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The Alaskans: Wikis


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The Alaskans
Genre Western
Directed by Leslie Goodwins
Richard Gordon
Charles F. Haas
Jesse Hibbs
Leslie H. Martinson
William A. Seiter
Richard Sinclair
Robert Sparr
Herbert L. Strock
Jaques Tourneur
George Waggner[1]
Starring Roger Moore
Dorothy Provine
Jeff York
Ray Danton
Frank DeKova
Theme music composer "Gold Fever" by
Mack David and
Jerry Livingston[2]
Composer(s) Max Steiner
Country of origin  USA
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 37
Executive producer(s) William T. Orr[3]
Producer(s) Barry Ingster
Harry Tatelman
Charles Trapnell
Editor(s) David Wages
Robert B. Warwick
Location(s)  California
Running time 60 mins.
Original channel ABC
Picture format 1.33:1
Audio format monoaural
First shown in Sundays
at 9:30pm
Original run 4 October 1959 –
19 June 1960
Related shows Appears to have
shared scripts but
not characters or
settings with:

The Alaskans is a 1959 television series set in the port of Skagway, Alaska during the 1890s. The show features Roger Moore as "Silky Harris" and Jeff York as "Reno McKee", a pair of adventurers intent on swindling travelers bound for the Yukon Territories during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush.[4] Their plans are inevitably complicated by the presence of "Rocky Shaw" (Dorothy Provine), "an entertainer with a taste for the finer things in life".[5]

The show lasted for just one year, and is principally notable for being Moore's first regular work on American television.


Relationship with Maverick

The Alaskans is closely related to the series Maverick through broadcast and production.

Maverick was a lead-in for ABC's Sunday night of western dramas. For the 1959-60 season, Sundays began with Colt .45 and Maverick, went to Lawman and The Rebel, and concluded with The Alaskans.[6]

This may have influenced the career path of Roger Moore. The same year that The Alaskans was canceled, James Garner decided to leave Maverick. Moore became, under protest[7], Garner's replacement, playing Bret Maverick's cousin Beau in the fourth season of Maverick.

Maverick and The Alaskans were also related through script, if not narrative. The two shows were not part of the same fictional world, as evidenced by a lack of crossovers between the two. Because of the 1960 Writers Guild of America strike as well as an ongoing Warner Bros. policy to save money on writers, however, The Alaskans inherited a certain amount of scripted material from Maverick. Moore bristled at the lack of originality in scripts: "An old Bronco script would interchange with an Alaskans or Maverick. In some cases, even the dialogue stayed unchanged."[7] In 2007, Moore noted, "Quite often I realized that we were filming Maverick scripts, with the names changed."[8]

Since the show has not been available to home audiences for over 40 years, independent verification of either claim is difficult. However, The Alaskans may have drawn from other series, as well. One viewer has detailed which specific Maverick, Sugarfoot and Cheyenne episodes spawned clones on The Alaskans. Cannibalizing scripts was standard operating procedure at Warner Bros. television. Their first big hit in the detective genre, 77 Sunset Strip, was copied in analogous series such as Bourbon Street Beat, Surfside Six, and Hawaiian Eye, with only the locations changed - L.A to New Orleans, Miami Beach, and Hawaii. The basic characters were identical with only the character parts which spoke in jargon being re-written eg. horse racing tout to jazz slang. It was an assembly line factory in the strictest sense of the phrase.This pre-dated the troubles with the Writers Guild. [9]

Roger Moore's views

For Roger Moore, the series is memorable for being "my most appalling television series ever". In particular, he found that attempting to recreate Alaskan exteriors on a studio backlot in California made for disagreeably hot work days.[10] The show also caused some marital strife for the actor when he had to admit to wife Dorothy Squires that he had fallen in love with co-star Dorothy Provine.[7]



  1. ^ Roger Moore's official site
  2. ^ Classic TV Themes entry for The Alaskans
  3. ^ Classic TV Archive entry on The Alaskans
  4. ^ Episode World's synopsis of The Alaskans
  5. ^ The Alaskans at
  6. ^ The Rebel at
  7. ^ a b c Moore, Roger and Ken Roche. "The Roger Moore Story". TV Times Extra. Independent Publications, Ltd. 1972.
  8. ^ Moore answer to a June 2007 question on his official website
  9. ^ WBTV Posse forum thread, giving parent episodes on other programs and their children on The Alaskans. Free registration required to view.
  10. ^ Moore, Roger and Ken Roche. "The Roger Moore Story". TV Times Extra. Independent Publications, Ltd. 1972.

External links



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