Source: Sherman Publications

Lone Ranger memory shared

by CJ Carnacchio

May 08, 2013

Bill Miller’s heard an awful lot about Oxford’s plans to celebrate its historical connection to the Lone Ranger with a movie event and parade, so he wanted to make sure the newspaper had a photo of the legendary masked lawman.

“I didn’t know if you had a picture of him or not,” said the 85-year-old Lake Orion resident.

Miller stopped by the Leader office on Friday to donate a copy of the black-and-white Lone Ranger photo (shown right) he got in 1937 when he was 10 years old.

“They were giving them away in (packages of) Silvercup Bread,” he said. “I don’t think they’re even in business anymore.”

Silvercup Bread, which was made by the Gordon Baking Company, sponsored the Lone Ranger radio show from November 1933 until 1939. They stopped making Silvercup Bread in the mid-1970s.

This is the 80th anniversary of the Lone Ranger radio show, which began in January 1933 at WXYZ in Detroit.

Brace Beemer, who lived in Oxford for many years, was the radio voice of the Lone Ranger from 1941-54. He portrayed the masked lawman in more than 2,000 broadcasts heard by over 80 million listeners on 129 radio stations nationwide.

“Instead of calling (Oxford) the gravel city, they should have called it the Lone Ranger city,” Miller said.

He was referring to the fact that Oxford used to be known as the “Gravel Capital of the World” due to its extensive mining operations.

As a boy growing up in Detroit, Miller was a big fan of the program, which followed the adventures of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, his Indian companion, as they fought villains, protected the innocent and brought justice to America’s Old West.

“I always did like cowboys,” he said. “When we were kids, me and my brother would sit around the radio. That’s all you had then. It was a nice program.”

Miller, who moved to Lake Orion in 1967 and has owned and operated Water Softener Sales & Service for 60 years, can still recall Beemer’s distinct sound.

“I liked his voice,” he said. “He had a real good voice for the show.”

Miller is glad to see the Lone Ranger character is returning to entertain a whole new generation and teach them respect for “law and order.”

Disney’s new Lone Ranger movie, starring Armie Hammer as the masked hero and Johnny Depp as Tonto, will open July 3.

A special 8 p.m. sneak preview of the movie will take place at the Oxford 7 Theater (48 S. Washington St.) on Tuesday, July 2. The engagement 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 and information will be released once everything is settled.

Oxford will host a Lone Ranger-themed parade along M-24 on Saturday, Aug. 3 beginning at 11 a.m. The 0.84-mile route will begin at the Oxford Marketplace shopping center and end at Fire Station #1 at the corner of N. Washington and Church streets.

An Oxford-based Lone Ranger website has been created and can be found at www.homeofthemask.com.