2007-06-15 / Columnists

The Radio Days At Rockaway Beach… Hi, Yo, Silver Away!

From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

From The Rockaway Museum
Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

The Lone Ranger and the Texas Rangers and the "mystery ranger."
The Lone Ranger and the Texas Rangers and the "mystery ranger." Included at postcard bourses and shows are promotional, advertising, and arcade cards . Many of the latter have photos of movie stars, stage actors and actresses, and old radio personalities. This set of two blue arcade cards are from the late 1930's movie serials of the old faithful Lone Ranger and his Indian sidekick Tonto! Each had fifteen episodes!

Tonto was played by the Native American know as Chief Thunder Cloud, and the Lone Ranger, with the few Texas Rangers, are named as Lee Powel (the Lone Ranger), George Letz, Hal Taliaferro, and Herman Brix. One name has been omitted, as there are five men pictured in the one photograph. Most likely he is Bob Livingston who played the Lone Ranger in a second serial.

I remember that the original radio Lone Ranger, Earle Graser, was killed in an auto crash on Long Island in 1941, and the program's announcer Brace Beamer replaced him. Can any old timer out there in Wave-land fill in the blanks? Are the printed names correct? What name is not included on the card? And your announcer on WXYZ, Detroit was Fred Foy!

Chief Thundercloud as Tonto, 1938.
Chief Thundercloud as Tonto, 1938. The M.B.S. was the Mutual Broadcasting System, which had the arcade cards published. They were placed in vending machines, and when you put a nickel in the slot, all you ever got was potluck! No one knew whose photo was coming out next. If you got a good one that someone else was rabid for, you could squeeze maybe 15 cents out of him but not her! Girls, yuck!

In addition, John Todd, an Irishman, was the first Tonto on the radio from 1933-1945, and Jay Silverheels and Chief Thundercloud were Tonto in the movies. John Hart and Clayton Moore played the Lone Ranger in the motion pictures and television spots, as did the two Native Americans mentioned. A 1981 movie featured Klinton Spilbury as the masked man, and Michael Horse as Tonto, also a Native American.

The old radio shows fine tuned one's imagination which planted pictures in your gray matter- what you thought was going on, what the players looked like. You gathered cereal box tops as well as bread wrappers to send in for that special offer from such shows as The Lone Ranger, The Captain Mystery Show, The Superman Show, and The Tom Mix Show.

There were many more in my old scrapbook that seemed to have all of a sudden disappeared, but my old fashioned memory bank still serves me well in my time of need. I still remembered our old cathedral style radio.

Come with us now to the days of yesteryear, and the thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver…THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN!

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