One of the earliest Lone Ranger premiums is the Silvercup Bread manual entitled “SECRET SESSION RULES OF THE LONE RANGER SAFETY SCOUT CLUB.” An unusual manual, apparently not sent to ordinary members but only to full-fledged Head Scouts or Club Presidents!
The 1938 King-Trendle Lone Ranger Exploitation folder listed the history of the earliest Safety Club announcements. It opens with …
“PATTERN OF LONE RANGER SAFETY CLUB EXPLOITATION AND SALES TIE-INS AS CONDUCTED BY THE ORIGINAL SPONSOR. OFFERED TO CURRENT USERS AS A GUIDE FOR EXPLOITATION AND SALES TIE-INS.
October 9th – First Safety Club announcement. (Teaser Copy)
October 11th – Second Safety Club announcement. (Teaser Copy)
October 14th – Safety Club announced.
October 23rd – Announcement from Lone Ranger pertaining to great response.
October 23rd – Lone Ranger states badges are being mailed daily – asks Rangers to have patience, etc.
October 30th – First Big Safety Club Meeting.
December 4th – Neighborhood Safety Clubs (local chapters) suggested.
December 11th – Follow-up on Neighborhood Clubs.”
This undated manual had to have been issued around December 4th.
This is arguably the most important Lone Ranger premium! It lists rules and procedures for the establishment of Safety Scout Clubs for the first time!
The seven page manual is held together by 2 tiny staples on the top edge, tablet style. There are 25 rules listed for members to follow & the last page is an enrollment record for the names of club members. The fact that this enrollment record page is here suggests that only one manual was issued for each club.
This was mailed in a plain brown envelope with no return address and an undated postmark of “CHICAGO, ILL.” with a 1.5 cent stamp. The typed mailing address is the name & Chicago address of the Safety Scout Club President, an important fact!
The name of the Club President is known because this manual was found with other Safety Scout premiums & correspondence letters among club members (all girls) dated March 7 (the first Safety Scout meeting of this club), 14th & 21st, 1936. All of these mailers & envelopes were also addressed to the Club President. The letters discuss club activities instructed by the information in the manual as well as additional activities not mentioned in the manual such as a personal secret code, dues (3 cents a week) & membership cards! One letter mentions four club members who called themselves the “Silverette Girls.” The titles & names of the members are listed; President, Treasurer, Secretary & Trustee.
Two of the rules in the manual have important implications.
Rule 8, “Each lodge must elect a Custodian. It is the duty of the Custodian to keep this set of rules and record of Scout names in a safe and secret place … and bring it with him when he attends the Pow-Wows.”
The exact singular wording is important, suggesting there was only one manual issued per club!
Rule 22 is also important because it establishes a connection between the earlier Safety Scout postcard/pledge card (used to order the badge) & this manual, “If a new member has not signed one of the regular Scout Pledge cards … he must be blindfolded and made to kneel in the center of the circle and repeat the Scout pledge after the head scout. When the new member has done this …. the Head Scout places his right hand on the left shoulder of the new member and says, I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU A LONE RANGER SAFETY SCOUT … KEE-MO-SAH-BEE.” Obviously, a member was not supposed to sign the pledge card until he went through this ritual. An hitherto unknown fact! The Safety Scout Pledge card lists 10 Safety Scout promises and is considered a “membership” card. The card found with this manual was signed by the president of the club. (I wonder who swore her in?)
The other rules are very detailed, mysterious & strict! A few more are as follows …
Rule 1, “Lone Ranger Safety Scout Pow-Wows are to be held every Wednesday evening … either before or after the Pow-Wow I hold over the radio.” (The girls cheated here by having their meetings on Saturday.)
Rule 5, “New Head Scouts are elected every three months. No one is allowed to be a Head Scout for more than three times in a row.”
Rule 9, “During the meeting all scouts must sit on the floor in a circle, with legs crossed Indian fashion. The Head Scout always sits so he faces the WEST. Assistant Head Scout sits at his left. Custodian sits at his right side.”
Rule 10, “While the Pow-Wow is being held all scouts must be masked with a handkerchief.”
Rule 11, “No Scout is allowed to speak above a whisper unless the Head Scout says he can.”
Rule 13, “When all Scouts are seated and masked … the Head Scout stands up and raises his hands over his head. When this signal is given all Scouts stand up, raise their hands over their heads and say the Lone Ranger greeting word … which is TA-I … and means hello in Indian language. All Scouts then sit down, with arms folded and the Pow-Wow is open.”
Rule 20, “All Scout Rules and everything that is said during a Pow-Wow must be kept secret.”
(I am taking a huge risk by telling you about this!)
Rule 25, “To close a Pow-Wow the Head Scout stands up with his arms straight out in front of him and his fingers spread apart .. (the ten fingers are a symbol of your ten Scout promises) and says: ARISE SCOUTS. When he says that all Scouts stand up. fold their arms and bow their heads. The Head Scout then says … GO YOUR WAYS, BE TRUE TO YOUR SCOUT PLEDGE. DO ALL YOU CAN TO KEEP THE LONE RANGER ON THE AIR AND BE FAITHFUL TO SILVERCUP; UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN. GOODBY (as printed) AND GOOD LUCK. The Pow-Wow is then closed and masks removed. Your Commander, The Lone Ranger.”
Silvercup was the first regional bread company to sponsor the Lone Ranger radio show. This premium would have only been available to Club Presidents in the upper Midwest. The simplistic graphics of this manual with line drawings of the Lone Ranger & club activities indicate very limited distribution, only one per club! One of the rarest Lone Ranger premiums. Fortunately one survived!
Thanks to the “Silverette” girls for saving the letters which help define this premium for history’s sake!
EPILOGUE: During a recent phone call with fellow collector Eugene Smith, we discussed this premium & letters to the Lone Ranger from listeners that he owns from the General Mills Archives. Eugene reports that about 90% of these letters were from girls! Many of the letters were requests for favors from the Lone Ranger. The “Silverette Girls” club was all girls. Obviously, the Lone Ranger radio show had a strong appeal to girls!
(See my essay on the Radio Premium Exchange Forum: Lone Ranger Military “Sweetheart” pins which targeted girls.)