Sunday, July 6, 2003

'Ranger' photo is boyhood memento

Prize possessions

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Robert Festenstein had his photo taken with the Lone Ranger when he was 4 years old.
(Craig Ruttle phkto)
| ZOOM |
Who: Robert D. Festenstein, 33, a lifetime fan of Clayton Moore, a k a "The Lone Ranger" of 1950s TV fame.

On display: A photo of himself with his hero taken when he was 4 years old.

Where: In both his office at Adath Israel Congregation (where he is administrator) and in the living room of the home he shares with his wife, Rachel Hodesh.

Masked man: "In 1974," Festenstein says, "Moore was traveling the country in costume making appearances on behalf of Dodge at local dealerships. He came to a Dodge dealership in Morton Grove, Ill., and my father (Bernard Festenstein) thought enough to drag me over there for a photo op. To my dad, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." The photo pictures a bewildered-looking boy standing next to the icon.

Cowboy keepsake: "I didn't have a clue who he was," Festenstein says, chuckling. "I remember going, but at the time I thought it was just a super cowboy. He even gave us a commemorative Lone Ranger bullet for posterity."

One moment in time: "When I was growing up," he recalls, "the photo always sat on my father's dresser. I can remember as a kid anytime anyone would come to the house that hadn't been there before, he would show them the picture - and the bullet, which he kept on his key chain."

Almost 30 years later, the photo continues to hold a special place in both the father's and son's hearts. "It is symbolic of the special relationship that I have with my dad," he says. "He still has the original back home in Chicago."

Missed opportunity: "My dad and I were both saddened a few years ago when Moore passed away," he says. "I had thought that someday there would be a reunion where my dad and I could revisit this television hero and role model. The closest I came to that was getting to see his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame when my wife and I were in Los Angeles last year.

"This photo has traveled with me throughout my life," he says. "It was there when I lived in Israel, it was there when I was married, and it will be there when my wife and I welcome our first child into the world this coming fall.

"All as a result of my dad taking me to get this one photo with a living legend."

Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202; e-mail: Please include a daytime, weekday phone number.

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