Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hi Ho Silver!

I can remember the phrase, Hi Ho Silver!, but I’m lucky if I can remember the name of the actors who were in the films. Though I seem to remember that there was another horse called Tonto. Or was that the Indian’s name? Oh, dear.

Once I could quote you the details of umpteen films, naming the actors, directors and probably several other facts you didn’t need to know. Now I’m lucky if I recognise half the stars I see on screen.

And talking about silver, I can remember the fact that stocks of silver bullion are becoming hard to get, because I’ve had this fact hammered home to me on a number of occasions in relation to one of the writing companies I work for. But don’t ask me some other ‘facts’ I should know. I probably won’t be able to tell you.

I discovered that all this is perfectly normal. I suspected that it was, but I found a new book at the library the other day called Where did I leave my glasses? : the what, when, and why of normal memory loss. It’s by a woman who must now be getting on for seventy (she was a child in the forties) and who’s obviously been a top article writer for generations. Her name is Martha Weinman Lear, (of course I had to check it out on the book’s cover, because I’d forgotten), and she writes with great good humour and plenty of sense. She dispels the myth that most of us are heading for Alzheimer’s, and she includes plenty of sound scientific stuff in a very readable way.

She writes non-fiction the way I’d like to do it: plenty of information, but made so palatable that you just keep on reading. Years of experience probably helps, but for me it’s the sort of thing that’s quite hard. Maybe it is for her too. I don’t suppose she gets up in the morning and composes twenty pages on the trot without recourse to a few moments of thought.

I have written some good pieces in this sort of vein in the past – mainly for the NZ Listener – but I don’t seem to have the opportunities so much now. And many magazines have got deadly serious, so that humorous articles don’t get picked up readily. Just have to keep blogging then, to pay the bills.

Of course I should have checked earlier, but Tonto was the Indian. His horse was called Scout. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the name of his horse: The origin of Tonto's horse, Scout, is less clear. For a long time, Tonto rode a white horse called White Feller. In the episode titled "Four Day Ride," which aired on August 5th, 1938. Tonto is given a paint horse by his friend, Chief Thundercloud, who then takes and cares for White Feller. Tonto rides this horse, and simply refers to him as "Paint Horse," for several episodes. The horse is finally named Scout in the episode "Border Dope Smuggling," which was broadcast on September the 2nd, 1938. In another episode, the lingering question of Tonto's mode of transport was resolved when the pair found a secluded valley and the Lone Ranger, in an urge of conscience, released Silver back to the wild. The episode ends with Silver returning to the Ranger bringing along a companion who becomes Tonto's horse, Scout.
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