The Lone Ranger’s Court Dates

Jason Dick
Posted July 15, 2013 at 5:29pm

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, wants everyone to know he wasn’t about to be the guy to unmask the Lone Ranger. For that, the Lone Ranger had to go to Los Angeles.

As recounted by Matt Fuller in brother blog Heard on the Hill, Poe brushed aside a defense attorney’s request for Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger in the long-running television series, to remove his mask in a criminal case where a baggage handler stole Moore’s ivory-handled six-shooters. (As Dave Barry would say, we swear we’re not making this up.)

Moore wasn’t so lucky in Los Angeles Superior Court in 1979.

According to a recent report in Variety, Moore got into a legal spat with Jack Wrather, who held the intellectual property rights to the Lone Ranger. Wrather wanted to make a Lone Ranger movie, and although he had allowed Moore to travel the country for years representing himself as the West’s truest gun, he wanted Moore to surrender the role.

Bad move, as it turned out. A judge ordered Moore to surrender the mask. Moore, known to millions of baby boomers as the true masked man, kept traveling the country with a pair of sunglasses, garnering sympathy, according to Variety’s Ted Johnson. And the 1981 movie, “The Legend of the Lone Ranger,” flopped big time, despite a built-in audience, healthy budget and Hollywood stars like Jason Robards (as President Ulysses S. Grant!).

So it’s true, as Poe quoted Jim Croce, you don’t unmask that old Lone Ranger.