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The Alaskans: The Complete Series on Blu-ray

    “The Alaskans” is a Western television series that aired on ABC from 1959 to 1960, produced by Warner Bros. This show marked the first regular appearance of British actor Roger Moore on American television. Set in the port of Skagway, Alaska, during the late 1890s, the series takes place amidst the excitement of the Klondike Gold Rush.

    Roger Moore stars as “Silky Harris,” alongside Jeff York as “Reno McKee.” The duo plays a pair of crafty adventurers who aim to swindle the hopeful travelers headed toward the Yukon Territories. Their schemes often face hurdles, particularly due to the charming and ambitious singer “Rocky Shaw,” portrayed by Dorothy Provine. Shaw is an entertainer with a penchant for luxury, which frequently complicates Harris and McKee’s plans.

    Despite the show’s adventurous premise, Roger Moore found his experience on “The Alaskans” less than enjoyable. He described it as his “most appalling television series ever,” primarily due to the uncomfortable task of recreating Alaskan exteriors on a hot studio backlot in California. Additionally, during the series, Moore admitted to his wife, Dorothy Squires, that he had fallen in love with his co-star, Dorothy Provine.

    Although the series was produced on one of Warner’s largest sound stages, there was never any on-location filming. The production featured many large and impressive sets adorned with fake snow, creating the illusion of the Alaskan wilderness. When the crew did venture outdoors, filming took place on the studio backlot rather than in actual remote locations.

    The actors, clad in heavy furs to simulate the harsh Alaskan cold, had to endure the irony of 80-degree temperatures on the California set. These sweltering conditions made the production experience particularly challenging, as the contrast between their winter attire and the hot environment created uncomfortable working conditions. Despite the impressive sets, the lack of authentic location work and the oppressive heat underscored the difficulties faced by the cast and crew during filming.

    The series ran for 37 episodes and has now been collected in its entirety for the first time on Blu-ray.

    Tony M.