Its truly remarkable the impact that one character can have on the world. Consider the Lone Ranger and his influence on the fabric of not only entertainment but on our language as well. Had it not been for the white hat wearing masked marauder we most certainly would have never heard the word kemosabe or asked the question, who was that masked man? It's also highly unlikely that the William Tell Overture would have been ingrained in every boys head that grew up in the 1950s watching every adventure of the mythical western hero and his trusted sidekick on television as portrayed by Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. But that's not where our story begins....
It all began in 1903 when little Francis Hamilton Striker was born in Buffalo, NY. After a non eventful early 20th century childhood, young Fran attended Lafayette HS and the University of Buffalo before dropping out of college. He moved to NYC for a brief stint with an amateur theater company but opportunity lay elsewhere and soon he returned to Buffalo to join the staff of radio station WEBR, working as an announcer.
In 1929, he moved to WTAM in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as announcer, continuity writer, and where he wrote his first radio drama script, a biography of Stephen Foster. Lured back to Buffalo as station manager at WEBR, Striker wrote material ranging from skits to half-hour mysteries and Western scripts.
Striker soon drifted to freelancing, creating and writing his own series' and selling them to stations across the United States. He began a long association with station owner George W. Trendle and radio station WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan, where Trendle was trying to make a name for himself as a producer of radio drama,
Late in 1932, Striker began working on The Lone Ranger; his earliest scripts were largely reworked from his earlier series, Covered Wagon Days. A letter from Trendle, dated January 30, 1933, clearly gives Striker credit for creating the character. But, by 1934, Striker was pressured by Trendle to sign over rights to the Lone Ranger, and Trendle claimed credit as the creator. This sparked a long-term controversy over the creation of The Lone Ranger, extending as far as a 1960 television appearance by Striker on To Tell the Truth, which mentioned his role in the character's creation.
The actual first trial episodes of The Lone Ranger were broadcast on WEBR in Buffalo prior to the official premiere on WXYZ. These first broadcasts starred Buffalo actor John L. Barrett. When the Lone Ranger series began to gain popularity, Trendle convinced Striker to move to WXYZ, where he eventually became head of WXYZ's script department.
In addition to writing 156 Lone Ranger scripts a year, Striker wrote The Green Hornet (built around the Lone Ranger's descendant, Britt Reid) and a short-lived series, Ned Jordan Secret Agent. He also scripted various Lone Ranger novels, two movie serials and The Lone Ranger comic strip.
Striker's later work included stints on the television versions of The Lone Ranger and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. He provided the stories for many TV episodes by reworking old scripts from the radio series. Other writers adapted the stories for television and were credited as the "scriptwriter". Striker's credit was given as, "From the radio program edited by Fran Striker."
Striker was only 59 when he died in a 1962 car accident in Elma, New York while moving with his wife and children. His final work was a historical novel, One More River, published posthumously. Fran was interred at Arcade Rural Cemetery in Arcade, New York. His papers are in the archives of the University at Buffalo
The Lone Ranger’s Creed
I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.
That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
That “this government, of the people, by the people, and for the people,” shall live always.
That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
That sooner or later… somewhere… somehow… we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change, but the truth, and the truth alone lives on forever.
I believe in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.