Cicely, Alaska - The rural
comedy-drama NORTHERN EXPOSURE/CBS/1990-95 featured the fictional
town of Cicely, Alaska (population 215) which played host to a group
of quirky but likable rural folk, both white and Eskimo.
In the springtime, just before the ice begins
to crack, all the citizens of Cicely, Alaska (known as the "Riviera
of the North") exhibit an
inexplicable craziness as they await the ice meltdown. It culminates
with the men of Cicely rushing stark naked through town in freezing
temperatures (a la "The Running of the Bulls" during the Fiesta of
San Fremin in Pamplona, Spain).
The Alaskan Eskimo Indians celebrate the annual holiday of
Thanksgiving as "The Day of the Dead." Among the parades, costumes
and other festivities, there was the custom of "throwing tomatoes at
white people." The vegetable vengeance portrayed was a comic jab at
the cultural relationship between the Native Americans and their
Johnny-come-lately European Newcomers.
Citizens of Cicely, Alaska
The residents of this strange little northern hamlet include:
- Rob Morrow as Joel Fleischman, a Jewish yuppie
doctor transplanted from New York City to work off his medical
- Elaine Miles as Marilyn Whirlwind, the doctor's plump
- Janine Turner as Maggie O'Connell, an
independent but likable bush pilot; Darren E. Burrows as Ed Chigliak,
an Eskimo teenager with a passion for motion pictures
- Barry Corbin
as Maurice Minnifield, a former astronaut who founded the town
Corbett as Chris Stevens, the philosophical deejay
- John Cullum as
Holling Vincouer, the local barkeep
- Peg Phillips as Ruth Anne, a
- Cynthia Geary as Shelly Tambo, the town teenage nymphet
On the 5/18/92 episode "Cicely," a
108-year-old visitor to Cicely chronicles
the history of the town of Cicely once know as "The Paris of the
North," revealed that the town was founded in 1909 by a
free-thinking lesbian named Cicely and
her companion, Roslyn.
TRIVIA NOTE: The town used as the backdrop for
Cicely was actually the old coal mining town of Roslyn, Washington
(population 869) located seventy-one miles east of Seattle on
Interstate 90 in the Yakima Valley, across Snoqualmie Pass area from
Roslyn, Washington (officially named on the 10th of August, 1886)
was named for Roslyn, New York the hometown of the girlfriend of
Logan Bullitt, Vice-President of the Northern Pacific Coal Company.
The show's producers scouted more than five states in
the Pacific Northwest and Canada to find the place to be the
fictional location of this offbeat adventure drama. Roslyn,
reportedly was the site of an 1892 bank robbery by the outlaws Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Cicely town sites now familiar to
loyal viewers include the Roslyn Cafe seen in the opening credits;
and the Brick, the oldest bar in Washington (over 100 years old).
The Brick was the inspiration for Holling's tavern. Additional
interior shot were filmed in the town of Redmond, located about an
hour from Roslyn.
The constant notoriety, flow of tourists, filming schedule,
and parking restrictions that disrupted the day-to-day quiet of this
town during production rubbed some of the town's residents (mostly
retired miners) the wrong way. So despite the $3,000 that the show
brought to Roslyn with each day of shooting of NORTHERN EXPOSURE,
some 136 residents of the town signed a petition in 1991 that asked
the show's producers to pack up and leave their town alone.
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