Wed, 12/22/2010

Fred Foy, announcer on "The Lone Ranger" has died

The Archive of American Television is sad to report that announcer/narrator ("The Lone Ranger," "The Dick Cavett Show") Fred Foy, died today at the age of 89.

Best known for his narration of The Lone Ranger, radio historian Jim Harmon described Foy as "the announcer, perhaps the greatest announcer-narrator in the history of radio drama." His stentorian delivery of the program's lead-in thrilled his audience for years and helped the program achieve even greater popularity and status. Most radio historians agree that Foy’s Lone Ranger introduction is the most recognized opening in American radio.

Here's a short Archive interview clip of Mr. Foy re-creating his famous "Lone Ranger" opening:

Fred Foy's full Archive of American Television interview can be viewed here.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the USO in honor of Mr. Foy's military service in WW II.

Full interview description:

Fred Foy was interviewed for two hours plus in Studio City, CA.  Foy talked about his first work in broadcasting at the 250-watt radio station WMBC, where he worked for on-the-job experience.  He talked about his start at Detroit station WXYZ, interrupted by his service during World War II, and his return to the station following his service.  He gave a description of his years during the war, working in Cairo, Egypt as the “American” announcer on the all-British announcing staff there, and how he came to participate in a radio broadcast opposite Jack Benny.  He spoke in great detail about his long tenure as narrator for the legendary WXYZ radio show “The Lone Ranger.”  For “The Lone Ranger” he described a typical workweek on the series and gave his impressions of Brace Beemer (who played the Ranger) and others in the cast.  Foy performed the famous opening narration (“A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver….”) and recounted the story of how, for one broadcast, he subbed for Brace Beemer, who had laryngitis.  Foy then talked about The Lone Ranger’s transition to television: noting actors who moved from the radio to the television show, describing the back story of the “Lone Ranger” character (re-established on television), and relating his meeting of television’s “Lone Ranger,” Clayton Moore.  Foy also looked back on his association with WXYZ’s other popular radio adventures “The Green Hornet” and “Challenge of the Yukon.”  He chronicled his move to New York City and his over twenty-year tenure as a staff announcer at the ABC network.  He discussed several of the shows he worked on, including The Les Crane Show (ABC’s first foray into late-night programming), The Dick Cavett Show, and The Daytime Emmy Awards.  Lastly, he related his experience appearing at SPERDVAC (The Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy)’s 75th anniversary celebration of “The Lone Ranger.”  B-roll included photos from Foy’s career in radio and television (“The Lone Ranger,” The Dick Cavett Show) and a shot of the program cover from the SPERDVAC event.  The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on May 5, 2008.