When I was growing up, I distinctly remember getting our first black and white television. It was one of these big boxey sets that sat in the living room. The first show I ever watched was Lassie. Those were the days when television studios felt like they had a responsibility to promote good values and lift the standards of our society! My favorite shows were any that involved horses and I loved watching the Lone Ranger. Here is what I found out about the Lone Ranger's horse: SILVER.
"From out of the past come the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger Rides again!
These were the words recited by radio announcer Fred Foy who died in December, 2010.
The Lone Ranger started as a radio show in 1933. The voice of the narrator was Bruce Beemer. The first live appearance of the Lone Ranger and Silver was in July of 1933 at Belle Isle in Detroit. Beemer played the ranger and he used a rented horse named "Hero." 70,000 fans came to see them.
There were actually 2 white stallions that officially played the role of Silver plus one stunt horse. Silver #1 was personally piced by the actor, Clayton Moore from the Hugh Hooker Ranch in the San Fernando Valley in 1949 just before the filming began. He was part Tennessee Walker and stood over 17 hands. His name was "White Cloud" and was very gentle and well trained. His only trick was the high rear that he is known for. Clayton's stunt man and stand-in purchased White Cloud when he started Studio Stables. Moore never owned any of the Silvers.
Silver #2 was purchased by George W. Trendle in 1949. Trendle owned the Lone Ranger show at the time. It is believed that he was originally named "Tarzan's White Banner" and was foaled on a farm near Danville, Iowa in 1945. Trendle renamed him "Hi-Yo Silver." Trendle also owned another white stallion that was used for public appearances in the 1940's when The Lone Ranger was a radio show. Silver #2 was shipped to California in 1952 for T.V. filming and replaced Silver #1 in most of the shots. He was trained by Glenn Randall who also trained Roy Roger's Trigger (see the post on Trigger.)
The second Silver was the opposite of the first. He was very high strung and skittish. He was afraid of the sounds made by the cameras. He was not as large as the first but still weighed in at 1250 pounds! #2 was the only horse that Clayton Moore toured with. Moore did a lot of the riding scenes himself and was the only rider to do the rearing.
A third white stallion was used for some of the stunts and chased, especially those where the Lone Ranger chased down and outlaw and jumps from his horse to take down the bad guy. These wer done by Bill Ward riding his own horse "Traveler." This was the horse that later became USC's trojan horse.
A funny note: Jay Silerheels, who played Tonto, later said that the Silvers were quite slow and he always had to rein in Scout as they galloped off into the sunset so he wouldn't leave the masked man in the dust!