By Barry Woodbridge


Friday and Saturday August 11 and 12 the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in Hollywood, California, under the direction of John Mauceri, dedicated its philharmonic program to the 150 year history of the state of California, the opening of the west, and in its finale to Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger.

Saturday August 12, the Bowl was nearly sold out with 17,000 in attendance. The program included not only classical composers who had written music about the west, but the "Riders in the Sky" singing Gene Autry's memorable songs such as "Tumbling Tumbleweed." Mrs. Autry was in attendance to add to the occasion.

The evening's program concluded with the philharmonic playing Rossini's William Tell overture in tribute of Clayton Moore and accompanied with the choreographed fireworks display by PyroSpectaculars. The program insert made a very pertinent observation about the William Tell overture: "Finally, who can forget that masked man, the essence of the American cowboy hero, the Lone Ranger, as portrayed by Clayton Moore? It is only fitting that this theme comes from William Tell, an opera about Swiss revolutionaries and their struggle for justice and freedom."

John Mauceri introduced the finale by commenting on Clayton's recent death, noting that Dawn Gerrity (Clayton's daughter) was in attendance (at the August 11 performance), and then surprising most in attendance by calling on Fred Foy, the announcer who narrated The Lone Ranger television and radio series since 1933. As the lights dimmed and the first notes of the overture sounded, Fred's familiar voice came booming across the bowl: "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi Yo Silver!' The Lone Ranger. 'Hi Yo Silver, away!' With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!" Then came the bursting sky rockets like Silver's hoof beats, and as the overture neared its finale, there arose over the top of the bowl and the orchestra, a grand "set piece" of fireworks perhaps 15 feet high itself, a figure of Silver with the mounted Lone Ranger waving back to the crowd just as he did on each episode. As the two of them glowed and sparkled in the green's, red's, blue's and white's they were decorated in, the evening came to a magnificent conclusion. Some of us remarked that Clayton surely must have been able behold this grand tribute from another vantage point and know that his good and honorable work lives on in events like this.

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