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Lone Ranger flashback: When radio ruled the West

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LIFE Lone Ranger 1937

Say what you will about Disney’s The Lone Ranger, Armie Hammer certainly looks the role of a heroic Western icon. In other words, he’s no Earle Graser. Graser was one of the early voices of the Lone Ranger when the character became a popular fixture in the 1930s. Now, I’m not saying that Graser had a face for radio… but his bosses decided to use another actor — the taller, more athletic Brace Beemer — for the Ranger’s public appearances. (We call this Reverse Klinton Spilsbury Syndrome.)

To his credit, Graser was committed to the role, wearing the mask even though it made him look like the saddest bank robber in Detroit, where he voiced the Ranger live for WXYZ for nearly eight years. According to editor Ben Cosgrove of Life.com, which recently unearthed this photo, Graser might have worn the mask to protect his own identity from the Ranger’s legion of fans. Uh-huh.

Tune in below to hear Graser in action: