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Friday September 15 4:59 PM ET

Sotheby's to Auction TV Lone Ranger Items


By Sarah Tippit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It has been eight months since her father died and Dawn Moore has finally cleared the things out of his closet -- and soon, as easily as clicking on a mouse or shouting ``Hi, Yo Silver,'' they could be yours.

Over the summer, with bittersweet emotions, she packed up his cowboy boots, white Stetson hats, gun belts and Colt .45s, the black gloves he kept in his top drawer, and, oh, yes, the trademark mask he wore for nearly a half-century.

Hundreds of props and memorabilia personally collected by actor Clayton Moore, who galloped to fame on 1950s television as the Lone Ranger, the ``daring and resourceful masked rider of the Plains,'' are now in the hands of international auction house Sotheby's, which will hold the first major auction of his belongings on the Internet Oct. 20-31 (

Officially titled ``A Collection of Lone Ranger Memorabilia: The Personal Property of Clayton Moore,'' the sale is expected to draw buyers from far and wide from vintage television fans to Western enthusiasts to Hollywood moguls, Laura Wooley, a Sotheby's Hollywood memorabilia specialist, said.

``He actually held onto this stuff, he lived it,'' she added.

Moore, long identified with the mythic former Texas Ranger who rode a white horse and fired silver bullets, died last December at age 85 of a heart attack. When for a time due to a legal dispute he was forbidden to wear the Lone Ranger mask, he donned dark glasses to keep up appearances.

Only one of the three original masks he kept in a display case in his den will be sold at the auction and it is expected to fetch between $40,000 and $60,000. Dawn Moore said she was saving one for herself and that the third one has been donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where it is on permanent display.

Moore starred in the ``Lone Ranger'' television series from 1949 to 1951, when he was forced out in a salary dispute, and then from 1954, when he returned at higher pay, to 1957. In the end, he appeared in most of the series' 169 episodes.

Moore starred in two movie adaptations, ``The Lone Ranger'' (1956) and ``The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold'' (1958). He also played another masked character, Zorro, in two films..

Once the television series was finished, Moore continued to embody the character in commercials and in public appearances, at which he would greet fans, talk to his horse, Silver, shoot a Colt .45, bellow the famous words, ``Hi, Yo Silver and Away!'' and lecture about ``truth, justice and the American Way.''

Throughout his life he ``constantly worked to live up to the finest tenets of the Lone Ranger knowing the kind of influence he had on children around the world, he really took it to heart,'' Dawn Moore said.

In the years before his death he realized his belongings would be worth something and might have meaning for the children he had spent a lifetime influencing and encouraged his daughter to sell what she did not want to keep for herself.

Thus, the public will have a chance to bid for his pictures, mugs, badges, comic books and posters, which will start at around $50 apiece.

Among the higher priced items are one of two gun rigs, filled with the hollow, stamped silver bullets Moore handed out to children at special events. The rig is expected to sell for between $40,000-$60,000.

A Lone Ranger costume with boots will also be auctioned and is expected to fetch between $40,000-$60,000. A fawn colored Stetson hat, will be offered for around $20,000-$30,000. Both were worn on the show, Wooley said.

A pair of Colt single action Army .45s, valued at around $20,000-$30,000 and custom-made for Moore with shorter barrels for spinning, will be sold later this fall in a live auction at Sotheby's in Sussex, England, because of restrictions on gun auctions in the United States.

The hat was one of his favorite props, Moore said. ``He said once he got that white hat he didn't want to ever take it off. He thought it was great being the good guy,'' she said.

His all-time favorite item, she said, was his black mask because not only had it taken on iconoclastic significance by the end of his life, it also had a deeply personal meaning.

In the late 1970s, The Wrather Corp., which then owned the rights to the character, went to court to stop Moore from making public appearances because it did not want him to interfere with a film it was making called ``The Legend of the Lone Ranger.''

Wrather felt that two masked men at the same time would confuse the public and that Moore was too old for the role.

``His fans were in absolute uproar,'' Dawn Moore said. The film came and went in 1981, but the court fight dragged on for years until he won the right to don his mask again in 1984.

``It really meant a lot to him. To him it did stand for everything that was American, the freedom of the West. It also meant freedom to him, in that he spent a lot of time and effort fighting for the right to wear the mask,'' Moore said.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), September 17, 2000



-- Doomzies-Be-Them (, September 17, 2000.

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