Ralph Senensky on Jeremiah of Jacob’s Neck

Director Ralph Senensky’s career in television spanned two decades and included dozens of shows, including big names like Star Trek, The Waltons, Hart to Hart, The Twilight Zone, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and The F.B.I., plus more obscure shows like Channing, Breaking Point, Slattery’s People, Search, Three for the Road Getting Together and The Interns.

Retired since the mid-1980s, Senesky started blogging in September 2009, regaling readers with tales of of directing Route 66, Dr. Kildare and 12 O’Clock High. Later, he started a website where he continues to look back at his impressive career.

His latest post concerns an unsold CBS pilot from 1976 called “Jeremiah Of Jacob’s Neck.” Written by Peter Benchley, whose novel Jaws had been turned into a blockbuster film the previous year, the hour-long pilot starred Keenan Wynn as a 200-year-old ghost with Ron Masak as the new police chief of Jacob’s Neck, the town where the ghost resides. Arlene Golonka played his wife; Brandon Cruz and Quinn Cummings played his children.

You can read all about “Jeremiah Of Jacob’s Neck” from Senensky himself, who also provides a good amount of footage from the pilot. Here’s an excerpt:

“On our scouting day we decided on a walk-in safe for our room for Jacob’s Neck Archives. It was small, and the loaded shelves seemed very appropriate, but the floor of the safe was totally filled with – I can find no other word – junk. Instructions were given that the junk needed to be cleaned out so we could install the props we would need for filming. On the scheduled day for filming, we arrived to find the safe in the same state; it had NOT been cleared out and redressed. Edgar Scherick panicked, as I calmly started overseeing the clearing out of the extraneous objects and the dressing of the set. Edgar couldn’t understand why I was not shouting and reacting more emotionally to the situation.”

Read the entire post here. For the record, “Jeremiah Of Jacob’s Neck” was broadcast on Friday, August 13th, 1976 from 8-9PM. Thanks to Phil for passing this along.


3 Comments

  • DuMont says:

    Up against encores of NBC’s hit comedies ‘Sanford & Son’/’Chico & The Man’, ‘Jeremiah of Jacob’s Neck’ still managed to garner a 11.0HH/25% rating.

    I am surprised that CBS didn’t pick it up just to have Mr. Benchley, who was a very hot property that year, on board at the Eye. Perhaps despite all efforts, they just couldn’t sell it to advertisers.

    I do hope Mr. Senensky puts the entire pilot up on YouTube one day so I can screen it in its entirety. I’d love to also see again episodes of ‘Channing’, ‘Breaking Point’ and ‘Three for the Road’, all of which were unique, memorable series.

  • DuMont says:

    I must add to my post of last night in commending Mr. Senesky’s website which is a real treat to savour page by page. Mr. Senesky has an impressive resume of television episodes to his credit, and his pages are filled with moments and memorabilia from his various directorial efforts.

    Thank you for highlighting this unique and culturally valuable website.

  • Phil says:

    Ralph dropped a nugget of TV Obscurity gold into his most recent blog posting, which was related to his ‘Hart to Hart’ episode called “Highland Fling”. He filmed the first three days of work for an episode of the 1976-77 series ‘Executive Suite’ at MGM. Then the producers showed up and said CBS had cancelled the series, so no more filming was done on that episode. A total of 18 eps. were broadcast. Wikipedia shows two additional episodes as “unaired”. I have no idea if they were partially filmed or just unused scripts.

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