Today sees the return of The Lone Ranger, one of the most enduring characters of the West.
As a kid, growing up in a small town in Kansas, I’d watch Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger as he’d ride onto our Sony Trinitron on the back of his trusty steed Silver alongside his faithful companion Tonto, played by Jay Silverheels. The two would ride together throughout Texas, to track down Butch Cavendish and his gang of outlaws, and to fight for justice throughout the Wild West. I remember laying on the floor with a black Stetson perched in much the same manner as Moore’s and a black plastic Zorro mask collecting sweat on my face, as I’d patiently await a bugle sounding “William Tell Overture.” The Lone Ranger would shout, “Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!” And every time we’d watch it, my dad would giggle and point out how Tonto would always go into town and find trouble.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I discovered my dad stole Bill Cosby’s old bit.
Early in our lives, my father instilled in his boys a love for the Western.
And not long after that, I learned one of my personal heroes, that creator of the “Sistine Chaps,” that King of the Cowboy Couturiers, that Dior of the Sagebrush, that Country & Western tailor to the stars, Nudie Cohn created the look of Mr. Moore’s Lone Ranger.
My dad, Brad “Buckshot” Wastler, for whom Buckshot Sonny’s was named.
A former Texas Ranger known for donning a mask and using pure silver bullets, The Lone Ranger was a character ripe for the creation and mass production of memorabilia. To this day collectors seeking out the toys and trinkets associated with the radio program and later the television show have had little problem tracking down everything from the cardboard cut-out Frontier town to the anachronistic World War II-era Atomic Bomb ring, which admittedly looks quite similar to the earlier silver bullet ring, but I digress.
However, until this year, it was rare to find Clayton Moore’s original pieces made by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors.
Throughout his life, Mr. Moore handed out different versions of the “Silver Bullets” to fans. These Bohlin-made ones took top dollar at auction this month.Part of an earlier auction, apparently Mr. Moore owned this Bohlin-made belt buckle prior to becoming The Lone Ranger.
Clayton Moore’s daughter, Dawn, holds one of the original masks. It was made with plaster of Paris and covered with purple felt. Little known fact: purple shows up better in black and white than flat black. href=”http://allplaidout.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Lone-Ranger-Nudie-Suit.jpg”>The original Nudie suit sold at auction in 2001, shortly after Mr. Moore’s death. The original bleached beaver felt hat. A number of Mr. Moore’s personal effects were sold at auction as well. I was particularly fond of this custom made Adirondack baseball bat.
Perhaps in anticipation of the film’s release, Mr. Moore’s daughter Dawn decided to part with a number of his personal items earlier this month at auction, including two of his Lone Ranger costumes crafted by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors and another by Nudie Cohn’s successor, Manuel, a Stetson hat, three pair of boots, and best of all, his Edward H. Bohlindouble-holster gun rig. Both The Lone Ranger and his horse Silver wore Bohlin-made products throughout the life of the series. Each item garnered a pretty penny.
You can visit Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction to learn more.
Perpetually impressed with the level of craftsmanship that went into the items donned by the cowboys, The Lone Ranger’s costume will forever live in my mind as one of the coolest. Understated, dangerous, and yet somewhat camp, I can’t imagine having been tasked with costuming Armie Hammer for this summer’s film adaptation. Supposedly, it took ten different designs and seven fittings just to get the mask right.
And so, I leave you with the first appearance of Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger in an episode entitled, “Enter the Lone Ranger.”
Adios, Kemo Sabe.