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Tonto facts for kids

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Lone Ranger and Tonto 1956.jpg
Publication information
First appearance WXYZ radio; Detroit, Michigan, USA; February 25, 1933
Created by George W. Trendle
In-story information
Place of origin Earth (nation: Comanche)
Partnerships The Lone Ranger
Abilities Expert marksman and horseman
Trained hand-to-hand combatant

Tonto is a fictional character; he is the Native American (either Comanche or Potawatomi) companion of the Lone Ranger, a popular American Western character created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. Tonto has appeared in radio and television series and other presentations of the characters' adventures righting wrongs in 19th century western United States.

In Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, "tonto" translates as "a dumb person", "moron", or "fool". In the Italian version the original name is retained, but in the Spanish dubbed version, the character is called "Toro" (Spanish for "bull") or "Ponto". Show creator Trendle grew up in Michigan, and knew members of the local Potawatomi tribe, who told him it meant "wild one" in their language. When he created the Lone Ranger, he gave the moniker to the Ranger's sidekick, apparently unaware of the name's negative connotations.

Tonto made his first appearance on the 11th episode of the radio show, which originated on the Detroit, Michigan, radio station WXYZ. Though he became well known as the Lone Ranger's friend, Tonto was originally created just so the Lone Ranger would have someone with whom to talk. Throughout the radio run (which spanned 21 years), with only a few exceptions, Tonto was played by American actor John Todd.

Chief Thundercloud played the character in the Republic movie serials The Lone Ranger and The Lone Ranger Rides Again. To this point, Tonto had been depicted, on the radio series, as a somewhat elderly sidekick. This serial established the better-remembered image of Tonto as a handsome young tribal warrior in buckskins. The only diversion from this image since then has been in the 2013 film, The Lone Ranger.

Jay Silverheels portrayed the arguably best-remembered version in The Lone Ranger television series. This was the highest-rated television program on the ABC network in the early 1950s and its first true "hit".

Ivan Naranjo, a Blackfoot/Southern Ute actor from Colorado, voiced the character in The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour.

Michael Horse portrayed Tonto in the film The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981).

Johnny Depp's depiction was the most recent portrayal in Disney's 2013 film The Lone Ranger.

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