Do Elephants Jump? (Imponderables Series)

( 1 )


Ponder, if you will ...
Where do you find fascinating explanations for a multitude of mysteries?
Why do pianos have 88 keys?
How does the hole get in the needle of a syringe?
Why is peanut butter sticky?

Pop culture guru David Feldman demystifies these questions and much more in Do Elephants Jump? One of the Imponderables® series -- the ...

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Do Elephants Jump?

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Ponder, if you will ...
Where do you find fascinating explanations for a multitude of mysteries?
Why do pianos have 88 keys?
How does the hole get in the needle of a syringe?
Why is peanut butter sticky?

Pop culture guru David Feldman demystifies these questions and much more in Do Elephants Jump? One of the Imponderables® series -- the unchallenged source of answers to civilization's everyday mysteries -- and charmingly illustrated by Kassie Schwan, this book provides you with small mysteries that puzzle and amaze us.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060539146
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Series: Imponderables Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 187,415
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

David Feldman is the author of ten previous volumes of Imponderables®. He has a master's degree in popular culture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and consults and lectures on the media. He lives in New York City.

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First Chapter

Do Elephants Jump?

WhyWas He Called the Lone Ranger When Tonto Was Always Hanging Around?

The classic western features a lone hero entering a new town and facing a villain who threatens the peacefulness of a dusty burg. The Lone Ranger, on the other hand, came with a rather important backup, Tonto. Leaving aside questions of political correctness or racism, calling the masked man the Lone Ranger is a little like calling Simon and Garfunkel a Paul Simon solo act.

Before we get to the "Lone" part of the equation, our hero actually was a ranger, in fact, a Texas Ranger. The Lone Ranger started as a radio show, first broadcast out of Detroit in 1933, created by George Trendle, and written by Fran Striker. The first episode established that circa 1850, the Lone Ranger was one of six Texas Rangers who were trying to tame the vicious Cavendish Gang. Unfortunately, the bad guys ambushed the Rangers, and all of the Lone Ranger's comrades were killed. The Lone Ranger himself was left for dead. Among the vanquished was the Lone Ranger's older brother, Dan.

So for a few moments, long enough to give him his name, the Lone Ranger really was by himself. He was the lone surviving Ranger, even if he happened to be unconscious at the time. Tonto stumbled upon the fallen hero and, while nursing him back to health, noticed that the Ranger was wearing a necklace that Tonto had given him as a child. Many moons before, the Lone Ranger (who in subsequent retellings of the story we learn was named John Reid) saved Tonto's life! Tonto had bestowed the necklace on his blood brother as a gift.

When Reid regained his bearings, the two vowed to wreak revenge upon the Cavendish Gang and to continue "making the West a decent place to live." Reid and Tonto dug six graves at the ambush site to make everyone believe that Reid had perished with the others, and to hide his identity, the Lone Ranger donned a black mask, made from the vest his brother was wearing at the massacre. Like Jimmy Olsen with Superman, Tonto was the only human privy to the Lone Ranger's secret.

Not that the Lone Ranger didn't solicit help from others. It isn't easy being a Ranger, let alone a lone one, without a horse. As was his wont, Reid stumbled onto good luck. He and Tonto saved a brave stallion from being gored by a buffalo, and nursed him back to health (the first episode of The Lone Ranger featured almost as much medical aid as fighting). Although they released the horse when it regained its health, the stallion followed them and, of course, that horse was Silver, soon to be another faithful companion to L.R.

And would a lonely lone Ranger really have his own, personal munitions supplier? John Reid did. The Lone Ranger and Tonto met a man who the Cavendish Gang tried to frame for the Texas Ranger murders. Sure of his innocence, the Lone Ranger put him in the silver mine that he and his slain brother owned, and turned it into a "silver bullet" factory.

Eventually, during the run of the radio show, which lasted from 1933 to 1954, the duo vanquished the Cavendish Gang, but the Lone Ranger and Tonto knew when they found a good gig. They decided to keep the Lone Ranger's true identity secret, to keep those silver bul-lets flowing, and best of all, to bounce into television in 1949 for a nine-year run on ABC and decades more in syndication.

The Lone Ranger was also featured in movie serials, feature movies, and comic books, and the hero's origins mutated slightly or weren't mentioned at all. But the radio show actually reran the premiere episode periodically, so listeners in the 1930s probably weren't as baffled about why a law enforcer with a faithful companion, a fulltime munitions supplier, and a horse was called "Lone."

Submitted by James Telfer IV of New York, New York.

Do Elephants Jump?. Copyright © by David Feldman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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