Wouldn’t it be nice
How many of you lived for Saturday morning and the parade of Westerns that aired in the ’50s? My favorites were The Lone Ranger, Sky King, Wild Bill Hickok, Fury, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Annie Oakley, The Range Rider, Sargent Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Buffalo Bill Jr.
Afternoons were spent playing cowboys and Indians with friends who owned just about every cap gun made at the time. I still have an original Mattel Fanner 50.
Our heroes were different then. They were men who attempted to live what they portrayed – men who didn’t want their private life to contradict their TV persona.
Foremost among these is Roy Rogers. A strong man of faith, he and Dale Evans were as good and kind off screen as they were on. In 1986, while temporarily assigned to Norton Air Force Base for six weeks, my wife, Edie, visited. She flew into Orange County Airport. As fortune would have it, we met Dale outside of the terminal. Her ride had not come. Although a bit perturbed, she was gracious and kind to us, her somewhat obvious fans.
In the early ’50s, my dad took me to see Hopalong Cassidy live in our little town of Menands, NY. Boyd so identified with his character that he preferred being called “Hoppy” to his given name. My dad wanted me to meet and learn from this man. His reason was a statement Boyd had made to the press. He said that he believed it was his duty to help strengthen his “friends”—America’s youth. To that end, the actor refused to license his name for products he viewed as unsuitable or dangerous and turned down personal appearances at which his “friends” would be charged admission.
Lastly, let’s reminisce a bit about Clayton Moore, the Lone Ranger. Every man who was a boy in the 1950s can still repeat the intro to his show. It was sometime in the 1970s that an article about Moore revealed that he was often quoted as saying he had “fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character” and strove in his personal life to take The Lone Ranger creed to heart. It was written as a guide for his young fans on how to live a life of goodness, fairness and decency, just like the Lone Ranger. The creed is a bit longer than the amount of print I’m permitted, but can be found at cowboyway.com/LoneRanger.htm.
It was in the early ’90s while speaking with my wife about my love for those days and how much Saturday mornings meant to me, that she got an idea. Moore had written a book called, I Was that Masked Man. Edie bought it and sent it to him asking if he would sign it, and offering to pay whatever he wished. It came back in time for my birthday – no charge and signed, “To Edwin from Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger”.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For information, visit Fellowship’s website www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com.