Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: After the actor who voiced the Lone Ranger on radio was killed while driving drunk, his replacement did not speak during the next several episodes to prevent the original actor's shameful death from being revealed to children by the change in voice.
Origins: One of the actors who portrayed radio's famous Lone Ranger did die in an automobile accident (but not while driving drunk), and his replacement did indeed speak very little for the next several episodes. The ruse was not employed to cover up the actor's (allegedly shameful) death, however, but merely to assuage children's fears that the Lone Ranger himself (rather than the actor who portrayed him) was dead, and to avoid presenting an abrupt change in the Lone Ranger's voice to the audience.
In the hectic early days of radio's The Lone Ranger, three different actors ended up voicing the title role during the show's first three months on the air 1933. The original Ranger was a man named George Stenius who left the role after two and a half months to pursue a career as a writer in New York. (As George Seaton, he would go on to a career in Hollywood as a screenwriter-director-producer, winning two Academy Awards for his screenplays along the way.) Stenius was replaced by Jack Deeds, who lasted only a few days before demonstrating himself to be ill-suited for the job. James Jewell, the station's dramatic director, filled in for one performance before hiring Earle Graser, who took over as the Lone Ranger on
Earle Graser was the Lone Ranger on radio for the next eight years, until tragedy struck. On the morning of
The part was filled by Brace Beemer, an announcer and studio manager who had at times narrated The Lone Ranger program, had been making personal appearances as the Lone Ranger (because he was much more physically impressive than Graser), and was currently playing the lead in Challenge of the Yukon (later
Last updated: 5 August 2007
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