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Celebrating independence with America's hero



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Dressed in his best Western duds, Romeo resident Dale Lopus provided the crowd with some background on the Lone Ranger character and Brace Beemer. (click for larger version)
July 10, 2013 - The sound of thundering hoofbeats and a hearty "Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!" filled downtown Oxford July 4 as folks gathered in Centennial Park to relive the Golden Age of Radio with its most famous character, The Lone Ranger.

It was an opportunity to once again hear Brace Beemer, who lived in Oxford on W. Drahner Rd. from 1942-65, bring the Lone Ranger to life. The crowd listened to the Jan. 30, 1953 radio episode, "The Return of Butch Cavendish."

Beemer lent his booming, manly voice to the masked man in more than 2,000 episodes from 1941-54.

He wasn't the character's first voice, but he was certainly the most famous voice.

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Originating from WXYZ in Detroit, "The Lone Ranger" reached more than 80 million listeners three times a week across 129 radio stations from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of "The Lone Ranger" radio program, which debuted Jan. 30, 1933. The episode replayed in Centennial Park celebrated the show's 20th anniversary.

Prior to the show, Romeo resident and Lone Ranger enthusiast Dale Lopus gave the crowd some historical background on the Lone Ranger and Beemer.

Lopus said when the masked lawman hit the airwaves, America was in the throes of the Great Depression and "needed a hero" to "lift us out of a time of despair."

The Lone Ranger filled that void as a role model who protected the innocent and championed truth, justice and decency.

"The Lone Ranger would never kill (an enemy) in the history of the (radio) broadcast and the telecast," he said. "He may have wounded some, but he used other means of persuasion to apprehend the guilty."

Lopus owns about 1,000 pieces of vintage Lone Ranger memorabilia. Three showcases worth of his items are on display at the Northeast Oakland Historical Museum in downtown Oxford.

He's pleased to see the masked hero return to the public eye with Disney's new film, "The Lone Ranger," starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp.

"My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed that movie," Lopus said. "I can't wait to see it again. I think it's got some Academy Award potential."

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.
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