Hi, Ho Silver! The Lone Ranger Connection by Tony Piazza
One of 2013’s most anticipated films is the Lone Ranger. A classic western adventure directed by Gore Verbinski and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The film stars Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp as Tonto. The announcement of this feature reminded me of a article I wrote some time back that mentions an early incarnation of that masked man of the plains. I present it below unedited.
I have been reading a great book, “Flights of Fantasy” by Michael J. Hayde the last few weeks. It tells the unofficial but true history of “Superman” on radio and early television. As I read through the pages I came across names that were familiar to me… not names that you would necessarily recognize, but people who I knew personally during my years in the film industry. Coming across these names, I suddenly found it exciting that I had had the opportunity to work with these people who had a role in the production of my early television favorites. Programs that helped fire my childhood imagination by bringing my favorite comic book heroes to life on the screen. As an example, in one photograph in the book there is a picture of George (Superman) Reeves during his first assignment behind the camera directing an episode of “The Adventures of Superman”. Sitting behind him by the camera was Joseph Biroc (Director of Photography). I was Mr. Biroc’s stand-in for the second unit work on Irwin Allen’s ( “Lost in Space”, “Time Tunnel”, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, etc.) “Towering Inferno”. From the cast lists printed in the book I learned that one of Superman’s foes in an episode was portrayed by Lawrence Dobkin- he was a star of many radio and film productions, but also acted as Director for the pilot show of “The Streets of San Francisco.” Incidentally, Dick Donner, another director on “Streets” is a name associated with a more recent Superman!
That then got me thinking about some of the other people that had an association with my early television favorites… and I remembered that our Unit Production Manager on “Streets”, Bob Beche, worked on the “Lone Ranger” television production starring Clayton Moore. He also went on to do the disastrous re-make, “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” in the 1980s with “Streets” Production Manager, Dick Gallegly. One of our QM drivers, and a good friend, Gil, was James (Matt Dillon) Arness double for “Gunsmoke”. These are not big names by fan’s standards, but people responsible none-the-less for giving me so much enjoyment in my youth…. And it also goes to prove that even in film land one can say that it is a small world!
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His second novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was next released early 2012, and in July of this year, his latest Tom Logan Mystery, “A Murder Amongst Angels” was published and is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden. His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.
My earlier bestselling novels, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” and “Anything Short of Murder” now joins “A Murder Amongst Angels” on Amazon’s Kindle at a new, low price of $2.99. Now you can have hours of adventure, thrills, mystery, and romance for the price of a cup of coffee- and just as stimulating! Look for it on Amazon. Print versions have also been reduced.
Also: The new Tom Logan mystery thriller, A Murder Amongst Angels .
Find them all on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. Also available for $2.99 on Kindle.
My a grandfather Bob Beche also worked on the original Flash Gordon and Rin Tin Tin serials. Would love to hear any stories you remember of him. He loved fishing!
What a nice surprise to meet a relative of Bob’s. He was such a nice man…always pleasant. I have a picture of him when we worked together on “The Streets of San Francisco.” I don’t have it on this computer, but will post it later for you when I have access to it. He was in the production office with Dick Gallegly. For the most part he was a very quiet individual…loved to laugh…and was very good at his job. He had a way of dealing with people and problems that got results without a lot of fuss. I had a great deal of respect of him.
Thank you so much for writing…and look for the photo later,
Steve Attkisson says
I had three television favorites which are seldom mentioned today: Adventures in Paradise, Boston Blackie, and China Smith.
Thank you for commenting. I remember the first two, but not ‘China Smith.’ I have some Boston Blackie movies with Chester Morris. They’re a lot of fun. The Falcon was another…feature film, radio, and maybe TV.