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This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.

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by Kathleen O'Reilly, ©2013
(From Radio Recall, April 2013)

Any survey aimed at identifying the most popular 'old time radio' show of all times would certainly list The Lone Ranger at or near the top. Even the first bars of the William Tell Overture typically trigger countless childhood memories. Decades after its first broadcast, there remains a persistent hunger for more episodes to stir the imagination's powerful ability to join with the Lone Ranger as he successfully battles injustice with his ever-faithful companion Tonto.

Part of that hunger will be satisfied June 25-26 in East Lansing,Michigan. Featuring the matchless sound effect talents of Mark and Marsha Bush, a script specially written by Jack French will use his considerable talent and knowledge of the Western genre to make it possible for the our cowboy hero to ride again---this time across the campus of Michigan State University.

Led by these three MWOTRC linchpins, the scripted radio performance to include adults and children alike, will be one of the evening entertainment offerings at Michigan State University's annual Grandparents University (GPU). This increasingly popular GPU concept is catching on at colleges across the country but MSU's remains the most extensive vited to a three-day program in which they bunk together and share their meals on campus while attending a wide array of classes. Two generations learn together side-by-side at what the faculty describe as the highlight of their own academic year You can see the details of MSU's GPU program and class offerings at


Why select Michigan State University as The Lone Ranger site? Like most native Detroiters I have deep hometown pride not only in The Lone Ranger but the Green Hornet and Challenge of the Yukon. (Jack French is likewise a Michigan native!) As my great nephew Caleb looks forward to his third year at GPU with his grandpa, my brother John, I thought his GPU generation should have the fun of learning this part of Detroit's history All the better to hear back stories of this most iconic legacy of the Golden Era of Detroit radio.

The script is being built around instantly identifiable sites and fixtures on the MSU campus, including the Michael Jordan statue so popular with youngsters of all ages. A lookout in the plot will be poised on Beaumont Tower and the sound of the creaky drawbridge sound effect will transport the audience to the Red Cedar River that flows around the campus. There will even be a chance for the audience to vote on which of two endings to the plot they want to see unfold.

The program will also shed light on why the originators of these Detroit legendary radio programs selected classical music for the theme songs rather than simply relying on Western and other popular music of the day Grandparents and grandchildren will learn why Tonto came from the Pottawatomie tribal nation, not from some other tribe, and many more such fascinating insights.

The evening's program will also be a rare opportunity for children of all ages to learn the art of sound effects with demonstrations to include a variety of examples of what children can duplicate once back home or in the classroom. As part of their Michigan visit, plans are also underway to have a series of media interviews with Jack, Mark and Marsha. This way many in the Midwest far beyond the walls of the MSU campus can be exposed not only to their expertise but our hopefully contagious enthusiasm for this American classic.