Yukon King

Yukon King and Sergeant Preston

Sergeant Preston and Yukon King

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

Yukon King

Sergeant 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.”

King

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.

 

34 thoughts on “Yukon King

  1. “On King! On, you huskies!” For some reason I just started watching Sergeant Preston. In one episode he sides with the Indians against crooked white men, which the Lone Ranger also did. John Wayne was always killing them.

  2. I started watching this show and love it! It hasn’t come my favorite show. Does anyone know where I can buy some paraphernalia?

  3. Check out e-bay for Sgt Preston memorabilia. There is not much available it’s pretty much all DVDs and comic books. You can find some nice 8×10 publicity photos in B&W and there is one nice one in color of Sgt Preston & Yukon King that comes up every now and again. I’m looking for a Mounties uniform but the RCMP keeps pretty tight control of them.

  4. Dickinson Simmons was my uncle. He told me that they used two dogs for Yukon King, one for closeups and another for shots with the dog team. King always fault with the team dogs. He was a one dog show. Early in the show where he received a broken arm an finished the show in a cast. Well, in location outside Colorado Springs, a Badger spooked the Palamino he was riding and threw him really breaking his arm. Remember they rode English, no Western.

    • It’s ‘watch out where the huskies go and don’t you eat that Yellow snow’ written by the late great Frank Zappa. Circa 1967. As always the dog was the real star of the show. I grew up watching King and Lassie and Rin Tin Tin….and I have Labradors.
      Support all breed rescue groups!!!

  5. Sergeant Preston was really great show to teach watchers the true meaning of officers, police, cops and how helpful they are to those under their protection.
    Yukon King to me was the star though and show animals are man’s best friend, helper, and partners in our lives.

  6. I watched the show when I was a child. I recently found a station that has reruns.They are in color.I never saw them back then.MyTV was black and white. The show is bringing back fond memories.

  7. Dick Simmons was married to my Father’s sister, Nora. Everyone called,her Jonnie. I believe that there 82 shows in all. When show,was beginning, he rode a Pali mini up a trail when a Badger ran in front of the horse, spooking it and it threw my Uncle to the Ground, breaking his arm. They changed to Rex and threw my Uncle down a mine shaft, breaking his arm for the revision. Most of the shows were shot in color when everything was still black and white.
    He was married over 50 years to my Aunt and his best friend in Hollywood was Ronald Reagan.

  8. Thanks for that Dick Simmons trivia. I grew up on Quaker Puffed Rice because of Sgt. Preston and still have them at least once a week! I when I was a teen I tried to enlist in the RCMP but you had to be a Canadian in order to be a Mountie!

  9. Dick was from Minnesota. Was discovered by Clark Gable way back when. Also hung with the Rat Pack on the edges. Did many films with those in the Rat Oack.

  10. I still have my Certificate of Ownership for 1 square inch of Yukon real estate from the Quaker Oats company although from what I understand it’s now part of a golf course outside the Dawson city limits! The land was foreclosed upon due to non payment of real estate taxes.

  11. The shows first few episodes were B&W, then filmed in color. It was one of the first color shows. My Uncle played Sgt. Preston. I believe there are 82 Episodes.

    • I have a photo of your uncle and King autographed shortly before he passed. I’ll get it on the site.

  12. The Quaker Oats people swear that they never missed paying the tax bill on the 18 acres and they blame the town of Dawson for bad record keeping. In any event my square inch of the Yukon is gone forever.

    • I suspect the golf course developer had friends in city government who conveniently misplaced payments.

  13. There were two Yukon Kings, one that would work with the sled dogs and the one that was in solo shots otherwise it would fight with the other dogs.

  14. Such a great show. GRIT has them at 6am. Especially love noticing how the same props are used multiple times in the different shows. A very clean & bright striped hooded jacket was owned by an old prospector & also a young lady.

    • For many episodes, one cabin interior was used for many different uses. I know it was a store, office, home and others. After the exterior sets expanded, so it other interiors. Finally, they had towns built with serveral different interior sets.

    • The same with the old time actors.They would change clothes,wear beards or go unshaven.Also some actors were given their starting roles on the way up.

      • Every once in a while you’ll see a actor that got parts in major movies. Dick Simmons played a Colonel in “Sergeants Three” and an Attorney in “Robin an the 7 Hoods”. He also played the Navigator in “Eola Gay”.

  15. I grew up with with Yukon King and Sergeant Preston ,I enjoy the series, I used to listen to Sergeant Preston and Yukon King on radio back in 1958

  16. When I was young about 1960 (I was 6yo) my father told me King would be at our Roosevelt Field shopping mall ( on Long Island NY) I couldn’t wait to go see him. We went and I got to pet him,…it was a great memory. I just found it on TV and started taping it ( 6am) to watch with my wife. We both have gotten into old shows instead of the garbage on now

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