SGT. PRESTON OF THE YUKON
Sergeant Preston and his dog Yukon King first hit radio airwaves on February 3, 1938 on WXYZ, Detroit. “The Challenge of the Yukon” (“Sgt. Preston of the Yukon” as of November ‘51) was the third major juvenile adventure series to come out of George W. Trendle’s Detroit radio mill following “The Lone Ranger” and “The Green Hornet”. A TV version starring Richard Simmons began in September 1955—just as the radio adventures ended—and ran for 138 episodes through February 1958.
Sgt. Preston’s comic book exploits began in Dell Four Color #344 (August ‘51). Regular numbering began with #5. As the TV series was still four years away, Dell featured painted covers by Morris Gollub (1910-1984) originally a Disney film animator (“Bambi”, etc.) and later for Hanna-Barbera. For Dell he also drew the superb “Bambi” comic book. #13 told the backstory of Sgt. Preston and the origin of Preston’s Husky Yukon King was related in #18. Both the script and art in #13 are the basis for the two later Sgt. Preston origin Quaker cereal giveaways “How He Became a Mountie” and “How He Became a Sergeant”.
With Preston now a TV hit, Dell began gorgeous full color photo covers of Richard Simmons as Sgt. Preston as of issue #19 (May-July ‘56). Yukon King was beside Simmons/Preston on #19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 29.
The comic continued for 11 quarterly issues through #29 (November ‘58/ January ‘59). The back cover of #27 has an attractive ad for the Sgt. Preston Trail Kit offered by Quaker cereals. Excellent artwork (both pencil and ink) in every issue of SERGEANT PRESTON is by Italy’s Alberto Giolitti (‘23-‘93) who also worked on Dell’s GUNSMOKE, CISCO KID, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, LAREDO, TALES OF WELLS FARGO and TONTO. Giolitti returned to Italy in 1960.
The prolific Gaylord Du Bois (1899-1993) was a ghost writer for Fred Harman on the RED RYDER comic strip before joining Dell to script all of the SGT. PRESTON issues as well as issues of ROY ROGERS, GENE AUTRY, BAT MASTERSON, TALES OF WELLS FARGO, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, THE REBEL, BONANZA, HOTEL DE PAREE, HI YO, SILVER and ZANE GREY adaptations as well as hundreds of non westerns.
Four color #344 (#1) commands $33 in Fine with FC #373, 397, 419 at $21 each. #5-18 bring $15. The Simmons photo covers are around $18 in Fine condition. (Thanx to Steiner Adland for art identification.)
SERGEANT PRESTON OF THE YUKON