By Greg Mowry
This was a project I did some years ago with David Whitford. I’m not a great Western fan, but Clayton Moore’s Lone Ranger is an exception to that. Starting in 1949 and running to 1957 on the ABC network, Clayton was the best of the best. He was an honorable upright man in real life, too, long before our heroes were exposed by the media cavorting with hookers on Hollywood Boulevard ,using steroids and obliged to make nationwide public apologies.
I engineered and sculpted the Lone Ranger’s body in an action pose as if he is dodging the hot lead thrown at him by his arch nemesis, Butch Cavandish. The figure is held up by a steel rod inside his right leg up to the knee. David Whitford sculpted the head, hat, and the gloved hands gripping the revolvers. Clayton had a distinctive way of holding his guns, usually cradling the butts with his pinky fingers and David caught this beautifully. The hands also needed a fair amount of engineering to hold the guns and David also excelled in this by making the thumbs separate pieces wrapping around the triggers. He also did a lot of customizing on the guns themselves transforming them from key chain fobs (found at a flea market) to real scale beauties.
I had the good fortune to have two of Clayton’s costumes at my disposal for inspection. One is in the Warner Bros. costume collection where I was able to actually handle the garments and study their construction. Clayton designed his own costume and it is a perfect example of 1950’s Hollywood hero. The shirt and pants are twill gabardine cut nearly skin tight. The shirt has built in shoulder pads, darts in the front and back, a zipper up the left side underneath the arm and a “crotch strap” which holds the shirt down so it would not ride up past the pants.
I constructed and hand tooled the gun belt following the specimen at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum and also hand made each of the silver bullets in the loops. The gun belt buckles, pants buckles and spurs were sculpted and cast in sterling silver by Bill Salvatore of SCAHMMS.