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Lone Ranger & SilverThe Lone Ranger's Mask - The Masked Rider of the Plains (Clayton Moore/John Hart) on the western THE LONE RANGER/ABC/1949-57 wore a black mask to disguise his true identity. The origin of his mask was revealed on the original radio script, when six Texas Rangers were ambushed by the Butch Cavendish Gang. One "lone" ranger named John Reid survived and was nursed back to health by an Indian named Tonto (Jay Silverheels). When asked what happened to the other Texas Rangers, Tonto said "Other Texas Rangers all dead. You only Ranger left. You lone Ranger now."

In an attempt to conceal his identity from the outlaws, the Ranger decides to cover his face with a mask and then seek out Cavendish Gang. The Ranger fashioned his mask from the black vest of his dead brother. Captain Daniel Reid.

As the surviving Ranger transformed into this new identity, the narrator remarks that in the eyes of the Ranger "There is a light that must have burned in the eyes of the knights in armor. A light that through the ages lifted the souls of strong men who fought for justice, for God." Just then Reid proclaims "I'll be the Lone Ranger."

The TV adaptation featured the solemn pledge "For every one of those men (his fallen Ranger colleagues) I'm going to bring a hundred lawbreakers to justice. I'll make that Cavendish Gang, and every criminal that I can find for that matter, regret the day those Rangers were killed. Tonto from this moment on I'm going to devote my life to establishing law and order in this new frontier-to make the West a decent place to live."

The Lone Ranger's always wore his mask and only removed it when he assumed a disguise. The Ranger did take off his mask for a dying woman named Grandma Frisby who had adopted and raised the Lone Ranger's nephew, Dan Reid. "Would you take off that mask and show me your face," asked Grandma Frisby As the Lone Ranger does so, the old woman said "It's a good face, yes, a good face."

The Lone Ranger's mask which become a symbol for justice throughout the world was taken to task in August of 1979 when Los Angeles superior court Judge Vernon Foster issued an injunction on behalf of the Wrather Corporation forbidding Clayton Moore from wearing "The Lone Ranger" mask or any mask substantially similar in appearance because they believed the aging Clayton Moore could no longer portray a youthful hero.

The Wrather Corporation was at that time producing an updated version of the Lone Ranger character with a much younger actor in the lead role (actor Klinton Spilsbury).

To avoid violating the court order, Moore wore wide dark sunglasses that vaguely resembled the Lone Ranger's mask. Many fans took the side of Clayton Moore circulating petitions at shopping centers, and radio & TV stations. One such group "The Lone Ranger Campaign" pushed the slogans "Return the Mask" and We Must Get the Mask Back."

After the motion picture The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) bombed at the box-office, Clayton Moore who had worn dark sunglasses in the interim regained the right to wear the mask in 1985 and...the Lone Ranger rode again!

TRIVIA NOTE: According to Clayton Moore’s autobiography, the actual mask used in the series were made from plaster with felt on the top of them. In the black and white episodes, a smaller purple felt was used. A larger black felt mask was used in the color productions. The larger mask covered more of the Ranger’s face. This helped disguise the fact that another actor {John Hart} who temporarily replaced Moore in the role of the Lone Ranger. See also - NICKNAMES: "The Lone Ranger" 


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