In June 1932, George Trendle, the owner of radio station WXYZ, decided to drop network affiliation and produce his own radio programs. Jim Jewell was hired as the dramatic director for the radio station. He supplied the actors from his own repertory company, the "Jewell Players".
Jewell was part of the station staff that worked out the original concepts for The Lone Ranger. Jewell is also credited for selecting The William Tell Overture as the theme music for the series. "Ke-mo sah-bee", Tonto's greeting to the masked Ranger, was derived from the name of a boys' camp owned by Jewell's father-in-law Charles W. Yeager. Camp Kee-Mo-Sah-Bee operated from 1911 until 1941 on Mullet Lake south of Mackinac, Michigan. After the radio show became popular, Yeager held "Lone Ranger Camps" at his camp.
Jewell produced, directed and occasionally wrote many of the early episodes for The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet. He was the director for both series from their beginning up until 1938. Jewell's sister, Lenore Allman (Lenore Jewell Allman) wanted to play a role in a radio series at WXYZ so Jim wrote her into The Green Hornet. She played Lenore Case, the Green Hornet's secretary, for 28 years and is in the Radio Hall of Fame.
Jewell left WXYZ in 1938, and moved to Chicago and worked as a director-producer at WBBM (AM), the CBS radio affiliate in Chicago.
He directed Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy beginning in 1938 until the series ended in 1951. From 1951-1955, Jewell was the producer/director of The Silver Eagle, a mountie adventure which ran on ABC and starred Jim Ameche, the brother of movie star Don Ameche.
As the era of radio dramatic series came to an end, attempted to bring The Silver Eagle to television.
He died from a heart attack in Chicago in August 1975.
- Obituary in Time magazine - August 18, 1975
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