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Beemer's last interview: Part III



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August 14, 2013 - Editor's Note: This week we are proud to run the third and final installment of the very last media interview that Brace Beemer, who played the radio Lone Ranger from 1941-54, ever did. It was with the Oxford Leader and it was published on March 4, 1965 – three days after his death. Beemer lived in Oxford for 23 years on W. Drahner Rd.

At present (the Beemers) have about eleven horses and four of these will have a chance to show their substance at the track this year.

Brace carefully supervises the breeding and feeding and care of the horses. His son, J.D., who is probably remembered by TV watchers as Justice Colt, has assumed the job of training from the time the babies are 2 year olds until they are ready to race, and then races them. J.D. will stay with the horses down at the track to oversee the training schedule he has set up.

PEOPLE LIKE HIM

Possibly Brace's ability with horses is somewhat like his ability to be himself with people. A particular experience .he had with a lady is a good example. He was on the road performing before crowds of people. There was the usual amount of curiosity seekers, hand shaking and press interviews. In this certain town there was an unusual lady editor of a newspaper.

Brace had been forewarned by his managers that she was worthy of his every consideration She only granted fifteen minute interviews to the most outstanding celebrities. If she would write 10 lines of print in her column about Brace, then he could be sure that he had arrived. Nobody received more than 10 lines.

There were other things that he was told to remember. First on the list was that she apparently didn't approve of smoking. Not to smoke in front of her was going to be difficult for Brace, he professes to be a chain smoker: She did-not drink coffee and if she offered him tea, Brace was to drink it just as she did. If it was with a twist of lemon, then that is the way he too should have it.

Punctuality was her trade mark. If you were to have an interview with her at ten o'clock there was no reason to arrive ten minutes early. She wouldn't see you. You were out of luck if you should arrive five minutes after ten, she wouldn't see you then either. Promptly at ten, she would open her office door and if you were there, you would then be admitted into her office for a fifteen minute interview if you were lucky.

Brace's interview was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. He arrived early and waited for the door to open. His managers went with him and when the door opened promptly at ten, they were all admitted.

He describes the lady as a very prim and proper sort of person. She wore a dress with a high collar that had stays in it: The sleeves of the dress had puffy cuffs and there was the same sort of puffy stuff around the shoulders where the sleeves were attached.

No sooner had everyone sat down than, to Brace's manager's shock he said, "Ma'm, I just have to have a cigarette. If you wouldn't mind, may I smoke?" She quickly ordered an ashtray. Asking if he cared for some tea, he replied, "I am a coffee drinker and if I may have some coffee, I'd prefer it." She buzzed her secretary and coffee w a s promptly served to him.

The interview lasted for 2 hours and resulted in her devoting 2 columns the next two days talking about Brace Beemer, the Lone Ranger, in her personal column. What better testimonial to the value of being oneself.

GUNS ARE IMPORTANT

Among some of the most treasured mementos which Brace has received is a matched pair of pearl handled 45-cal. Peace Maker pistols. They were sent to him by the past president of Colt Arms. This was an interesting sequence of events.

The Lone Ranger and Brace Beemer have always received great quantities of fan mail. Thousands of pieces a day asking questions, giving compliments, begging for autographs and pictures. Usually there was a staff which sorted through the mail and picked out those letters which were marked "Personal" or asked questions which only Brace could answer.

One day a long distance call was received from the president of Colt Arms asking for an autographed picture of the Lone Ranger. Generally Brace signed them, "Best Wishes, Brace Beemer, The Lone Ranger." He sent such a picture and after a short time he received a letter thanking him. It went on to say that there was a package being sent and it was hoped that Brace would accept the gift.

When the package did arrive, it turned out to contain the matched pair of Colt .45 Peacemakers. As Brace describes them, they are beautifully blued with pearl handles. As it turned out, these pistols were the last ones of this model to be made from the Peacemaker cases.

Guns are an integral part of the Lone Ranger image. Brace believes that he is the first person to ever appear at the White House wearing guns and thinks that he is the first to go into the Senate building with guns on.

