Clayton Moore died at age 85 in 1999; he had some heartache after the television series went off the air. He enjoyed making public appearances as the Lone Ranger, telling stories to children and their parents. But in 1981, a California movie producer made a new "Lone Ranger" film starring someone named Klinton Spilsbury. The producer and his take-no-prisoners lawyers went relentlessly after Clayton Moore, telling him that he could no longer wear the Lone Ranger mask in public, threatening him with harsh and dire legal sanctions.
I had gotten to know Moore late in his life; he was quietly crushed by the disdain with which he was being treated. He told me that the entertainment-industry lawyer going after him "told me again and again that I was too old to be the Lone Ranger. He told me that he was going to get an injunction against me ever appearing as the Lone Ranger again, and he said that I could expect to see a marshal at my door to deliver the injunction. I felt afraid and desperate."
"I can't tell you how hurt I was. I'm a gentleman, though, and I walked out as a gentleman would walk out -- as a gentleman."
You can only hope that once the door closed, the lawyer was chastened enough to sit there at the conference table for a moment and ask himself:
Who was that masked man?
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