Monday, March 29, 2010

Yukon King-- A Dog Who Speaks Cat and Other Animal Languages-- Dogs in Space


On King. On you huskies. So opened The Challenge of the Yukon radio show-- better known as Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. The show ran on radio from 1938-1955 and on television from 1955-1958. It began on Chicago's WXYZ. That station also produced the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet. (The Green Hornet was actually the Lone Ranger's grand-nephew.)

Since this is a dog blog, we are interested in Yukon King, Preston's lead dog. Sometimes this dog was called a malamute, sometimes a huskie. The Lone Ranger may have had Tonto, but Sgt. Preston had King as his sidekick.

King usually played a pretty substantial role in the radio dramas. Often he was integral to the plot. Some of the radio shows revolved more around King than Preston. Not only did he tangle with outlaws but other dogs, wolves, and bears oh my!
Perhaps King's main contribution to Preston's and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's crime-fighting lay in the dog's ability to understand completely not only the commands of Sgt. Preston but many other languages. In this show Preston often called on King to cipher the howls of wolves, cats' meows, and horsetalk.
A typical line in one of the radio programs might go like this:

King whimpers.

"What's going on boy? What's that moose trying to say?"

King whimpers some more.

What a kick. Really corny, but still... these were simpler times, and as a kid we suspended belief. How come our dogs couldn't face down a grizzly?

Here's to Yukon King. Fearless and smart. Brave and multi-lingual.

For more King and Sgt. Preston check out Internet Archive under Old Time Radio then Challenge of the Yukon. There's a bunch of these shows to download for free. Also Internet Archive has one of the television shows under Moving Images-- Movies-- Classic TV-- Sgt. Preston. Check it out.

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