Who was that masked man?
Hi-yo, Silver away!
Anyone over the age of fifty in Michigan, or anywhere else for that matter, instantly recognizes these phrases. They are the tried and true marks of one of America’s most trusted heroes: the Lone Ranger.
What few people in Michigan know is that The Lone Ranger was a Detroit creation that debuted on WXYZ radio on January 20, 1933-seventy-five years ago. Or that one of the men whose voice rapt listeners heard announcing the show’s famous introduction and narration, Fred Foy, is also a Detroit native-and likely the lone survivor among the show’s talent.
“It was wonderful for me to be part of that show,” said Foy,
eighty-nine, who now lives in Woburn, Massachusetts. Foy became the announcer/narrator in 1948 in Detroit, and remained in that role when the show moved to television in 1949. Foy’s broadcasting career eventually earned him induction into the Radio Hall of Fame.
Nearly forty years after the show left television, Foy marvels at the continuing, nostalgic interest in the masked man and his trusty “Indian” companion, Tonto. “I never expected the show to become that much of a legend,” he said. “To learn over the years that people listened to it religiously while you were narrating, and then you go to the old radio conventions and they tell you how much the show meant to them-my, it was as if you were a real celebrity.”
Fred Foy and the 75th anniversary of The Lone Ranger is the cover story of March/April 2008 issue of Michigan History magazine. For information call (800) 366-3703 or visit www.michiganhistorymagazine.com
Check out the Fred Foy tribute page at the Lone Ranger Fan Club for interviews with Foy and (as an added bonus) when it loads in you hear the whole intro for the show.