Lone Ranger "silver bullet"

Lone Ranger "silver bullet"

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On each episode of the popular radio and television series The Lone Ranger, the title character miraculously appeared and righted injustices, leaving behind a silver bullet as his mark. This silver bullet is a promotional reproduction of props used on the television show by its star, Clayton Moore. In personal appearances throughout the 1950s, Moore would often give these aluminum bullets to fans as souvenirs.
Although perhaps best remembered as a television series, The Lone Ranger first aired as a radio program on Detroit station WXYZ in 1933. The history of the character’s creation is murky, but contributions were made by station owner George W. Trendle, employee James Jewell, and writer Fran Striker. The Lone Ranger was once a Texas Ranger known as John Reid, but dedicated his life to vigilante justice after an ambush by the outlaw Butch Cavendish left him the only survivor of his posse. American Indian Tonto, said to be either Comanche or Potawatomi, discovered the wounded Reid and after nursing him back to health decided to join him in his mission. The Lone Ranger was an instant success, and the character became known for his black domino mask, code of honor, signature silver bullets, and horse Silver and catch phrase “Hi Yo (or Hi Ho) Silver!” According to his moral code, the Lone Ranger attempts to avoid violence, shooting only to disarm, not kill, and using silver bullets a reminder of the value of human life.
In 1934 the Mutual radio network began airing the program nationally, and the series ran on radio for 12 years, the title character portrayed by actors George Seaton, Earle Graser, and Brace Beemer. Proving the character’s popularity across media, The Lone Ranger was adapted as a series of films by Republic Pictures in 1938, books, comic books, a King Features Syndicate comic strip from 1938 to 1971, and an ABC television series from 1949 to 1957. The show was a merchandising juggernaut, with licensed products including radio premiums, toys, games, home furnishings, and costumes. Though the character’s popularity had faded by the late 1950s, producers have periodically attempted revivals such as the 1981 film The Legend of the Lone Ranger and the 2013 Walt Disney film, directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
date made
performing artist; user
Moore, Clayton
Physical Description
aluminum (overall material)
overall: 4.3 cm x 1.3 cm; 1 11/16 in x 1/2 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Dawn A. Moore
Lone Ranger
Radio and television broadcasting
Television broadcasts
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
National Treasures exhibit
Popular Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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These aluminum "bullets" were also handed out at personal appearances by The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore). I and my sisters attended his appearance at the Minneapolis Auditorium in 1957 and received a bullet and the souvenir program. I still have both the bullet and the program.

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