Sergeant Preston

NOTE: My apologies for not keeping up with the comments.  I’m going to switch it so they show up as soon as they are made, rather than waiting for me to approve. 

Sergeant Preston and Yukon King

Sergeant Preston and Yukon King

Sergeant Preston and Yukon King
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon radio show and Quaker Oats company premium.

Sergeant Preston is an heroic North West Mounted Police officer, who polices the wilds of the Canadian frontier during the Yukon gold rush of the 1890s. Preston joined the Mounties to capture his father’s killer, and when he was successful he was promoted to sergeant. Preston works under the command of Inspector Conrad, and in the early years was often assisted by a French-Canadian guide named Pierre.

Sergeant William Preston is a fictional Canadian Mountie created by Fran Striker and George W. Trendle for the long-running radio serial Challenge of the Yukon.

Yukon King

Preston’s staunchest ally, who often does more work than him, is the “wonder dog,” Yukon King, “swiftest and strongest lead dog, breaking the trail in relentless pursuit of lawbreakers in the wild days of the Yukon.” King is the lead dog for Preston’s sled team, and his personal companion. King has a keen instinct for sensing criminals, and was equally valuable dealing with wild animals, often fending off and killing wolves, and once saving a small child from a wolverine. King had been a Husky puppy raised by a mother wolf. When a lynx attacks the wolf and her cub, Sergeant Preston arrives in time to save King. Preston then raised the animal as his own dog team captain. It is never stated whether King is an Alaskan or Siberian husky, but his true mother was part wolf.

Challenge of the Yukon Radio Program

Challenge of the Yukon began as a 15-minute serial, airing locally on Detroit radio station WXYZ from 1938 until May 28, 1947, when the program acquired a sponsor, Quaker Oats, and the series, in a half-hour format, moved to the networks. The program aired on ABC from June 12, 1947, to December 30, 1949. It was then heard on The Mutual Broadcasting System from January 2, 1950, through the final broadcast on June 9, 1955. In November 1951, the title changed to Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

Each episode has Sergeant Preston and Yukon King battling a new crisis, whether it be tracking down a murderer, a gang of thieves, or claim jumping miners. Yukon King, is, at times, a central character, with several episodes revolving around an event centering on him. During the course of the series, Preston successfully puts down a rebellion, and captures assassins.

The most prominent radio actors to play the role of Sergeant Preston were Paul Sutton and Brace Beemer. The barks, whines, and howls of Yukon King were supplied by one of the station’s sound effects men, Dewey Cole, and following Cole’s death, by actor Ted Johnstone.

Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Television Show

In 1955 the television series Sergeant Preston of the Yukon began, starring Richard Simmons. Running for 78 weekly episodes over three seasons from 1955 to 1958, the series had only two characters, Preston and King, who appeared in all 78 episodes, with no other single character appearing in more than 20 episodes, and most appearing in less than five. The half-hour adventure series — which was shot in color at a time when most viewers still had black-and-white televisions — became a popular, snowbound version of the sagebrush sagas that dominated the era’s airwaves.

The theme music for both the radio and television series was Emil von Reznicek’s overture to Donna Diana. The show’s episodes ended with the official pronouncement, “Well, King, this case is closed.”

Richard “Dick” Simmons

Richard “Dick” Simmons was a onetime MGM contract player who had small parts in more than 50 films by the mid-1950s. The handsome, square-jawed actor with the pencil-thin mustache did not become a star until he donned the broad-brimmed hat and red uniform of a Canadian Mountie. Simmons beat out 40 other actors for the starring role, which called on him to ski, snowshoe, drive a dog team, ride a horse, swim, wrestle, fistfight, paddle a canoe and climb mountains. Although his producers wanted him to use a double, the still-athletic actor refused.


On television, Yukon King was played by King, an Alaskan Malamute. Trained by Beverly Allen, King received star billing right after Preston, alongside Rex the horse.

After retirement King went to live with the family of the President of Jack Wrather Productions, who produced the Lassie and Lone Ranger television shows. He lived on the 2 acres of William Carey Graves. King lived to an advanced old age well into the 1960s. King was a very loving, obedient, long discussed pet remembered with much affection.


30 thoughts on “Sergeant Preston

  1. I am 72 years old and have this exact poster. I got it when I was in grade school. Is there any value in these posters?

    • The one above is about 8″ x 10″ and was purchased for about $10 on eBay. A poster sized one would probably be worth $50 or so, but I’m no expert.

