Unknown Stories of WNY: Buffalo Roots of The Lone Ranger

BUFFALO, NY - Fran Striker may not be a household name, but I would bet that you have heard of his work. Striker was born and raised in Buffalo, went to U.B. and then got his first radio job at WEBR Radio.

When he was at WEBR striker became an announcer and writer. One of the most famous characters of all-time flowed from his brain, through his typewriter, and out over the air. That legendary character was the Lone Ranger. Ultimately the General Manager of Detroit radio station WXYZ heard the radio drama and hired Striker to come work in the Motor City. 

In 1933, the Lone Ranger hit the airwaves in Detroit and became an immediate success. The Mutual Radio Network syndicated it and it went coast-to-coast. The next year WXYZ offered Striker a big raise and new title in exchange for the rights to the show. Striker continued to write into the 1960's, while the owners of the show struck it rich.

In 1954 WXYZ sold the rights for $3.6 million. In 2015 NBC/Universal bought them for $3.8 billion. Neither Striker, nor his family ever received a dime of that. Striker had moved back to Western New York decades earlier, and was killed in an automobile accident in Elma on September 4, 1962.

(© 2017 WGRZ)


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