May 22, 2013 - In traditional tales of the Old West, the bank's role in the story was always the place that got robbed by gun-slinging outlaws with colorful names like Black Bart.
Well, in this story, the bank is the hero in the white hat.
Last week, Oxford Bank donated $2,500 toward funding the special Hollywood-style sneak preview of the new Lone Ranger movie to be held at the Oxford 7 Theater (48 S. Washington St.) on Tuesday, July 2 at 8 p.m.
"There was a long time we couldn't afford to do things that we would have liked to have done," said James Bess, president and chief executive officer of Oxford Bank. "We're making a little bit of money now, so we've got a little bit of money that we can put back into the community."
To Bess, helping fund this event is the bank's way of thanking the community for its support and letting everyone know the 129-year-old financial institution is still very much a partner in forging this town's future.
"We feel like we're Oxford's bank and Oxford's been loyal to this bank through our trials and tribulations," he explained. "The community is what makes the bank go around and hopefully, the bank helps the community go around. We're trying to be a good citizen."
"Grateful isn't a big enough word to express how I feel about Oxford Bank making this very generous donation," said Jim Sherman, Jr., publisher of the Oxford Leader and the member of the Lone Ranger Committee in charge of the movie event.
"Oxford Bank has been around for 129 years and the Oxford Leader has been around for 115 years. It's great that two longtime, hometown institutions can come together like this to give their community this special gift. I'm proud to have them as my bank and this town's bank. Thank you so much."
Disney's new Lone Ranger movie stars Armie Hammer as the legendary masked lawman and Johnny Depp as Tonto, his Indian companion and crime-fighting partner.
The movie opens nationwide July 3, but Oxford is having a special sneak preview the day before because of the town's historical connection to Brace Beemer, who was the radio voice of the Lone Ranger from 1941-54.
Beemer, who died in 1965, lived in Oxford Township for many years on a 300-acre farm called "Paint Creek Acres," located on W. Drahner Rd.
Beemer brought the masked hero to life in more than 2,000 broadcasts that reached over 80 million listeners across 129 radio stations nationwide. He also made numerous public appearances and visits to schools dressed as the Lone Ranger.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Lone Ranger radio show, which made its debut on WXYZ radio in Detroit on January 30, 1933. A total of 2,956 radio episodes aired.
Oxford's July 2 sneak preview of the Disney movie is limited to 259 seats and tickets will be sold exclusively as part of an on-going fund-raising effort to erect a Lone Ranger statue in town.
Details regarding ticket sales are still being worked out, but will be released soon.
A sponsor is still needed for the remaining $2,500 to help finance the movie event. Anyone interested in donating the rest the money is asked to please call Jim Sherman, Jr. at (248) 628-4801 or Lone Ranger Committee Chairman Rod Charles at (248) 860-2989.
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.