Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Trendle, George W.

George Washington Trendle was a Detroit radio and television pioneer best known as the producer of both The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet radio and television programs. Trendle was born on July 4, 1884 in Norwalk, Ohio. He established himself as a tough negotiator, specializing in movie contracts and leases while working as a lawyer in Detroit during the 1920s. Trendle partnered with local motion picture theater owner, John H. Kunsky to form the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company in 1929. They purchased the Detroit radio station WGHP, and changed the call letters to WXYZ.

Trendle worked as the company president and was active as the radio station manager, where he oversaw the creation of several iconic radio shows. In late January of 1933, The Lone Ranger began broadcasting on WXYZ, and on seven other stations in the Michigan Regional Network. The crime fighting adventures of The Green Hornet began on January 31, 1936 and ran until 1952. In February 1938, the tales of Sgt. William Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and his dog, Yukon King, were added to the lineup. Challenge of the Yukon lasted until June 1955.

The Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company slowly expanded its regional coverage during the 1930s, and was eventually purchased by the American Broadcasting Company in 1946. That same year, Trendle began a new partnership with H. Allen Campbell and Raymond Meurer, forming the Trendle-Campbell Broadcasting Company. In 1949, Trendle hired former MGM film producer Jack Chertok to produce The Lone Ranger television series, in which Trendle was credited as executive producer. Trendle sold the rights to The Lone Ranger to the Wrather Corporation for 3 million dollars in July of 1954. While the radio program ended at this time, the television series continued until 1957 with Jack Wrather as the new executive producer. Challenge of the Yukon was adapted for television as Sergeant Preston of the Yukon from 1955 to 1958.

Employee testimonies claim that Trendle was notoriously stingy in his business practices, a strategy that may have helped WXYZ survive the Great Depression. After a long and successful career in radio and television broadcasting, George W. Trendle died on May 10, 1972 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, at the age of 87. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.



Photo showing George W. Trendle behind the microphone, 1933 - 2012.032.004

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