The Lone Ranger
Cast: Jack Deeds, Earle Graser and Brace Beemer
When radio listeners heard Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” they knew these words were not far behind: “A fiery horse with the speed of light! A cloud of dust and a hearty ‘Hi-Yo, Silver!’ The Lone Ranger!”
Perhaps radio’s best-remembered drama, The Lone Ranger debuted on WXYZ Detroit in 1933. Writer Fran Striker and program manager James Jewell created the program. WXYZ station owner, George W. Trendle, is also listed as a creator but there is a great deal of controversy as to his actual creative contributions. He was probably listed as a creator only as a legal device because he incorporated the show.
The Lone Ranger was a white knight who, “Armed with a black mask, a tremendous white stallion, silver bullets and his Indian companion, Tonto, led the fight for law and order in the early western United States”.
The show was a huge success for WXYZ and the newly formed Mutual Broadcasting System. Although the show was aimed at a young audience, at least half of the show’s listeners were adults. The program was broadcast 3,268 and spread to over 400 radio stations across the United States.
Radio’s first Lone Ranger, George Steinus (Seaton), left the show early and became a respected film director, with credits including The Miracle on 34th Street .
Several others played the part of the Lone Ranger. These included Jack Deeds, Earle Graser and Brace Beemer.
Jack Deeds was the Ranger for only a few episodes, and is lost to history. He did no other credited work in show business.
Mild-mannered and educated, Earle Graser didn't look the part, but his voice certainly cut it. His "Hi-Yo, Silver! Away" was used throughout the rest of the radio series and on the television series. Tragically, Graser fell asleep behind the wheel after leaving work and was killed.
Brace Beemer was an announcer for the show before playing the part of the Lone Ranger. He took the part of the Lone Ranger in April 1941 after Graser was killed in an automobile accident. Beemer was the voice of the Lone Ranger until the show left the air in 1956.
Best remembered for his oft repeated phrase, "Kemo Sabe”, Tonto did not appear in the first eleven episodes of the program. Tonto made his debut on the program on February 25, 1933 and was played by John Todd the entire run of the show.
The Lone Ranger was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.