The Alaskans


The Alaskans is a 1959–1960 ABC/Warner Bros. western television series set during the late 1890s in the port of Skagway, Alaska. 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.[3] Their plans are inevitably complicated by the presence of singer "Rocky Shaw" (Dorothy Provine), "an entertainer with a taste for the finer things in life".[4]

The Alaskans
Roger Moore The Alaskans 1959.JPG
Roger Moore on the set of The Alaskans, 1959
Directed byLeslie Goodwins
Richard Gordon
Charles F. Haas
Jesse Hibbs
Leslie H. Martinson
William A. Seiter
Richard Sinclair
Robert Sparr
Herbert L. Strock
Jacques Tourneur
George Waggner[1]
StarringRoger Moore
Dorothy Provine
Jeff York
Ray Danton
Theme music composer"Gold Fever" by
Mack David and
Jerry Livingston[2]
ComposerMax Steiner
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes37
Executive producerWilliam T. Orr
ProducersBarry Ingster
Harry Tatelman
Charles Trapnell
Oren W. Haglund (Production manager)
Gordon Bau (make-up)
Production locationCalifornia
EditorsDavid Wages
Robert B. Warwick
Running time60 minutes
Production companyWarner Bros. Television
Original networkABC
Picture format1.33:1
Audio formatmonoaural
Original releaseOctober 4, 1959 (1959-10-04) –
June 19, 1960 (1960-06-19)
Related showsAppears to have
shared scripts but
not characters or
settings with:

The show was the first regular work on American television for the British actor Roger Moore.

Relationship with MaverickEdit

The Alaskans is closely related to the ABC/WB series Maverick through broadcast and production. Maverick was the most prominent of ABC's Sunday night of western dramas. For the 1959–60 season, Sundays began with Colt .45 and Maverick, then John Russell's Lawman and Nick Adams' The Rebel, and concluded with The Alaskans.[5]

The same year that The Alaskans was canceled, James Garner left Maverick. Moore became, under protest,[6] Garner's replacement, playing Bret Maverick's cousin Beau Maverick in the fourth season of Maverick.

Because of the 1960 Writers Guild of America strike as well as an ongoing Warner Bros. policy to save money on writers, 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."[6] In 2007, Moore noted, "Quite often I realized that we were filming Maverick scripts, with the names changed."[7] This made it simple for Jack L. Warner to envision Moore as Maverick, since Moore had literally delivered Garner's dialogue while reshooting the same scripts with different names and locales.

Since the show has not been available to home audiences for more than forty years,[when?][citation needed] independent verification of either claim is difficult.[original research?] 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 6, and Hawaiian Eye, with only the locations changed – Los Angeles to New Orleans, Miami Beach, and Hawaii. The basic characters were identical with only the character parts which spoke in jargon being re-written e.g. horse racing tout to jazz slang. This pre-dated the troubles with the Writers Guild.[8]

Roger Moore's viewsEdit

For Roger Moore, the series was 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.[9] 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.[6]


Guest starsEdit


  1. ^ Roger Moore's official site Archived 2007-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Classic TV Themes entry for The Alaskans
  3. ^ Episode World's synopsis of The Alaskans
  4. ^ The Alaskans at Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ The Rebel at
  6. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-08-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Moore, Roger and Ken Roche. "The Roger Moore Story". TV Times Extra. Independent Publications, Ltd. 1972.
  7. ^ Moore answer to a June 2007 question on his official website Archived 2007-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ WBTV Posse forum thread, giving parent episodes on other programs and their children on The Alaskans. Free registration required to view.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-08-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Moore, Roger and Ken Roche. "The Roger Moore Story". TV Times Extra. Independent Publications, Ltd. 1972.

External linksEdit

  • The Alaskans at IMDb