I received an email from Rob McIlvried this week, and he told me that he recalls several references to Scranton in an episode of the hit sci-fi series The X-Files.
The X-Files, which ran for 9 seasons from 1993 to 2002 on FOX (and continues to live on in reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel) stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as two FBI agents, Fox Mulder (the believer) and Dana Scully (the skeptic) as they investigate the strange and unexplained while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.
The Scranton references occur in the first of a two-part episode in the second season titled Colony that originally aired on February 10th, 1994. In Colony, a newspaper ad placed to locate a certain doctor sets off the murder of several people with the same face. When Scully and Mulder locate another look-alike, they work to find him before the killer does. The episode also marks the first appearance of Agent Mulder's mother and father.
Both verbal references to Scranton are made by Agent Mulder (Duchovny). Scranton also appears as the setting of two scenes in Colony.
Following a scene set in the Woman's Care Family Services and Clinic in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Mulder and Scully have the following exchange at the FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.:
MULDER: I found these in my e-mail this morning... three obituaries.
SCULLY: Sent by whom?
MULDER: Nobody I know but obviously somebody who knows me.
(He clicks on a few keys and the text box expands on the monitor.)
MULDER: The deceased are Doctor Landon Prince of Scranton, Pennsylvania...
(He expands another box.)
Doctor Dale Gayhart of New York City...
(He brings up the third obituary.)
...and Doctor Harvey Buchanon of Tea Neck, New Jersey. All worked in abortion clinics. They died in separate arson fires.
Following the next brief scene set in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Mulder and Scully continue their investigation at the Globe and Mail in Binghamton, NY, where the city of Scranton is once again mentioned in the following dialogue:
(Mulder looks at a map. He goes over to it, Scully following.)
MULDER: If somebody really wanted to set us up, would they give us this little to go on? There's something bigger here, Scully. I'd be willing to bet there are more of these guys out there.
SCULLY: More victims?
MULDER: Unless we get to them first. The deaths follow a pattern... New Jersey, New York, Scranton...
Rob McIlvried also told me the show made several references to other areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania throughout its nine-season run.
Much thanks again to the clever eyes and ears of Rob McIlvried for this reference.