March 27,1921 - December 22, 2010
Fred Foy was the narrator for The Lone Ranger radio show beginning July 2, 1948 and continuing until the series ended on September 3, 1954.
Fred Foy was the announcer on "The Lone Ranger"
by Joe Southern, The Silver Bullet
NOTE: This is from my first interview with Fred Foy in 2002. Following it are subsequent interviews from The Silver Bullet. More information can be found on the Lone Ranger Radio page.
Most people recognize the deep, rich tones of Fred Foy’s voice as the announcer for The Lone Ranger on the radio and on the introduction to the television program. But for one radio broadcast Foy was called to action as the masked man. George Trendle, the show’s creator, had asked Foy to understudy Brace Beemer just in case something happened. On March 29, 1954, something did.
“Brace came in to do the show and he had the worst case of laryngitis,” Foy said.
So with Beemer out of action, Foy stepped in and played the lead for the one episode. It was a moment he’ll never forget. “It was a very well-written show,” he recalled.
The episode was titled “Burly Scott’s Sacrifice” and was written by Don Beattie. Ken Meyer played the part of Tonto and Roland Blanchette was Burly Scott.
Foy was just a lad when The Lone Ranger debuted on the radio on ABC in 1933. But that young boy grew up to become one of the most widely recognized names and voices during the golden age of radio. And in 1948 – one year before The Lone Ranger leaped to the television screen – Foy became the announcer for the radio drama. He replaced Harry Golden and went on to become the man most widely recognized as the announcer for The Lone Ranger.
“We did not realize at the time that it would go on to be a part of Americana,” he said.
They did know at the time that they were part of something special.
“We enjoyed working so much with all of the people on the show. They were all so adept at what they did. They were so very creative. They did bring those characters to life,” he said.
Throughout most of the 1950s the hearty crew cranked out three shows a week. On top of that, to help keep continuity between radio and television, Trendle had Foy do the announcing for both programs. For the first few episodes on TV Gerald Mohr did the narration. But it wasn’t long before Foy’s familiar voice boomed out of a different box in people’s living rooms.
Since they worked out of the WXYZ studios in Detroit, Foy had to record the television announcements and ship them to the television studios in California. As a result, he never worked with the television cast.
“I never had the pleasure of meeting and working with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels,” he said, noting that he got to meet Moore years later.
Today Foy lives near Boston in Massachusetts. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2000.
Golden Voice of Radio
by Joe Southern, The Silver Bullet
The room went dark and the screen lit up with the familiar opening of The Lone Ranger television show. As the audience watched clips of Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels and listened to the William Tell Overture, the narrator’s voice came on with the familiar opening, “A fiery horse with a speed of light …”
hen the lights went up at the 22nd annual Golden Boot awards the assembled guests discovered that the narration was not part of the recording. Announcer Fred Foy was standing at the podium.
“I got a reaction from the audience … They figured it was all on the soundtrack. When we came to the end of it the lights came up and they realized I was doing it in person,” he said.
Foy was the recipient of the special Golden voice of Radio Award.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” he said.
There were between 800 to 1,000 people at the event at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City, Calif.
In addition to Foy’s award, Golden Boot recipients included Val Kilmer, Scott Glenn, Randy Quaid, Robert Horton, Pat Hingle and Rob Word. Sweethearts of the West honors went to Gale Storm, Noel Neill, Lois Hall and Elaine Riley. Presenters included Sidney Poitier, Fess Parker and Tom Selleck. Ben Cooper was the master of ceremonies.
In addition to re-creating the opening of “The Lone Ranger” for the audience, Foy gave some brief remarks. “I told them some anecdotes of doing live radio,” he said.
The audience was obviously receptive to what he had to say.
“I got a standing ovation … I was just thrilled to death, I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
The occasion was also an opportunity for a Foy family reunion.
Next up for Foy is the annual Friends of Old Time Radio convention in New Jersey. Instead of re-creating another Lone Ranger drama, he will play the lead in a re-creation of “The Green Hornet.” As you know, the Green Hornet is the grandnephew of the Lone Ranger.
For those of you on eBay, you might want to keep an eye out for some of Foy’s auctions. Lately he has been auctioning off his supply of promotional posters from his lecture series in the 1970s. It’s a great chance to get one autographed. Foy has also published his memoirs in a booklet called “From XYZ to ABC.”
From Green Hornet to "XYZ to ABC"
by Joe Southern, The Silver Bullet
It may not have been part of a national broadcast, but Fred Foy hit the old time radio hero trifecta in October when he voiced the Green Hornet at the annual Friends of Old-Time Radio convention in New Jersey.
“I did play the part of the Lone Ranger, which was broadcast nationwide, and I did play Sgt. Preston, which was broadcast nationwide … Now I have played the Green Hornet,” he said, noting that it was an un-broadcast radio re-creation.
Attending the annual Friends of Old-Time Radio convention capped an outstanding year for Fred. He was honored at Lone Ranger Radio Days in Mt. Carmel, Ill., where he and Fran placed their footprints in cement. In August he was given the Golden Voice of Radio award at the Golden Boot Awards.
He said he always enjoys participating at the convention in New Jersey.
“It’s a lot of fun. There are a lot of wonderful people there,” he said.
At the moment Fred doesn’t have any public appearances scheduled.
As promised in the last issue, we did review Fred’s memoirs in his booklet “FRED FOY from XYZ to ABC.” If your image of Fred is that of a stoic man, poised and stalwart in his presentation, think again! Fred reveals a mischievous side of himself in his book. His days as a broadcaster were filled with numerous jokes and crackups. And it didn’t stop when Uncle Sam came calling.
Fred offers a delightful look at his career and provides some very telling insights through the behind-the-scene stories. There are also several photographs of Fred as a broadcaster and in his cut scenes from “The Legend of the Lone Ranger.” It’s a light, enjoyable read that should be on the bookshelf of every Lone Ranger or old-time radio fan.
"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi Yo Silver!" The Lone Ranger. "Hi Yo Silver, away!" With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!"