Lone Ranger Rides Again

LiveAuctionTalk.com:  by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Brian Lebel.

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.  Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth,” Oscar Wilde. 

That in a nutshell was The Lone Ranger.  The 1950s western TV superhero wore his black mask in every public appearance up until 1979.  And once Clayton Moore won the role of the western superhero he never wanted to play any other character.  He liked being the good guy. 

He had a simple moral code:  all things change but truth and truth alone lives on forever. 
— The Lone Ranger

Before the popular TV show, Clayton worked as a model, trapeze artist, and stunt man.  His climb to the top as one of television’s early “good” guys was conscious and constant just like the character he played in 169 episodes of the show which premiered in 1949. 

Granted the program was a pumped up rendering of the Wild West, but for a kid growing up in the 50’s--this guy ruled.

His was a simple world where simple values ruled.  The white hat, the white horse, it all made perfect sense.   

The problems of The Lone Ranger’s day could be solved in 30 minutes and kids like me walked away thinking the good guys always won-- just like in real life.

His show was one of the first series made exclusively for TV.  It was a TV version of the original radio show.  Then there was Tonto, his loyal sidekick and Silver his legendary horse.

My brother and I had a life-size cardboard effigy of The Lone Ranger atop Silver hanging on the wall in our attic.  It was pure grace and we were up there day-after-day paying homage to “the man.”  He had a huge impact on now retirement-age baby boomers like me.

Being a role model was a responsibility his daughter Dawn says he took seriously.   Thirteen years after his death she still receives her dad’s fan mail, mostly from police officers, firefighters and teachers. 

“These were the young viewers who decided to become protectors in some capacity because of my father’s role on television,” she said.  He touched a chord. 

The Lone Ranger never appeared without his mask or disguise.  He never smoked or drank.  He never shot to kill, only shot to disarm the bad guys and the bad guys were never from minority groups.   He always used perfect grammar and usually dressed like he just removed his Western wear from the cleaner bag.  Come on.  How much perfection do you want in one superhero?

The Lone Ranger had a simple moral code:  all things change but truth and truth alone lives on forever.  Sounds pretty cool, even today.

Clayton was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987.  He died on Dec. 28, 1999 of a heart attack, at age 85.

On June 22, Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction took place in Denver, Colorado.  Items from the estate of Clayton Moore went on the block.

“He always said that when he was gone I should keep whatever pieces have particular meaning to me, with the rest to be enjoyed by whoever else would appreciate them,” his daughter said.

The Lone Ranger

Promotional Lone Ranger Toy Bullet; together with a signed photo of Clayton with Richard Nixon; $2,300.

Memorabilia; framed gold 45 record; framed record of William Tell Overture ; poster art; signed books; and comic books; (7) 45 RPM signed records;  $2,300.

White Stetson Hat; worn by Clayton as the Lone Ranger;  $8,260.

Nudie suit, boots and necktie; worn by Clayton as The Lone Ranger;  $32,450.

Edward Bohlin Buscadero Lone Ranger Double-Holster Gun Rig; used by Clayton in frequent personal appearances from 1987 until his death in 1999;  $32,450.    


Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her LiveAuctionTalk.com website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

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