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.”


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.


68 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.

    • You need to watch “McClintock”. There was another, last name title that escapes my memory, in which Neville Brand plays an Indian who helps him recover his grandson who had been kidnapped by outlaws led by Richard Boone, I believe. I’m certain there are other examples. Don’t be talkin’ bad about the Duke.

      • You have the John Wayne movies mixed up. His grandson was kidnappe in Big Jake and Neville Brand was in Cahill U.S. Marshall. I watch all of the John Wayne movies that I can.

  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.

    • I thought Mr Simmons first name was Richard ?? I never saw a ‘Dickenson Simmons’ in the credits and I’ve seen most of the shows. Is your uncle still living ?

      • Richard Simmons, not the Fitness Guru. Credits showed Dick Simmons. He married my Father’s Sister, Nora. Don’t know where that Dickson came from. He was the Grand Marshall at the Christmas Parade in 1958 in Lynwood, CA. At least everyone in the Jr. High Band finally learned he was really my Uncle as I got to go talk to him before the Parade when no one else was allowed to get near him. I can remember seeing his show on his TV set when they first aired in LA area.

          • Maybe somewhat. I met Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Jane Mansfield thru him. But that was literally decades ago. He lived in Encino, CA then. I dated my Astronomy Professor in College and on day we were talking about childhood heros. She said her hero was “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. Well next time we went out, I said I had to drop something of at my Uncles. Some in we walked into his office and she like to have died when she realized her childhood hero wad thete right before her eyes. That’s the best surprise I’ve pulled on anyone.

    • 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!!!

      • I started watching “Sgt. Preston…” recently. I first saw it when it ran in the mid 1950s. Corny a bit, but SQUARE-JAWED and GREAT! I also have my ORIGINAL “SQUARE INCH OF KLONDIKE” from The “Big Inch Land Co.” The “Deed” came in a box of Quaker Oats.
        I understand, due to a financial error by the “Big Inch Land Co.,” the land went into receivership. I no longer own my “Square Inch of Klondike,” but I still have the “Deed.” I also have a genuine Alaskan Gold Nugget, weighing in at 22Gms.
        The program showed Love of Dogs, and my Trust will help all dogs it can finance after I’m in the Next Life. GOD Bless you, Sgt. Preston and King (and, “Rex”)!

  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.

    • I’ve noticed that as well. The malamutes’ facial markings are different. I believe there were always at least two dogs used in any production (prior to CGI, of course!). It’s easier for the dogs – less stress, time under the hot lights, etc. I start every weekday morning watching Sgt. Preston & Yukon King!!!

      • Malamutes/Huskys can look quite different after they shed their undercoat – something they do twice a year. The feature that does not change is their mask (facial markings). There was one dog used for most of the episodes, but they occasionally used a substitute. There’s one episode of the TV show where Sergeant Preston remarks on how King looks different and has lost weight, and King is noticeably a different dog.

  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

  17. Very cool …..just watched my first episode of “yukon king ” this morning on grit..6:00am Sept. 27th 2016 ……
    What a great show !!!!……..amazing how great the old tv shows were, simple sets,no crazy effects, no cursing , nudity …….BUT still cool !!!!

    • I watched one this morning in which a deceased gold prospector used Bible verses to lead his nephew to his hidden gold stash. The bad guys had stolen the letter to his nephew but their “limited knowledge” of the Biible prevented them from finding the stash. You won’t see anything like that on modern shows except for “Walker, Texas Ranger” which is also in reruns on GRIT just before “Sgt. Preston”. I have “Cut the Cable” so I watch a lot of GRIT.

  18. I fondly remember Sergeant Preston of The Yukon, but forgot his dog was, of course, a Husky. My last two dogs have been Malamute/wolf and Husky/wolf mixes. Great animals. The first was 85% Gray Wolf and only 15% Malamute. She was the smartest dog I have ever met. People who met her almost instantly liked her and, when she passed, all my kids friends came over to hold a wake for Sasha. The next one was a 50/50 Husky/Gray Wolf mix. Kiska was a great friend, but never was the same willing animal that Sasha was. She understood all the commands but would only execute them if I had a cookie in my hand. I think her brain was pure Husky. She lived to be 14 yrs. 7 mos. and I miss her and Sasha equally.

  19. I’m so glad. Sergeant Preston is on tv again. Its been many many years since I last watched it. I love the stories and Yukon king. He is a beautiful hiskie dog.

  20. I also would like to have King as a friend on Facebook. I can’t believe he has his own Facebook page ! I watch all the old shows on FETV in Florida.

  21. The 50s were a wonderful time as people pulled together and did not turn on each other so readily. The show epitomizes what is right with man and dog working together for the benefit of man. I love this show as it relaxes me and I am reminded there are still good in this world. Mark

  22. My late great uncle Ted played King the dog on Sergeant Preston. With his howling and barking I took him once to my third grade show-and-tell day. I was about eight or nine years old. He was a great man a great actor and did some modeling in Chicago in his early years. He was very lucky to have met my in Aunt Nanette in Detroit. They had a great life together and he passed away and Homestead Florida in the late 60s..

  23. I had dog as a kid that my dad trained that was as smart as king and Lasse watching these shows reminds me of him I miss those times and my dog Prince

  24. I get the show on our cable network . I like seeing the old cereal boxes at the end of each show. We had the mothers oats in the winter time and puff wheat and rice in warm weather. I agree the 50s where great tv shows and a great time to grow up in . I was born in 1950 . I recently saw 2 episodes where Sgt Preston didn’t say the famous line “well King this case is closed” . They did reuse a lot of the same coats on different episodes. I also record each episode and save it !

    • I too record them ,they bring back our happy years of growing up in the 50’s,the frosting on the cake would be Sky King,Rintin tin,Fury reruns also

  25. I recently discovered this show on the channel FETV which I get on satellite in the northeast.
    What a treat to see this show I had never heard of it and am enjoying it.
    It’s a great show and I am a fan of both Mr. Simmons and King.
    I was able to learn more on line all about the show and it’s history; it’s great!

    • Hi Freddie – The dog that played King in the TV series was a malamute. King is described as a husky in both the radio and TV shows. Fore a few months the phrase “On King, on you malamutes” was used on the radio show before returning to “On King, on you huskies.”

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