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Francis Hamilton Striker papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0018
The collection consists of bound scripts penned by Striker from about thirty different radio series. It also includes flyers, correspondence and news releases from his YWCA television writing course and many articles, clippings, and other memorabilia regarding The Lone Ranger series.

Dates

  • 1929-1986

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

Francis Hamilton Striker papers, 1929-1986 are open for research.
Please note: Box 19 only is stored onsite. The remainder (and bulk) of the collection is stored off-site. Access to collection requires 3 business days’ notice. Contact University Archives at (716) 645-2916 or lib-archives@buffalo.edu to schedule an appointment.

Copyright

Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Extent

24 Linear Feet (19 cartons, 1 manuscript box)

Overview

Papers include the bound radio scripts for many of Fran Striker's radio serial dramas including the first few years of both the The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet series. The collection also includes records regarding a YWCA television writing course Striker taught in Buffalo, New York and resources about Striker's most famous radio serial, The Lone Ranger.

Biographical Note

On January 30, 1933 radio audiences in Detroit Michigan were first invited to listen to the adventures of a mysterious masked hero called the Lone Ranger. The show was an immediate success and soon audiences all over the country were tuned-in to listen to the dramatic fast paced western thriller. Today, the masked figure of the Lone Ranger is a legendary icon in pop culture, but he got his humble beginnings from radio scriptwriter, Francis Hamilton Striker.

Born on August 19th 1903, Fran Striker grew up in the city of Buffalo, New York. After graduating from Lafayette High School, he attended the University of Buffalo to study chemistry for three years. During his junior year, Striker dropped out of school to start a career in radio. He was soon hired by local Buffalo radio station, WEBR, as a "jack-of-all-trades". Striker worked at everything from radio announcer to studio manager. As one of WEBR's scriptwriters, he wrote for over 40 different series. He penned scripts for westerns, mysteries, science fiction adventures, and even romantic comedies.

Striker found he excelled at script writing and later quit WEBR to become a freelance radio scriptwriter. When George W. Trendle, station owner of WXYZ in Detroit Michigan, asked him to write four episodes of a western thriller starring a masked rider, Striker eagerly accepted the assignment. Later, after the incredible success of The Lone Ranger radio series, he was offered a full-time position at WXYZ. Striker churned out an incredible amount of work during the 20 years he was scriptwriter at the station. According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, it was estimated he wrote around 60,000 words a week. The Lone Ranger series ran until September 3, 1954 with almost 3,000 individual episodes.

While at WXYZ, Striker was also responsible for several other radio programs. In 1936, he created the contemporary crime fighter series, The Green Hornet starring hero Britt Reid as the Green Hornet (who also happened to be the grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger).

Once The Lone Ranger television series became more popular than the radio series in the early 1950s, Striker decided it was time to move his family back to his native Western New York. Soon after settling in Arcade, New York, he began teaching a television writing course at the Franklin Street YWCA back in his hometown of Buffalo.

Striker also renewed his relations with the University at Buffalo. In 1955 he donated the first five years of The Lone Ranger radio scripts in a formal ceremony with UB President C.C. Furnas. In 1962 Fran Striker agreed to teach a creative writing course at the University, but was killed on September 4th in a car accident.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in three series: I. Radio scripts, II. The Lone Ranger related materials, and III. Creative Writing course.

Physical Location

Please note: Box 19 only is stored onsite. The remainder (and bulk) of the collection is stored off-site. Access to collection requires 3 business days’ notice. Contact University Archives at (716) 645-2916 or lib-archives@buffalo.edu to schedule an appointment.

Acquisition Information

In 1955, Fran Striker donated the bound radio scripts for the first five years of The Lone Ranger to the University. In 1967, Janet Striker (Mrs. Fran Striker) deposited the bulk of the collection's radio scripts including the first six years of The Green Hornet. Her letter to former University Archivist, Shonnie Finnegan stated, "Your recent request for books or manuscripts from my husband's collection is one of several. The others I have refused. But after consulting my children, we have come to a decision. My husband was born in and lived a great part of his life in Buffalo. I know he was proud of his association with the University. We feel this is where some of his manuscripts belong."

In 1967 Beth Hollyer from the Franklin Street YWCA donated the materials regarding Striker's television writing course. In 1980 Mrs. Lee Weinstock donated the Captain Silver: episode 55-4, "The Dead Past" scripts and The Lone Ranger Special Program for the Twentieth Anniversary. In 2004 Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer Spiller donated the 1956 Lone Ranger movie poster and supporting materials.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

See archivist for more reference clippings and articles on Fran Striker and The Lone Ranger.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Archives Staff.
Title
Finding Aid for the Francis Hamilton Striker papers
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Archives Staff.
Date
2008
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
und

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Contact:
420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-2916
716-645-3714 (Fax)