Mrs. Roosevelt had asked him to give an exhibition on the back lawn of the White House. He and his fiery steed went through their routine and afterward he took Roosevelt's young grandson, John, and put him on Silver's back. With all the Secret Service men looking on, he took his .45 revolver from its holster and put it in John's small hand. The gun was loaded with blanks.

LESSON FROM A BOY

There is one thing that Brace will never do when he is giving a public appearance in the guise of the Lone Ranger.. One time after he gave a performance in Madison Square Garden for all newspaper boys, he had prom, ised to see them after the show. After he changed out of the Lone Ranger outfit, he would take a shower. After the shower, he liked to splash cologne liberally all over himself.

The little boys-came in and he shook their hands, autographed pictures for them and answered their questions. One little fellow stepped forward and candidly asked, "Mr. Lone Ranger, what kind of -perfume do you use?" Brace-says, "That was the last time that I used cologne before a performance."

* * *

The original sponsor for the Lone Ranger program was Broadcast Corn Beef Hash. They were quick to relinquish their sponsorship to the Gordon Baking Company. Brace chuckles when he tells that the agency of Gordon Baking Company felt they had carried the show long enough. The last-17 years of the show were sponsored by General Mills.

Hardly a person has forgotten the ring offers -and wondrous things that could be gotten for a thin coin and the box top from either Kix or Cheerios.

Brace's life has been filled with firsts. Ile asserts that he is the only American to belong to the Legion of Frontiersmen, a British world-wide military and police organization. He is a fully deputized Texas Ranger and a member of several Indian Tribes. He went through a four day ritual of rites making him a Pawnee Chief given by Chief Young Eagle. His name, Nesaro - Kitti - puk - ki, Chief of all young people.

As part of the initiation ceremonies into the Pawnee tribe, Brace recalls that part of the ritual that makes him a "blood brother". He says that the chief of the tribe took a rusty looking knife and made a small cut in his wrist. He was a little concerned for his well being at the time. Being out that far away from a hospital made him worry about infection setting in from the wound. Because as Brace says, "You never know where they have been using their knife."

CROWDS CAME

Though Brace rarely arrived at the station before 4:30 in the afternoon, his understudy rehearsed the show with the rest of the cast. The pace of appearing before public audiences did become an exhausting ,job. There were times when he had to soak his hand in Epsom Salts and ice after shaking hands with 500 to 1500 people.

The possibility of being mobbed was always a threat. Brace says reprovingly, "I have seen times when grown men would yank little children out of their way just to get close enough to shake my hand." He remembers a time when he played at the Rose Bowl. Brace was already on the field when' the crowd swarmed out and his manager yelled to Brace, "Get out of there." Brace replied, "They came to see the Lone Ranger and I'll get them back."

He gave Silver his head and galloped in the direction of the on rushing crowd. Just before he got to them, he brought Silver-to a sliding stop. The surge of humanity paused for a moment and Brace announced in a voice which all could hear, "If' you don't leave the field, I'll leave." He repeated this several times and gradually everyone returned to their seats in the stands.

While on the West Coast, Bing Crosby invited him to be a guest on his show. Brace accepted' but he declined Bing's request to sing some songs. "Not that' I couldn't sing" reported Brace; "But it wasn't in keeping with the character of the Lone Ranger. I finally talked Bing into billing me as the only non-singing cowboy in the business," which got a tremendous laugh

There are many experiences which Brace vividly recalls. But the part of his life that he speaks of with the most pride is his family. "I have three sons and a daughter and they have all gone on to make lives for themselves. Never once did they cause me any trouble." Turning to his wife, Leta, "She stayed home and was always there when the children got home from school, even during all those long times when I was on the road."

The telephone is a constant problem for the Beemers. There are those who ask him to come before this or that group. He would like to be able to attend all the youth groups, but, "There just isn't enough time in a man's life to answer every request." He has set up a basic philosophy which he has stuck to. He figures that he can't afford to appear before any group because as soon as he does, "It is just too difficult trying to explain why you appeared before one group and not another. 1 just don't get started. Besides: I have to have some time for Leta and myself.''

The image of the Lone Ranger is very dear to Brace and he says, "I have an obligation to the children and to the image that they believe in." He personally respects the image so deeply that he has lived as both man and legend.

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