  2. Thank you for expanding this site. I am so happy there is a proper online presence for King and Preston now. I have shared this on Twitter and Google+.

  3. i got to see a couple of episodes recently on one pf the WHT channels. they were the only ones that aired, i was hoping someone here has some info about more? i used to get up really early on saturday mornings to watch this and skyking reruns.

    • The season one and two DVDs are (or were) available on Make sure you get the DVDs title Season 1 and Season 2, NOT Part 1, Part 2, etc. The ‘Part’ DVDs only contain a few episodes, the ‘Season’ DVDs have an entire season of episodes. Season 3 is on DVD, but is really hard to find.

  4. This poster was sent to me in 1948 or 1949. I was about 8yrs. old at the time. I sent a name in for Kings puppy. Was a 3rd. place prize. It is a 19 25 tall. It is framed. Would like to know its worth.

  5. I have been reliving this series on “Grit TV” for several weeks, now. Who remembers the board game that Milton-Bradley came out with during the series run in the 1950’s? I sure do. My brother and the neighborhood kids played it a lot. Wish I had it today. Seeing the show in color (we had B/W when I was a kid) adds a whole new dimension. King was a gorgeous animal, and Dick Simmons (an extraordinary man in his own right) was as synonymous with “Sergeant Preston” as Clayton Moore was with the “Lone Ranger”. What I never knew until this day (I’ve been doing some digging) is that the theme music (and a lot of the incidental music) was written by Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek. A true pleasure that I continue to look forward to every weekday morning on “Grit TV”.

  6. Sargent Preston’s sidearm was a government issued Smith & Wesson Model 10 “”Victory” .38 cal. Revolver. This was standard issue in WW II to all non combat military personnel. The modification consisting of the lanyard loop connector on the pistol grip butt was part of the RCMP contract with S & W.

    • Glad someone pays attention to history. He should have had an 1876 RCMP Rifle, Cal. 45-60. But either a 92 or 94 Win. Rifle is what they used. He rode English, not Western. Hie first horse was a Palimino and it was scared by a Badger on a shoot and he was thrown from the Horse snd broke his arm. He got a new Horse, REX, and they changed script where he was thrown down a Mine Shafter and broke his arm that way for the shoe. Outdoor winter scenes were from Colorado Springs area. Now all Condos. I still watch his shows on FETV. His show was done in Color before they had Color TVs. Saw my first episode I watched on his TV. He was married to my wife’s sister, Nora.

  7. Is that channel available on dishnet? I used to watch it on early Saturday mornings when the TV stations played kid shows all day… Back in the 60’s before Cartoon Network… I rea

  8. I discovered this show just a few months ago and I LOVE it! I had been watching it on the Grit network–until they took it off the air. I can’t believe how much I miss Sergeant Preston and Yukon King! I’ve searched and the channel itself. Does anyone know of another network that might be airing it?

  9. I have a poster like that but has challenge of the Yukon on it at the bottom. And a signature in silver not sure if it’s an actual signature or not

  10. My great uncle W B (Mike) Eason appears as assistant director in about half of the tv episodes and directrd one. Anyone out there have any stories aboutthe crew that might involve my great uncle?

    • Was your uncle a director of Westerns and Serials at Republic Studios in the 1930’s-early 1950’s?Also, did he have the nickname of “Breezy” Easton?I believe the nickname was because he turned out Serials real fast!This was the Studio of great Western Stars such as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne,”Sunset”Carson, “Wild”Bill Elliot, Alan “Rocky”Lane, Monte Hale, Rex Allen, Don “Red” Barry, Bob Livingston, etc;

  11. I’m sure my uncle Ted Johnstone new him Ted played the bark of King for many years at the Detroit radio station. He met my Aunt in Chicago earlier when he was acting and modeling. They had a great life together and he passed away in Homestead Florida sometime in the 60s. He will always be known in our family as uncle Ted, the sidekick of Sergeant Preston a trust Worthy and loyal dog.

    • Dewey Cole did “Yukon King”For most of the Radio shows,also! He did other animal sounds on the show ,too!

      • Ted Johnstone was also affiliated with “The Lone Ranger” radio show, as well as the later director on the “Straight Arrow” radio show in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Ibelieve!

        • I goofed! It was Ted Robertson instead of Ted Johnstone who was the Director of “Straight Arrow” and did some things on “The Lone Ranger!” Sorry about that! Failing memory!

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  13. Here it is 2018 and we’re still talking about Sergeant Preston and his dog Yukon amazing show and I still watch it daily in fact I even have a malamute

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