by a series of 3″ figures inspired by the feature film The Legend Of The Lone Ranger.
Today, the classic Gabriel Lone Ranger figures and accessories remain popular with toy collectors thanks to their high quality.