April 10, 2013 - How appropriate that Oxford – home of the radio Lone Ranger – will be able to view Disney's new movie about the masked lawman's adventures a day before the rest of the country.
It's been confirmed that a special sneak preview will happen at the Oxford 7 Theater (48 S. Washington St.) on Tuesday, July 2 at 8 p.m.
The film is set to open in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, July 3.
The Oxford 7 is planning to show the sneak preview in two of its auditoriums, meaning a total of 259 lucky folks will get to see the Lone Ranger ride again before everyone else, according to Kelly Nash, marketing director for Goodrich Quality Theaters, owner of the Oxford facility.
When he heard the news, Oxford resident Rod Charles, chairman of the local Lone Ranger committee, said, "I was jumping higher than a Michigan basketball (player)."
"This is exciting stuff," he said. "I think it's pretty cool we get it a day ahead of time."
Disney reportedly spent $250 million on this summer blockbuster starring Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger (a.k.a. John Reid) and Johnny Depp as Tonto, the lawman's faithful Indian partner.
Charles credited Jim Sherman, Jr., publisher of The Oxford Leader, with making this sneak preview a reality by lobbying Goodrich Quality Theaters to get approval from Disney. "I think he's the one that really moved the Earth here," he said.
Charles noted state Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford) and Orion Twp. Treasurer Mark Thurber also made calls. "They deserve some at-a-boys as well," he said.
Oxford's historical connection to the Lone Ranger is well established.
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. He performed in more than 2,000 broadcasts reaching more than 80 million listeners across the United States on 129 radio stations. Beemer also made numerous public appearances dressed as the legendary hero.
Charles noted there are folks working to secure a donation to purchase all 259 tickets for the sneak preview, then sell them as a fund-raiser to help pay for a Lone Ranger statue for the town.
"That would be a huge win-win opportunity," Charles said.
Many years ago, there was an effort to get a statue erected to celebrate Beemer and the legendary character he portrayed, but enough funds were never raised to make it happen. A bank account still exists with $5,000 earmarked for a statue.
Charles was hoping to secure all 686 seats at the Oxford 7 for a theater-wide screening, but unfortunately, that can't happen due to contractual issues.
"We're still obligated to play the other films (showing at the theater)," Nash explained. "We could drop a couple movies to play this special show, but we couldn't drop everything."
This sneak preview isn't the only way Oxford's planning to celebrate renewed interested in the masked lawman.
The community will host 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.
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.