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Stephen Eoannou

“I'm the author of the novel Yesteryear (SFWP 2023), an imagining of how Fran Striker created The Lone Ranger character & sold it for $10.”


About Me

I am the author of the novels After Pearl (SFWP 2025), Yesteryear (SFWP 2023), Rook (Unsolicited Press 2022), and the short story collection Muscle Cars (SFWP 2015). I've been awarded an Honor Certificate from The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Best Short Screenplay Award at the 36th Starz Denver Film Festival, and the 2021 Eyelands International Book Award For Historical Fiction. I hold an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and an MA from Miami University. I live and write in my hometown of Buffalo, New York, the setting and inspiration for much of my work.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of The Lone Ranger’s radio premier on Detroit’s WXYZ. Radio was just the start of a nine-decade gallop The Ranger took through American pop culture. The masked man conquered all mediums: television, movies, books, and comic books. Even today, Ranger toys and giveaway items remain highly collectable, and franchise reboots occur on a regular basis. But who was the original writer behind the mask? Was it a struggling freelancer from Buffalo? A wealthy Detroit radio station owner? Or did a team of writers create one of our most beloved and enduring heroes?

Fran Striker, a struggling radio playwright who was supporting a dozen family members during The Depression, created and sold the rights to The Lone Ranger to WXYZ owner George Trendle for ten dollars. Soon after, Trendle began to claim in interviews and articles that it was he, not Striker, who created The Lone Ranger character. Trendle would continue to make these claims until his death in 1972. Whenever asked who created The Lone Ranger in private, Striker would shrug and say that people in the radio business knew the truth. When asked in public, he would answer that only God creates. Striker never confronted Trendle about the lie. He continued working for him until Trendle sold The Lone Ranger rights in 1954 to the Wrather Corporation for three million dollars, a record sale at the time.

I've done extensive research on Striker and the controversy around The Lone Ranger's creation for my novel Yesteryear (SFWP 2023). Anyone interested in American pop culture, the early days of radio and television, and writing in general will be interested in Striker's little-known story.

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