Producers Plot Borrowed from The Lone Ranger

Today’s blog wanders off-course a bit, but TV’s Tonto was a real-life Mohawk and some Silverheels children attended Carlisle Indian School. Last night my wife and I attended a local summer stock production of The Producers. This brought to mind a Christmas gift from my wife-a set of CDs of old radio shows. While listening to an episode of The Lone Ranger from October 6, 1941, “Loser Takes All,” I heard the villain explain his scheme to his henchman. That scheme was essentially the same one that Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom concocted to defraud little old ladies in Mel Brooks’ classic 1968 film.

Brooks adapted the plot from a gold mine out west to a Broadway play, wealthy eastern investors to sex-starved elderly women, and common criminals to pathetic producers. Instead of having a henchman blow up Nugget Mountain to destroy the unexpectedly profitable mine (which backfires, of course, to reveal a huge vein of gold), Brooks had playwright Franz Liebkind (German for love child and author of Springtime for Hitler) dynamite the theater to stop the unfortunately successful production. The plot’s the same; it’s just details that are changed. Being a G-rated radio show, there were no gay directors, hippie Hitlers or, most unfortunately, no Swedish go-go dancers.

Listen to a short clip of the villain explaining the scheme

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