Sunday, September 14, 2014

Clayton Moore 100 -- September 14, 2014

Actor Claytom Moore was born 100 years ago today, on 14-September-1914.  He performed in the circus, served as a model, In the late 1930s, he began appearing in movies.  During World War II, he served in the US Army Air Force, making training films. 

Moore starred in some features at Republic Studios and some serials, including Perils of Nyoka with Kay Aldridge, The Crimson Ghost with Linda Stirling, Adventures of Frank and Jesse James, as Jesse James, with Noell Neill, and Ghost of Zorro.

The Lone Ranger. created by writer Fran Striker, had appeared on radio since 1933 and had been the lead character in two Republic serials in 1938 and 1939.  In 1949, Striker was looking for someone to play the Long Ranger on a television series.  Trendle picked Moore to play the Lone Ranger, allegedly after seeing him in Ghost of Zorro. Moore modeled his voice on the voice of Brace Beemer who had played the role on the radio for several years. 

The series, which also featured Jay Silverheels as Tonto, was a success, but Moore got fired after the second season.  Moore returned for the fourth season and stayed till production stopped. 

New property owner Jack Wrather made two theatrical features with Moore and Silverheels, The Lone Ranger in 1956 and The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold in 1958.

Clayton Moore spent the rest of his life, with a short exception, making personal appearances as the Lone Ranger.  He always tried to behave in a way that would be a good example to young people.  He always wore his mask in public.   

In 1981, Jack Wrather made a movie called The Legend of the Lone Ranger, and sued to prevent Moore from portraying the Lone Ranger.  Moore started wearing sunglasses and countersued, winning the right to appear as the Lone Ranger.  The movie was a bomb, and the negative publicity from picking on a national icon made things worse. 

Clayton Moore died in 1999.

Stan Freberg produced the commercial in the 1960s.

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