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Texas Rangers come to rescue of Lone Ranger

By HOWARD GANTMAN

MALIBU, Calif. -- Unarmed since his luggage was stolen in Houston, the Lone Ranger offered up a hearty 'Hi-Ho Silver' and tipped his white hat to the Texas Rangers who tracked down his gunbelt and six-shooters and returned them.

Famed for playing the masked man in the television series of the same name, Clayton Moore twirled the Colt .45s and yelled 'Hi-Ho Silver!' when he retrieved the two pistols and other items Wednesday afternoon at the Malibu sheriff's station.

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'I've got a lot of faith in the American people,' said the actor who played the Lone Ranger in the television series from 1949 to 1956 and still makes personal appearances as the legendary symbol of law and order.

'Kemo sabe, these Texas Rangers are good men,' Moore said from his San Fernando Valley home. 'I'd like to tip my white hat to all of them and the Malibu sheriff's deputies, too.'

Moore, 73, said he received a call Tuesday from a lawyer in Beaumont, Texas, who said he had the missing items and wanted to return them. The actor had lost his luggage while flying home from a benefit in Houston on Christmas Eve.

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The items include 36 silver-colored bullets that carry the inscription 'The Lone Ranger 45.'

The actor's wife, Connie, said the Texas Rangers had called about the missing items.

'Somebody got (the items) from somebody who had stolen them and the Texas Rangers are hot on their trail,' she said.

Moore said the Texas lawyer, Joseph Hawthorn, described the $5,000 holsters and Colt pistols in detail.

Hawthorn said a client of his had 'purchased them not knowing they were stolen.'

'It was only after he started showing them around that people said, 'Hey, I think I read something about the Lone Ranger having his guns stolen.' He checked around and found out they were stolen and contacted me to get them back to the Lone Ranger,' Hawthorn said.

'I don't know how (the client) got them. He bought them thinkingthey had belonged to the Lone Ranger, but he didn't think there was anything wrong.'

Moore said the whereabouts of two Lone Ranger costumes was still unknown. He said he may decide in the future not to wear the outfit - originals from his television show -- at public appearances.

Moore won the right to wear the Lone Ranger's trademark black mask in 1984 after losing it to the production company that had made one of the Lone Ranger movies.

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In 1979 a Superior Court judge, acting on a suit brought by the owners of the series, told Moore he could not wear his famous black mask. In 1985, after six years of wearing sunglasses in lieu of the mask, another judge reinstated Moore's right to wear the mask.

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