What Happened to Sergeant Preston?

by Michael R Dougherty
(California)


Driving the Alcan highway back in the day included many unexpected experiences.

This was one of them -

Growing up, all kids have images in their minds of what people, places and things should look like.

But sometimes when we actually see them, those people, places or things don't always match the images in our mind's eye.

From 1955 to 1958, the TV series "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon" was a popular show starring Dick Simmons as the title character, Sergeant Preston, who along with his horse Rex and super-smart dog King, kept Canada's Yukon Territory safe from the bad guys.

One of the show's trademarks was that every time someone opened a door to go outside, the wind would be howling. It made it seem like there were always blizzard conditions in the Yukon.

One summer when I was about 13 years old, my mom, me and my sister Anna and brother Tom drove the Alaska Canadian highway, the "Alcan" from Anchorage all the way to Texas.

Me, my sister and brother were all fans of the TV show "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon" and we were excited that we might actually get to see a Canadian Mountie during our drive through the Yukon.

One morning Tom and I had to go out to our car before heading to breakfast in the hotel dining room. As we made our way to the parking lot, we spotted a Canadian Mountie.

There he was in that glorious Sergeant Preston uniform and signature Mountie hat.

But what's this?

Our Mountie wasn't wearing his Sergeant Preston uniform pants. Instead, he was wearing his summertime uniform pants.

He was wearing Bermuda shorts.

Sergeant Preston would never wear Bermuda shorts, especially with the constant blizzard that always seemed to be blowing in every episode of "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon."

We couldn't believe it. Our image had been crushed. We took one more look at the Mountie to make sure our eye's hadn't tricked us. No, he was still wearing Bermuda shorts.

Tom and I went back into the hotel to tell our sister and our mom what we had seen. The awful truth.

Oh, well. Even so, you have to admit that the Canadian Mounted Police have great looking dress uniforms.

But really, Bermuda shorts?

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Great Take
by: Mark Ransom

What a great take on traveling the Alcan.

As one fan of Sgt. Preston to another, I enjoyed reading this very much. (In addition to the wind always howling outside the door, they always seemed to use dog sleds as cars. When I actually ran my own dog team I found out to my dismay there was no "positive steering" with dogs.)

A Note From Mike of Anchorage Memories

Mark:

Thank you for your kind words about my story. Love the Sgt. Preston TV series. And as we traveled through Canada on the Alcan, my brother and I could hardly wait to see our first Mountie.

By the way, we have another common experience. I worked at KIMO channel 13 when John Valentine was there (for the last time). I was the Promotion Manager and the Production Manager.

Small world.

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