Sargeant Preston of the Yukon

In 1955, the same year the radio show ended, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon premiered as a television series.  Mainly filmed at Ashcroft, Colorado, the series was telecast on CBS from September 29th, 1955, to September 25th, 1958.

Richard Simmons starred as Sgt. Preston, and was supported by Yukon King and Rex, now played by real animals. The dog cast as King was not a husky, however, but a large Alaskan Malamute.  Charles Livingstone, who had worked on the radio version, directed several episodes.  Though no plot lines seem to have been re-used from the radio show, they were generally built upon the same themes.  The same few buildings were regularly seen as part of many settlements in the shows.  The additional visual component of the snowy Yukon, however, did give the television version a different feel but like all such films when filmed on a stage set, the frosty breath of people in Arctic conditions could not be simulated.  Generally, however, there was an outdoor feel though a few times shadows on the skyline could be seen.  Genuine outdoor scenes were added to give the show some reality though the viewer could not help but notice a sameness to them as they were all filmed in the same area and reused at times.

The first two seasons were produced by Trendle-Campbell-Meurer, and the show was broadcast in the same time slot as ABC’s The Lone Ranger.  In its last season, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon was purchased and produced by the Jack Wrather Corporation.
In 1955, the Quaker Oats company gave away land in the Klondike as part of the Klondike Big Inch Land Promotion which was tied in with the television show.  Genuine deeds each to one square inch of a lot in Yukon Territory, issued by Klondike Big Inch Land Co. Inc., were inserted into Quaker’s Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice cereal boxes.

 

 

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