Thursday, July 4, 2013

unmasking the original

Return with us now to those thrilling
days of yesteryear!

Clayton Moore played The Lone Ranger on television from 1949-1951 and from 1954-1957. After being tapped for the role Moore trained his voice to sound like the radio voice of the Lone Ranger that had been airing since 1933.  Both Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels (Tonto) rode into television history and the Western crime fighting duo.

Portraying the Lone Ranger made him a superstar to baby-boomers everywhere.  Portraying the Lone Ranger made a lasting effect on the actor.  He often said that he had "fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character" and made an effort to live out his life staying true to the Lone Ranger code of honor and creed.

In 1981, the movie 'The Legend of the Lone Ranger' (1981) was released.  An older Clayton Moore was still making personal appearances as the Lone Ranger.  The Wrather Company, the company that legally owned the Lone Ranger character, forced Moore to remove his mask.  Film producer's Jack Wrather didn't want there to be any association between their new Lone Ranger and the original.   Such a shame.  Clayton Moore complied, but never gave up the saddle.  He put the mask aside and donned a pair of sunglasses as he fought against Wrather in court.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger /The Wrather Company got their just deserts in the end.  The movie bombed big time at the box office.  The good guy won in the end.  Clayton Moore, after the court battle wound down, road once again mask and all. Hi-Ho-Silver...AWAY!

A new Lone Ranger movie has just been released. I haven't seen it yet, but I know that no one will ever recapture the magic of the Lone Ranger and Tonto played by Moore and Silverheels.  Clayton Moore passed away in 1999.  He will always be THE Lone Ranger for us baby-boomers.  Sorry Johnny, but Jay Silverheels will always be Tonto.  The Lone Ranger and Tonto were bigger than life in those days.  Maybe it was because we were so young, or maybe it was because those old actors gave us more than a good show.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, wearing the white hat meant something in those days.  Clayton Moore was a fellow who not only wore the white hat on the film, but wore it in real life to boot.  The same goes for Silverheels, Jay also walked the walk.  There's a definite difference between the role models of yesterday and the role models of today.

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