Source: Sherman Publications

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The Lone Ranger rides . . . on 4 wheels?

by CJ Carnacchio

July 31, 2013

Dressed as the Lone Ranger, Brace Beemer shakes hands with Lee Anderson, who owned a car dealership in downtown Lake Orion back in the 1940s. Photos courtesy of Lake Orion resident Ann (Anderson) Starrs.
Sometimes the Lone Ranger needed a little more horsepower than ol’ Silver could give him.
The Lone Ranger atop his mighty steed Silver is a familiar sight to many Americans.

But Lake Orion resident Ann (Anderson) Starrs has some old photographs that show sometimes the Lone Ranger traded four thundering hooves for four sturdy tires.

Starrs recently provided the Leader with photos of Oxford resident Brace Beemer, who portrayed the Lone Ranger on the radio from 1941-54, doing what's presumed to be some promotional work for her father, the late Lee Anderson.

"They were tucked away," she said. "We were going through some of our albums and there they were. With all the big stuff going on right now with the Lone Ranger, we thought maybe you might find them useful in some way."

Back in the 1940s, when the photos were taken, Anderson owned a Chevy-Buick-Pontiac dealership in downtown Lake Orion. The photos show Beemer shaking hands with Anderson in front of a big black sedan and sitting behind the wheel of this now vintage vehicle.

Starrs said Beemer, who lived in Oxford from 1942 until his death in 1965, and her father were good friends.

"He and his wife (Leta) used to come to our home," she said. "They'd play bridge, shoot the breeze and drink Scotch."

"I was probably a little bit in awe of him because he was a very public figure," Starrs continued. "He had this wonderful, deep voice. I just remember him as being very friendly and gracious."

Starrs recalled visiting Beemer's 300-acre farm on W. Drahner Rd. known as Paint Creek Acres.

"My sister Margo used to go out there about once a week to take riding lessons," she said. "She boarded a horse out there and I think it was either Brace or his wife that used to give her riding lessons."

Starrs didn't take any lessons herself.

"I'm allergic to horses," she said. "I dropped her off and I learned how to drive going up and down Drahner Rd."

Starrs, a 1946 graduate of Lake Orion High School, was an avid fan of the Lone Ranger radio show, which aired three times a week on WXYZ radio in Detroit.

"There was always a good story with a good ending," she said. "When I went away to (Nazareth) college (in Kalamazoo), I'd turn his program on just to make me feel a little closer to Lake Orion."

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the show's debut.