Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hi-Ho Silver!

If you're a true horse lover, then you're likely quite familiar with some of the famous equines that have appeared over the years in both television and film (Black Beauty, Trigger, Buttermilk, Mister Ed, Flicka). While some of these horses are more 'notorious' than others, there is only one that began it all and subsequently carved a path for all other famous horses to follow.

Silver the horse, first became known to the public in 1933 when “The Lone Ranger” series was broadcast on the radio. In that same year, The Lone Ranger himself, along with his trusted steed Silver, were to make their first ever public appearance; for the event, a horse named “Hero” was the horse that went on to portray Silver. Following that, in 1949, a televised series of the radio version of “The Lone Ranger” was about to make its debut and the star of the show Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) personally chose the horse which would go on to play the role of Silver; “White Cloud” was a Morab Tennessee Walking Horse cross stallion from the Hugh Hooker Ranch in the San Fernando Valley, California. When selected for the role of Silver, he was 12 years old and stood 17 hands tall. While “White Cloud” didn't know many tricks he was very gentle and had a high rear that became the hallmark of The Lone Ranger and his horse.

In 1952, another horse was chosen to play Silver; the owner of “The Lone Ranger” television show, George W. Trendle, purchased a Morab Saddlebred cross from a farm in Peoria, Illinois named “Tarzen's White Banner.” He was four years old at the time but was renamed and then registered with the name “Hi-Yo Silver.” When actor John Hart briefly took over the Lone Ranger role in 1952, “Hi-Yo Silver” stepped in as the new “Silver.” In comparison to Silver #1, Silver #2 was very high strung and despite training from the famous handler and trainer Glenn Randall, he never could get used to the sounds of the camera. In 1953, Clayton Moore returned to the role he had first made famous on television and continued to use Silver #2 as his trusted horse, however, when scenes required a calm and obedient steed, Silver #1 was used.

For his efforts in a scene when he was required to drag The Lone Ranger to water, Silver #1 received the Animal Award of Excellence. Despite the award, it was Silver #2 that was always used when Clayton toured for publicity events. Eventually, Silver #1 was sold to Ace Hudkin's Stable where he went on to retire. In 1962, Silver #2 was retired and lived with horse wrangler Wayne Burson and his wife until the ripe old age of 29. Silver #2 died in 1974.

By: Shelley Vassall

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