1.1 The Pilot


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Original Air Date: July 12, 1990 Production number: 78701
Written by:
Josh Brand and John FalseyDirected by: Josh Brand

Joel: I will under no condition, NO condition, spend the best years of my life in the worst place on Earth!

Log line (1): Dr. Joel Flesichman, an inveterate New Yorker, arrives in Alaska with plans to fulfill his medical school financing obligation by practicing in metropolitan Anchorage. However, he is quickly informed that his services are not needed in Anchorage, but in a small, remote village by the name of Cicely.
Synopsis (1):

As soon as Dr. Fleischman (Rob Morrow) sets his eyes upon the small town of Cicely, Alaska, his "fish out of water" experience begins. From the ride into town with Ed Chigliak (Darren E. Burrows), a backwoods yet worldly Native American who professes an affinity for rhythm and blues, to the oil and water relationship he develops immediately with his attractive landlady, local bush pilot Maggie O'Connell (Janine Turner), Fleischman encounters more than he can handle, despite his urban roots. When he tries to finagle a way out of his contract through legal loopholes, he is quickly and definitively informed by a gun-wielding town patriarch, retired astronaut Maurice Minnifield (Barry Corbin), that leaving is not an option.

(Production Bible):

Joel, from Flushing, Queens; never west of the Mississippi; played doctor with Katie Kaplan in second grade; 75 scholarship applications; graduate of Columbia University Medical School; residency at Beth Zion; Alaska pays $125,000 for his education - four years of service. If he reneges, $10,000 fine and 18 years in jail.

Maggie O'Connell, 28: from Grosse Point, MI: Joel's landlord; air taxi pilot; came to AK with mountain climber & grad student boyfriend; he was writing book "Mountain of My Misgiving" (got published) took a nap on a glacier and froze to death. Her plane in original draft: Cessna. RICK PEDERSON: Maggie's current live-in.

Maurice came to AK 20 years ago, bought 15,000 acres, started Minnifield Communications - the key if you've got something to sell.

HOLLING VINCOEUR, 62; best friends w/ Maurice. Maurice brought SHELLY, 18, Mise Northwest Passage, to Cicely to marry him; she told Holling if he wanted her, she was his; he did: started temporary feud with Maurice.

Facts to Wax
(Production Bible):
Cicely & Roslyn founded the town 97 years ago (Maurice).
ED the Indian: 18 (works for Maurice).
CHRIS STEVENS, 27, disc jockey.
RUTH-ANNE, 65, owns General Store.
7 miles from Joel's cabin to General Store.
9th Annual Arrowhead Co. Summer Wonderland Festival.
Elaine's from Brooklyn, Canarsie; third year law student.
(Production Bible):
27-year-old inveterate New Yorker JOEL FLEISCHMAN arrives in Alaska to repay the state for financing his medical education. Antictpating Anchorage, Joel is informed by state rep PETE GILLIAM that he will be serving in Cicely, the worst place on Earth, according to Joel. He's ready to walk, when ex-astronaut MAURICE MINNIFIELD tries to persuade him otherwise with a shotgun in a rowboat. Joel's fiancee Elaine, a law student at Columbia, tells him his contract is binding: he's stuck in Cicely for the next four years. Meanwhile, Joel mistakes his landlord, pilot MAGGIE O'CONNELL, for a hooker, counsels a wife who is trying to kill her husband, examines beaver teeth and acquires an office assistant named MARILYN.
Guest stars (9):

Businessman - John Aylward (Also appeared in 1.5, 2.2, 4.3)
Stewardess - Denise Dal Vera (as Denise Kendall)
Edna - Lois Foraker
Walter - Art LaFleur

Richard 'Rick' Pederson - Grant Goodeve
Patient #2 - Anne Gordon (also the Animal Handler for the series)
Patient #1 - Tom Hammond (also appears in 6.16)
Pete Gilliam - Robert Nadir (also appears in 4.11, 6.13)

Clem Tillman - David J. Guppy (as Dave Guppy) (Also appeared in 1.5, 2.2, 3.5)

(Note music listed is from the original TV airings. The DVD may differ.)

Louie, Louie - Richard Berry (performed by the Kingsmen on Ausgerechnet Alaska, the german soundtrack)
[when Joel meets Ed, who gives him a ride into town in his truck]

Family Tradition - Hank Williams Jr.
[Joel bursts into the Brick, and promptly makes a phone call to say he wants out of his contract]

Truly Do - Bud and Travis
[Joel sits at the bar and talks to Holling and Ed]

Jolie Louise - Daniel Lanois (on the Northern Exposure: Music from the Television Series)
[Joel hears Holling's story of the feud between him and Maurice]

Get Your Life - Livingston
[Maggie and Joel meet, and Joel mistakingly assumes she is a prostitute.]

Good Golly, Miss Molly - Little Richard (on Ausgerechnet Alaska, the german soundtrack)
[Barbeque montage]

Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell (on Ausgerechnet Alaska, the german soundtrack)
[Joel and Ed eat mooseburgers at the barbeque]

One of my favorite scenes - Joel throws a tantrum in his truck.

Additional Notes:

Trivia: At the 9th Annual Summer Wonderland festival at the end, Chris is in the background crowd.

Reference: "Crowberry. Not bad. Tart. Not unlike Petite sirah." The Petite Sirah grape is most likely an offshoot of the Duriff Rhone grape, grown in France, and is not related to the Syrah grape. Until the 1970's, Petite Sirah's claim to fame was as a blending wine. Since then Petite Sirah has emerged as a noble varietal in its own right.
(from the former Kevin Wright's NX Culture site).

Reference: Ed quotes some medical jargon from the TV show St. Elsewhere is mentioned - this was also from creators Brand & Falsey.

A hippy came through and painted the Roslyn Cafe mural, he was "so high on the weed" that Maurice had to paint the apostrophe himself.

See the ENTIRE transcript - with pictures - at Lambic's Site

Ed's Movie References: Woody Allen's Manhatten

Footnotes and additional research


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