Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review: Challenge of the Yukon

Call me kid-like but I find favor in a lot of the juvenile shows of times past. The Challenge of the Yukon is one of my favorites.

This show was the third juvenile series produced by radio station WXYZ in Detroit (the others being The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet.) Each had remarkable similarities, such as the announcers, actors and to a large extent, the structure of the show. Even the scripts are similar in nature and I can imagine a lot of script reworking for the various shows.

The plot revolves around Canadian Royal Mounted policeman Sgt. Preston and his dog team of Huskies, led by the ever-smart, always loyal Yukon King or just plain old King.

King was as big a part of the show at solving crimes as was Sgt. Preston; while Preston would do the detective work that involved interaction with the townsfolk, King did all the other detective work, often sensing a bad character even before a crime had been committed! The dog also could maul a criminal with the best of them and was always doing crazy stuff like saving people. He was Lassie on steroids.

Preston was a very calm, easy-going, nice man and most everyone loved him. King too had his fans. But get them angry or threaten either of them and you had made an enemy. Preston had a gun barely rarely used it, he'd rather let King take a bite out the criminal and it was more fun on radio, anyway.

This isn't serious radio - but it's fun radio.

I always got a kick out of the sponsor - Quaker Puffed rice and Quaker Puffed Wheat saying the cereal was "shot from guns." This really had nothing to do with the radio show as they had been saying this since the very early days of the 1930's and Sgt. Preston debuted (locally) in 1938.

There were more than 500 shows made (probably closer to 1000.)  Three different actors played Sgt. Preston but most people remember Paul Sutton as the Sergeant, because he also played him on TV.

Some of the shows are 30 minutes and the rest are 15 minutes long.

I really like the show.  I give it 3 and a half to 4 stars.

1 comment:

  1. You are on target with this one. You did not need to solve the plot or anything like that. You sat back waiting for King to go into action. The description of it being a fun show is correct. No Phillip Marlowe intrigue or Jack Webb dialogue. Just plain fun.


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