Rickey Der as Ike, Jones' adopted son, and Dennis Weaver as "Kentucky" Jones
|Created by||Albert Beich
William H. Wright
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Music by||Vic Mizzy|
|Opening theme||Vic Mizzy|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||30 min.|
|Picture format||Black and white|
|Original release||September 19, 1964 – April 10, 1965|
Kentucky Jones is a half-hour comedy/drama starring Dennis Weaver as Kenneth Yarborough "K.Y. or Kentucky" Jones, D.V.M., a recently widowed former horse trainer and active horse farm owner, who becomes the guardian of Dwight Eisenhower "Ike" Wong, a 10-year-old Chinese orphan, played by Ricky Der. Harry Morgan, previously of the CBS sitcoms December Bride and Pete and Gladys, was featured in the series as Seldom Jackson, a former jockey who assists Dr. Jones. Cherylene Lee appears as Annie Ng, Ike's friend. Arthur Wong portrays Mr. Ng, Annie's father. Keye Luke (1904-1991) stars as Mr. Wong, a friend of Dr. Jones. Nancy Rennick (1932-2006) appears as Miss Throncroft, a social worker. Kentucky Jones, which ran on NBC from September 19, 1964, to September 11, 1965, was the first of four television series starring Weaver after he left the role of the marshall's helper Chester Goode on CBS's western classic Gunsmoke.
Richard Bull, who later portrayed the henpecked storekeeper Nels Oleson on NBC's Little House on the Prairie, appeared twice on Kentucky Jones as Harold Erkel in episodes entitled "The Victim" and "The Return of Wong Lee" (also with Malcolm Atterbury).
Other selected episodes and guest stars include: "Hello Ike", the series premiere, with Diane Brewster and Marlyn Mason as Doris Caine, "Spare the Rod" (Paul Fix as Judge Perkins), "Wildcat Soup" (Tyler McVey), "Ike's Song" (Pat Harrington, Jr.), "The Big Shot" (Harry Townes), "The Music Kids Make" (Philip Abbott and Robby Weaver (born 1953), Dennis Weaver's son), "The Big Speech" (Charles Lane), "Feminine Intrusion" (Spring Byington, of December Bride and Laramie, as Mrs. Jolly, hired by Dr. Jones to cook a meal as payment of a debt), "Most Precious Gold" (Strother Martin; episode focuses on a camping trip), and "Kentucky's Vacation" (Yvonne Craig), the series finale.
A Buzz Kulik Production in association with NBC, Kentucky Jones was filmed at Desilu Studios in Culver City, California. The series first aired on Saturdays at 8:30 Eastern from September 19 to December 26. It switched to 7 p.m. on January 2 for the remainder of its run through September 11, 1965. Rebroadcasts began on April 17. In the 8:30 slot, the program faced competition from the first season of the CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island, with Alan Hale, Jr., and Bob Denver, and the first half of ABC's The Lawrence Welk Show. In the move to a half-hour earlier, having swapped time slots with The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, CBS offered The Jackie Gleason Show, and ABC aired the science fiction series, The Outer Limits. In the second time slot, Kentucky Jones followed the NBC adventure series Flipper starring Brian Kelly.
After Kentucky Jones, young Der (born ca. 1954) acted only one more time, as Mickey in a 1965 episode "So Long, Patrick Henry" of NBC's I Spy starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. In January 1967, Harry Morgan advanced to Jack Webb's second version of Dragnet in the role of Officer Bill Gannon, and later, on M*A*S*H as Col. Sherman T. Potter. In September of that year, Weaver starred with child actor Clint Howard in the CBS family drama Gentle Ben.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 449
- "Kentucky Jones". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
- "Kentucky Jones". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
- McNeil, Total Television, appendix
- "Ricky Der". IMDB. Retrieved February 18, 2009.