'Klondike' is Discovery going for the gold

"Klondike," Discovery channel's first scripted miniseries, from producer Ridley Scott, spotlights strangers struggling together in 1890s frontier Alaska. Stars include Richard Madden ("Game of Thrones"), Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Abbie Cornish, Sam Shepard. Pictured: Bill Haskell (Richard Madden) (left) and Byron Epstein (Augustus Prew) on Chilkoot Pass. Photo Credit: Discovery Channel

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Discovery Channel hopes to strike ratings gold with its first scripted miniseries, "Klondike," premiering Monday night at 9, about the 1890s gold rush in the Yukon territory. Tales of men seeking their fortunes up North have been the source of entertainment since silent movies. Here are some nuggets about movies and TV shows set during those golden days.

THE GOLD RUSH (1925) Charlie Chaplin's "Little Tramp" went searching for gold in the silent comedy and in the process mined plenty of laughs, especially with the classic bit in which he dines on his shoe.

CALL OF THE WILD (1935) Jack London's classic tale about a man and his sled dog was filmed numerous times, but the chemistry between stars and real-life lovers Clark Gable and Loretta Young gives this one an edge.

ROAD TO UTOPIA (1945) One of the best of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope's buddy movies finds them in a crazy plot involving gold, a St. Bernard and an avalanche, but it's Robert Benchley's hilarious on-camera narration that's really rich.

SERGEANT PRESTON OF THE YUKON (1955-58) This Canadian Mountie always got his man with the help of his trusty dog, Yukon King, in this early color series set during the gold rush.

THE ALASKANS (1959-60) Long before he played Simon Templar or 007, Roger Moore starred in this short-lived ABC series as slick adventurer Silky Harris, who was out to make his fortune by fleecing the miners.

KLONDIKE (1960-61) NBC also tried to hit pay dirt with the gold rush, but this series, which featured James Coburn as the owner of a hotel/casino, only lasted 17 episodes.

NORTH TO ALASKA (1960) This Klondike-set yarn featuring the odd trio of tough guy John Wayne, teen heartthrob Fabian and offbeat comedian Ernie Kovacs was a box-office bonanza.

WHITE FANG (1991) Boy meets wolf, and it's love at first sight in another Jack London tale starring Ethan Hawke, Klaus Maria Brandauer and, in the title role, Jed, who also played the dog/alien in "John Carpenter's The Thing."

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