In the depths of the Great Depression, faith in the promise of the American dream was at the lowest point since the Civil War. Confidence in American values was being displaced by skepticism. The traditional American belief in individualism—that success could be found by anyone willing to work hard to achieve it—seemed shattered. Few voices were heard to the contrary.
Looking out from their 14th floor offices in Detroit’s Maccabees Building, Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company executives had other concerns. They had dropped their affiliation with the Columbia Broadcasting System and now needed to start producing their own radio programs. George W. Trendle, president of the company, insistently pushed the idea of a children’s program based on a character who was part cowboy, part Robin Hood, and who completely represented American values. On January 30, 1933, from a studio upstairs, an original American hero emerged and entered the folklore of the American Wild West—The Lone Ranger.
Several months later, a request came to the station for The Lone Ranger to make a personal appearance at a children’s circus to be held at Detroit’s Belle Isle park on July 30, 1933. In search of a national sponsor for the show, such a publicity opportunity couldn’t be missed. But who could they put behind the mask and in front of the public? Where in Detroit, Michigan, was a horseback ridin’, six-gun shootin’ fella who physically looked the part?
As it turned out, sitting in the next office was exactly the man they needed and a real-world war hero at that. That man was Brace Beemer, who went on to become… The Last Radio Ranger.
Over the coming weeks and months, content here at The Last Radio Ranger will grow as it shares Brace Beemer’s story through words, pictures, and sound. Soon we’ll be previewing scenes from The Last Radio Ranger documentary, now in production and scheduled for screenings in 2013. Stay tuned, Rangers…