Thursday, February 5, 2009

Northern Exposure Revisited


I felt a need to go back to about 1994 and a television show that remains my favorite to this day. “Northern Exposure.” This program was set in a remote fictitious Alaska town by the name of Cicely. It was filmed primarily in Roslyn, Washington and other areas throughout the area. One such area was a place called Rattle Snake Lake, just outside North Bend WA and just a short walk from where I used to live before the series. That episode was the one that included the coffin being flung into the lake with the help of trebucheta. The show was so unusual and at the time helped me relax after a tough day on the streets as a Police Officer in the city of Bothell WA.
I had the chance to meet one of the stars of the show, a remarkable lady named Peg Phillips or (Ruth Ann) as she was known as on the show. I spent sometime in a restaurant seated at a table with her and listened to her talk about how lucky she was to be a part of the NX family. I still have the 8X10 autographed photo she sent me after our meeting. It hangs in my office along with some others from the show. Peg passed away in November of 2002. She seemed to me to be a lot like the character she played.
On a number of occasions we would drive to Roslyn and watch the production take place in the streets. One of my favorite stars of the show was the beautiful 1960 Cadillac Eldorado driven by Maurice, (Barry Corbin.) The car was owned by a gentleman who lived in Bothell, WA. He drove it everyday until the show needed it. They simply put Alaska plates on it and away they went.
My sister Leslie Laursen, was chosen for a small part in one of the episodes, “The Quest” which was the set up for the departure of Rob Morrow (Dr. Fleischman) from the show. Of course the rules were laid out. Do not speak to the stars unless you are spoken to especially Morrow. Les went about her business and while at the craft service table Morrow spoke briefly to her. Les had met some impressive people while she worked as an actress and was even entertained by Jonny Depp who played a guitar for her on the set of Benny and Joon. Morrow saying hello was nothing much to write home about. After they were done shooting her scene she exited the Pipeline Studio building in Redmond WA, where most of the indoor scenes were shot. As she sat in the lobby waiting my arrival, two of the other stars came out and visited with her. Janine Turner, (Maggie) and John Cullum, (Holling Vincoeur, owner of the brick) they made her feel very welcome.
The show aired from 1990 to 1995.
A foot note, my former mother in law who lives in Spokane, WA and is veterinarian assistant took part in giving the injection that took the life of Morty the Moose, who was seen in the beginning of every show as he wanders in the streets of Cicely. He was very ill at the time and it had to be done. I have included a few photos that I took while visiting Roslyn during a shoot. Enjoy!






Barry Corbin next to Caddy.


1960 Cadillac Eldorado


The Brick, inside it is about one quarter the size of the set version.






Darren Burrows, (Ed) walks with his brother during a break.




Ominous note sent with a photo of one of the actors from Pipeline Productions.

9 comments:

judypatooote said...

What a neat memory....I remember watching the show a few times...it seemed more like a mans show though....but I could be wrong... I do remember the beginning with the moose wandering....how special to get a letter from Peg, and how special you are to have paid the bill....thanks for sharing Randy... glad you posted... judy

wcgillian said...

It was a great show for everyone! I should have posted the photo I got from Peg. Maybe I will do that when I get home.

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Anonymous said...

For the last year or longer, APTN -Aboriginal People's Television Network - has been rerunning episodes of Northern Exposure. Every day at 4pm, seven days a week. I live in Victoria B.C., so since we are in close proximity you might be able to pick it up as well.
Personally I think it is the most intelligent TV show I have ever seen. It is humorous, philosophical, dramatic, and dealt with so much issues in such a brilliant matter that no matter how sensitive the subject the viewer could always come away with the feeling that they learned something. I was so saddened that it eventually left the airwaves, but really happy that APTN picked it up.
I enjoyed your photos and comments about meeting the actors. Being a fan of Rob Morrows at the time, I was rather unimpressed that you described him as being somewhat standoffish. Perhaps the actors were closer to the characters than we realized.