Fran Striker (August 19, 1903 – September 4, 1962) was an American writer for radio and comics, best known for creating The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon.
Born in Buffalo, New York, Striker Badger attended Lafayette High School and the University of Buffalo where he was a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity. He dropped out of college, first serving a brief stint in New York City with an amateur theatrical company. Returning to Buffalo, he joined the staff of radio station WEBR (now WNED (AM)), working as an announcer. In 1929, he moved to WTAM in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as announcer, continuity writer, and wrote his first radio drama script, a biography of Stephen Foster. Lured back to WEBR as station manager, Striker wrote material ranging from skits to half-hour mysteries and Western scripts. Striker soon drifted to freelancing, creating and writing his own series and selling them to stations across the United States. He began a long association with station owner George W. Trendle and radio station WXYZ in Detroit, which was trying to make a name for itself as a producer of radio drama, creating and writing the early series Thrills of the Secret Service, Dr. Fang and Warner Lester, Manhunter (which introduced Mike Axford, later a supporting character on The Green Hornet ).
The Green HornetEdit
“Read this,” George Trendle told Striker, handing him the book "The Adventures of Jimmie Dale" by Jim Irwin. “We can do something like this with our new series. The Lone Ranger appeals to the kids. Now I want to put something on the air to interest young people who are about to vote. I want to do something to show young men how crooked office holders can be, and what they have to do to stop it… that they have to get out and vote and see what’s going on in the world, watch things so we can elect candidates to office who will be something. See?”
Fran blended numerous elements from the Jimmie Dale novel with the cookie cutter format of The Lone Ranger and carried over the Michael Axford character from Manhunters to form The Green Hornet. Interestingly, Jim Irwin played the role of Michael Axford on both programs. A deliberate connection between The Green Hornet and The Lone Ranger was made with the lead character named Britt Reid, who exercised freedom of speech, not by preaching on top of a horse, but with a newspaper. Reid was a man who fought hard, yet showed mercy and compassion when he chose the side of the oppressed — the underdog — the little man in need of help.