Thursday, December 23, 2010
RIP: VOICE OF THE LONE RANGER
Fred Foy, an announcer best known for his booming, passionate lead-ins to "The Lone Ranger" radio and television series, died Wednesday of natural causes at his Woburn, Mass., home, his daughter said. He was 89.
Nancy Foy said her father worked as an actor before landing the job as the announcer and narrator on "The Lone Ranger" radio show in 1948.
The show's live lead-in introduced its masked cowboy hero and his trusted horse with the line: "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-Yo Silver!' ... The Lone Ranger!"
Foy's dramatic introduction and narration, performed in a powerful baritone, were so good it "made many people forget there were others before him," said radio historian Jim Harmon, who called him "perhaps the greatest announcer-narrator in the history of radio drama.
"He pronounced words like no one else ever had — 'SIL-ver,' 'hiss-TOR-ee.' But hearing him, you realized everyone else had been wrong," Harmon wrote in his book, "Radio Mystery and Adventure and Its Appearances in Film, Television and Other Media."
Foy never tired of giving a spirited rendition of "The Lone Ranger" introduction to anyone, anywhere, who would ask, his daughter said.
"Dad would do the intro at the drop of a hat," she said. "He loved it. He loved for us to let people know so he would be asked to do it."
Foy was born in Detroit in 1921, graduated from that city's Eastern High School in 1938 and landed a job on the announcing staff of radio station WXYZ in Detroit in 1942. He was drafted into the Army that year and served in an Armed Forces Radio unit in Cairo during World War II.
Foy returned to WXYZ in 1945, then three years later won the job on "The Lone Ranger," even stepping into the lead role for one radio broadcast when actor Brace Beemer had laryngitis.
Foy's son, Fritz Foy, said the introduction's signature opening line, "Hi-Yo, Silver!" was done by an actor on the radio show, though his father belted it out for the TV series.
Foy also performed on radio series including "The Green Hornet" and "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon."
In 1960, Foy began working for the ABC network. He spent five years as an announcer on the "The Dick Cavett Show" and narrated documentaries. He left ABC in the mid-1980s and later retired to Woburn, Nancy Foy said.
Foy is survived by his wife of 63 years, Frances Foy, their three children and three grandchildren.