As a lifelong fan of the Lone Ranger, this page will hopefully allow me to share some memories of the legendary fictional hero and
the actor who continued to immortilize the western hero to all.
Created in 1933, The Lone Ranger, with his Indian companion Tonto, rode through the West bringing law and order during the golden age of radio and in 1949 also television. The masked rider hid his identity because he was the lone survivor of a group of Texas Rangers ambushed by the Cavendish Gang; Tonto had nursed him back to health and joined him in his crusade to bring law and order to the wild west.
The television show, starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, was one of ABC’s biggest hits in the early ’50s, when the network was being outpaced by CBS and NBC. Clayton was chosen to play the part, pretty much due to his masked performance in "The Ghost of Zorro" that caught the eye of Lone Ranger owner, George Trendle. He was chosen over the radio Lone Ranger at the time, Brace Beemer, who also vied for the part. Brace was an accomplished horseman, very familiar with the six shooter, owning a matched pair of pearl gripped colt 45's, had a commanding physical presence due to his 6'3" height, and his voice was known to all from the radio show. He was slightly overweight and dieted intensely but couldn't match the visual image George Trendle desired. Clayton, on the other hand, was old hat to film, also familiar with the six shooter and horses from his many previous western roles and had great physical presence due to his atheletic abilities. Moore did have to work on his voice to try and match Beemer's. The Fans immortalized the show’s most famous elements: the opening theme from “The William Tell Overture”; the wondrous horse, Silver, described by the show’s announcer as “a fiery horse with the speed of light and thundering hooves”; Tonto’s name for the Ranger, “Kemo-sabe” (interestingly, the ranger referred to Tonto in the radio series as Kemo-sabe); the silver bullets; the Ranger’s vow of refusing to shoot to kill and never removing his mask (unless in disguise).
The courts made Clayton remove the mask, when the Wrather Corporation, planning a new movie production of “The Lone Ranger” got a court order against Moore’s use of the character in 1979. The move brought Moore a massive outpouring of sympathetic fan support. The film “The Legend of the Lone Ranger,” starring Klinton Spilsbury, came out in 1981 and flopped (many believe due to the sympathy for the injustice to Clayton) . In 1984, the courts lifted the restraining order at the request of Jack Wrather, who was terminally ill and the owner of the rights to the "Lone Ranger".
Clayton was for the most part, fully retired in recent years, living at his home in
Calabasas, with his current wife, Clarita. At this time Clayton finally was able to finish his autobiography titled 'I Was That Masked Man' and have it published in 1996. He and his late wife, former actress Sally Allen, had one adopted daughter, Dawn, married to Micheal Gerrity.
“I’ll wear the white hat the rest of my life,” Moore said in 1985. “The Lone Ranger
is a great character, a great American. Playing him made me a better person.....Until the day
I am taken to that big ranch in the sky, I will continue to wear the mask proudly and try to
live up to the standards of honesty, decency, respect, and patriotism that have defined the Lone Ranger since 1933....I was that masked man” . . And you always will be Mr. Moore...God rest your