--Memorabilia from the
Personal Collection of TV’s Lone Ranger,
Clayton Moore, To Be Auctioned on sothebys.amazon.com--
New York, NY—From October 20-31, 2000, sothebys.amazon.com will give fans of The Lone Ranger a rare opportunity to bid on memorabilia and personal items from the collection of Clayton Moore, the actor who portrayed America’s most famous masked man for six years on the ABC television series and at public appearances long after the show’s 1957 finale. Officially titled A Collection of Lone Ranger Memorabilia: The Personal Property of Clayton Moore, the sale marks the first online auction of a major television star’s belongings. Offerings include assorted props, costumes, accessories and souvenirs from the program, including the trademark black mask Moore wore for nearly half a century.
Moore, who died in December at the age of 85, strove throughout his life to keep the Lone Ranger’s identity closely linked to his own; the mask remained a constant part of his persona and a symbol of clean-cut heroism. Long after he rode off into the sunset for the last time on TV, Moore continued to sport the Lone Ranger costume while speaking to children around the country about the importance of honesty, respect and fairness; he even refused to be photographed without the mask. In 1979, the seemingly innocuous item sparked a five-year legal feud when the Wrather Corp., then owner of the rights to the Lone Ranger, sought to stop Moore from wearing it or appearing in character at all in public. Though more than a generation had passed since he first donned it, Moore’s fans were still incredibly devoted, and their outcry in support of him led the Wrather Corp. to drop their case. The mask, which according to TV lore was made from the vest of the Lone Ranger’s slain brother, is estimated at $40/60,000. Sotheby’s sale will also include several variations of the mask as well as the Pierre Cardin sunglasses Moore wore during the “prohibition era” in an effort to preserve the character’s mysterious essence.
“The Lone Ranger epitomized the idea of morality,” says Leila Dunbar, Director of Sotheby’s Collectibles Department, “and the character’s mask was the ultimate symbol of that morality. It defined the Lone Ranger and, as a result, has come to be a pop cultural icon.”
Dawn Moore, the actor’s daughter, notes, “The values that were so beautifully expressed by his character became Clayton Moore’s standards; he was inspired by them and adopted them as his own.”
Also among the posse of lots are a Lone Ranger costume, complete with boots (est. $40/60,000), and a fawn-colored Stetson hat (size 6 5/8) (est. $20/30,000), both of which Moore wore on the show. The suit was made by Nudie Rodeo Tailors, the legendary Western costume-designers responsible for clothing a long list of famous cowboys including John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Johnny Cash and Roy Rogers, while the hat was made by Stetson for Nudie and bears the labels of both companies.
Two gun rigs, one filled with the hollow, stamped silver bullets Moore handed out to children at special events and another he commissioned for use during the “prohibition period” (ests. $40/60,000 and $30/40,000, respectively), will also come to auction as part of the collection. The first was manufactured by the Bohlin Company, “Saddlemaker to the Stars,” which maintains a long Hollywood tradition spanning from the days of Tom Mix to contemporary Robert Redford films like The Horse Whisperer. The second was crafted by Alfonso’s Holster and Gun Shop, another strong presence in the entertainment industry. Buckaroos may also bid on the Lone Ranger toys Moore collected (varied estimates), and the actor’s 18K gold Rolex watch (est. $10/15,000). Individual estimates for the collection’s offerings start as low as $50.
A pair of Colt single action Army 45’s (est. $20/30,000) custom-made for Moore will be sold later this fall in a live auction at Sotheby’s Sussex, in England.
“There are a lot of famous Western icons,” says Ms. Dunbar, “but Clayton Moore is the first whose collection will be sold at auction. Because the estimates cover such a broad spectrum, there’s something for everyone who has a place in his heart for the Lone Ranger. ”
A preview exhibition showcasing highlights from the collection is scheduled to take place at Sotheby’s Los Angeles (9665 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills) from September 16-18th, with a reception planned for the 18th. A second preview exhibition will be held at Sotheby’s New York (1334 York Ave.) from October 22-29, following the exhibit at Sotheby’s London (34-35 New Bond St.) from September 29-October 1.
Moore starred as the Lone Ranger in the ABC television series from 1949 until 1952, when he was temporarily replaced by John Hart. He returned two years later and continued in the role until 1957, during which time he starred in two feature films based on the character, The Lone Ranger (1956) and The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958). Born Jack Carlson Moore in Chicago, the actor began his career as a circus trapeze artist but had to seek other means of employment after an injury sidelined him. Ruggedly handsome, he landed his first film role in 1938 and played bit parts in several serials including Dick Tracy Returns and The Perils of Nyoka before joining the Air Force during World War II. He returned to acting after the war, appearing in 169 Lone Ranger episodes and more than 70 feature films including Black Dragons, with Bela Lugosi. Moore, a devoted follower of the Lone Ranger radio show that inspired the TV version, beat out 75 other actors to star in the series.
In 1987, Moore received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Written in the cement next to his own name is “The Lone Ranger;” it is the only star on the Walk to mention a specific character. The actor was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1990, and published his autobiography, “I Was That Masked Man,” in 1996. He died from a heart attack, on December 28, 1999 near Los Angeles.
“The Lone Ranger came to represent everything that was right and just,” says Dawn Moore. “He had the ethical integrity of nothing less than a super being – a deity. And as fans followed the career of Clayton Moore, they knew that he did too.”
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