The short-lived series "Kentucky Jones" ran for one season on NBC-TV from September 19,1964 until September 11,1965. 27 episodes were produced for this series which when it premiered in the fall of 1964, was on Saturday nights right after "Flipper" and "The Famous Adventures of Mister Magoo". NBC scheduled it against a tough Saturday evening line-up opposite "The Lawrence Welk Show" which was on ABC,and "Gilligan's Island",which was on CBS and also "The Jackie Gleason Show" which was also on the CBS Network. At the time this series premiered,almost half of NBC's programming during the start of the 1964-1965 season was in color. Why was "Kentucky Jones" in black and white while "Flipper" and "The Famous Adventures of Mister Magoo" were in response to the Peacock network as "The following program is presented to you in living color." It would have been great if this series was filmed in color to present the majestic background landscapes of the California valley.
"Kentucky Jones" gave actor Dennis Weaver his first starring role in a series,after playing Deputy Chester Goode for the nine seasons he appeared on "Gunsmoke" from 1955-1964. Weaver is veterinarian Kenneth Yarborough Jones,who was the owner of a 40-acre ranch in Southern California. He had acquired the nickname Kentucky because of the way he signed his name: "K.Y. Jones." His wife had applied to adopt a nine-year old Chinese orphan who arrived shortly after her sudden death. Kentucky's situation as a widower made him have second thoughts about taking the orphan,Dwight Eisenhower "Ike" Wong(Ricky Der)into his household. Although reluctant to accept the responsibility,Kentucky came to love Ike. Seldom Jackson(Henry Morgan)was the handyman around the ranch,Edith Thorncroft(Nancy Rennick)was the social worker looking after Ike's welfare. The other regulars were members of the Chinese community. Actor Dennis Weaver joined the list of TV's widowed fathers and its right up there with Fred MacMurray's Steve Douglass(My Three Sons),Lorne Greene's Ben Cartwright(Bonanza),and John Forsyth's Uncle Bentley(Bachelor Father). Weaver's performance in this series is just great but it didn't help the ratings neither,especially for a show from the era of family-oriented programming. When this series was cancelled in 1965,NBC didn't take long to find a show to replaced it "I Dream Of Jeannie" which lasted six seasons. Speaking of cast regulars,actor Harry Morgan would make the jump from this series to be cast as Officer Bill Gannon opposite Jack Webb's Joe Friday in the revitalization of the police drama "Dragnet"(NBC,1967-1970),and later on in his career who make another jump as "Colonel Henry Potter on M*A*S*H"(CBS,1975-1983). Weaver however,would find another series as well later on as Florida Park Ranger Tom Wedloe in the short-lived children's adventure show "Gentle Ben"(CBS,1967-1969),produced by Ivan Tors of "Flipper" fame. His next series "McCloud" would make him a huge star during the 1970's...a series that would last seven seasons.
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