Short History Of The Lone Ranger Radio Program

This is an overview of the old time radio program The Lone Ranger. Discusses the characters and impact of the show on popular culture.

On January 31, 1933 the first broadcast of the greatest radio western began. It originated from station WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan and ran until August 31, 1955. The program was broadcast 3268 times over that time span and spread to over 400 radio stations across the United States.

Armed with a black mask, a tremendous white stallion, silver bullets and his Indian companion, Tonto, the Lone Ranger brought justice to the old West for over 20 years. These images have become ingrained into American culture. The Lone Ranger's farewell of "Hi-ho Silver, away!" is still a well-recognized part of American popular culture. The Lone Ranger spun off into television, movies and merchandising throughout the 1930's to the 1950's.

Writer Fran Striker and program manager James Jewell created the program. The station owner, George W. Trendle is also listed as a creator but probably only as a legal device because he incorporated the show.



The first broadcast featured George Seaton as the Lone Ranger and John Todd as Sheriff Curry. The Lone Ranger's Indian companion, 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. Tonto is best remembered for his oft repeated phrase "Kemo Sabe," which is supposed to mean "Faithful Friend."

The Lone Ranger's nephew, Dan Reid, also was included in the show later on in its programming. James Lipton played the part of the nephew.

Several others played the part of the Lone Ranger. These included Jack Deeds, Earle Graser and Brace Beemer. 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 Earl Graser was killed in an automobile accident. Brace Beemer was the voice of the Lone Ranger from then on.

The fictional history of the Lone Ranger is that his real name was John Reid, born in 1850. He was part of a group of Texas Rangers that was ambushed by a band of outlaws. All the Texas Rangers were killed in the ambush except John Reid. John's older brother, Daniel, was one of the Rangers killed. John Reid made a black mask from the vest of his dead brother and from then on became the Lone Ranger, roving the West fighting crime and injustice.

No other old time radio western has influenced American culture like the Lone Ranger. From the first broadcast in 1933, to the first movie serial in 1938, to the television program in 1949 the Lone Ranger has been a part of the myths created about the Western United States. The Lone Ranger has created a great part of the mystique of the Wild West with his pursuit of justice on his white horse, Silver and his trademark silver bullets. The Lone Ranger began as a humble radio show and has become a legend of American popular culture.

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