April 03, 2013 - It appears the Lone Ranger may ride again in Oxford with both an event and parade bearing the fictional masked lawman's moniker.
Last week, the Community Events Committee decided to rename Celebrate Oxford – scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 3 – as either "Celebrate The Lone Ranger" or "Celebrate Lone Ranger."
However, whether the community can legally use one of these two names remains to be seen.
That's because "The Lone Ranger" is a registered trademark held by the New York City-based Classic Media, LLC.
"We strongly caution against using "The Lone Ranger" without obtaining approval from the holder of that trademark," wrote Oxford Village attorneys Bob Bunting and Bob Davis in a March 26 opinion.
Davis is still attempting to contact Classic Media's attorney, who he said "has the authority to waive any trademark issues."
Davis told the village council during its March 26 meeting, "The phrase 'The Lone Ranger' is a highly-protected trademark. Our research shows it's trademarked not only for use of the name, but for putting it on posters, sweatshirts and things like that."
"I can tell you this, as small as we are, if we use their trademark (without permission), they'll come after you," said Councilman Elgin Nichols.
"They will. It's very protected," Davis added.
Meanwhile, the village council spoke favorably of using the Lone Ranger name, if possible, in place of Celebrate Oxford.
"People understand and know what the name 'Lone Ranger' means and what the Lone Ranger character stood for," said village President Tony Albensi. "If it could be incorporated in any way, I wouldn't mind seeing that."
"To me, it makes sense to use (the name), if at all possible," said Nichols, referring to Oxford's historical connection to the Lone Ranger.
Brace Beemer, who was the voice of the masked lawman on the radio from 1941-54, lived right on W. Drahner Rd. until his death in 1965. Beemer performed in more than 2,000 broadcasts reaching more than 80 million listeners across the United States on 129 radio stations.
"He was a good citizen. There are no negatives to it," Nichols said.
"Historically, I would think Mr. Beemer is probably the most notable person to have ever lived in this area," added Oxford resident Rod Charles, who's chairman of the Lone Ranger committee.
Council voted 4-0 to authorize filing an application with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to conduct a Lone Ranger-themed parade along M-24 on Saturday, Aug. 3 beginning at 11 a.m.
The parade would begin at the Oxford Marketplace shopping center and end at Church St. by the fire station.
The name change and parade are both designed to help Oxford take full advantage of all the publicity surrounding the July 3 release of the new $250 million Disney movie, starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, about the Lone Ranger's adventures battling villains in the Old West.
And it's not just Oxford that wants to celebrate this area's connection to this timeless symbol of justice, truth and goodness.
"The Orion people are very, very interested," Charles said. "I get an e-mail everyday from somebody in Orion Township or village government (saying), 'Hey, we want to participate, too.'
"I think that's a great thing and who knows where that might go. It might be an annual festival just like other cities and towns have . . . There might be some longevity to this whole thing that goes beyond this film."
Charles noted how Mount Carmel, Illinois used to hold an annual Lone Ranger Festival to celebrate the fact that it's the birthplace of Brace Beemer.
"That town chose to celebrate Mr. Beemer," he told council. "Logically, (a festival) should be (held in) Oxford, Michigan because this is where he chose to live, but we've never really taken any initiative to do that."
In addition to the parade, the committee that Charles is heading is also working diligently to get some type of event going at the Oxford 7 Theater such as a big Hollywood-style premiere – or a pre-July 3 sneak peek – to celebrate the new movie.
Albensi was appreciative of Charles for his efforts.
"Thank you for your time and hard work on that," he said.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.