Renfrew of the Royal Mounted

Renfrew of the Royal Mounted was a popular series of boy's adventure books written by Laurie York Erskine that later were filmed and became a series on both radio and television.


'Douglas Renfrew' was a former Royal Flying Corps officer who joined the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

  • 1. Renfrew of the Royal Mounted (1922)
  • 2. The River Trail (1923)
  • 3. The Laughing Rider (1924)
  • 4. Renfrew Rides Again (1927)
  • 5. Renfrew Rides the Sky (1928)
  • 6. Renfrew Rides North (1931)
  • 7. Renfrew's Long Trail (1933)
  • 8. Renfrew Rides the Range (1935)
  • 9. Renfrew in the Valley of the Vanished Men (1936)
  • 10. Renfrew Flies Again (1941)

Erskine also wrote approximately 17 Renfrew short stories for The American Boy magazine.


Erskine narrated Renfrew of the Mounted, a 1936-40 radio series with House Jameson in the title role of Sergeant Douglas Renfrew.[1] Several premiums from the program were circulated by the program's sponsor, Wonder Bread. In the film Broadway Limited, ZaSu Pitts' character insists on listening to Renfrew on the radio in the train's lounge car.


With the popularity of the books, magazine short stories and radio show, Criterion Pictures released two Renfrew films through Grand National Pictures and six more through Monogram Pictures. As the film and musical Rose-Marie was well known as were singing cowboys on the silver screen, Criterion decided that Renfrew would sing. They cast radio vocalist James Newill who had studied opera and made his film debut in Grand National's Something to Sing About. Renfrew also had a faithful dog named Lightning that predated Yukon King of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

All eight Renfrew movies are in the public domain and available for free through numerous streaming platforms from YouTube, Amazon and Netflix.


In 1953, the films were edited into the syndicated Renfew of the Royal Mounted television series featuring Newill in new scenes relating events from the films.[2] A television pilot with Arthur Franz as Renfrew was filmed but never picked up.[1]


Harvey Kurtzman satirized this series as "Miltie of the Mounties" in the fifth issue of Mad.[3]

Canadian comedian Dave Broadfoot featured a "Sergeant Renfrew" character on the Royal Canadian Air Farce radio series. Broadfoot's version of Renfrew delivered monologues about his adventures hunting down criminals — like all good Mounties he always got his man, but did so in an outlandishly slapstick manner which relied as much on the criminal's incompetence and stupidity as on Renfrew's police skills. Often, it was his dog "Cuddles" who was responsible for saving the day. Frequently, Sgt. Renfrew was knocked out cold at some point in the chase, giving rise to the character's signature catchphrase, "When I regained consciousness..."

Broadfoot also performed the character on stage several times at actual RCMP conventions and events. His popularity was such with the RCMP that his character was promoted to Sergeant, then Sergeant Major. The honorary promotion to Sergeant, complete with all insignia, was given to Broadfoot personally by Commissioner Simmins of the RCMP.[4]


  1. James Newill
  2. The Mountie Films
  3. Kurtzman, Harvey. Mad 5, June–July 1953.
  4. Dave Broadfoot's Canada
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