|Jake's Journey 1988|
Jake's Journey is a 1988 TV pilot that was filmed for CBS. The story follows the Finley family as they make the move from America to Merrie Olde England. Their son, Jake, has a problem fitting in or adapting to the new enviroment. Somehow he finds himself in another time period, the middle ages. He meets a knight called George and together they embark on a quest filled with lobsters.
There were beliefs that it was passed on by the network because it was too Monty Python-y for Americans. However, this is not the case, as the pilot was filmed at an unfortunate time and it's demise came from three main reasons: The 1988 writer's strike, and the ailing health of both director Hal Ashby and actor Graham Chapman. In fact, according to a Starlog article about the pilot, the head of comedy started laughing at it when the script was not finished yet. (Chapman and partner,
David Sherlock had written the script hastily finishing about 8 or 9 minutes before presenting it to the head of comedy.
The genesis of the pilot cam from a phone call in which Chapman was offered the chance to write a pilot based on Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". Chapman however felt that it had a limited appeal as a TV series and would easily have become repetitive and boring. Therefore he incorporated a time travel element to the storyline so as to ensure that there are further possibilities than just to make use of a middle ages setting. One of the earliest cut scenes include Jake's trip
to 1939 Europe. The network wanted Jake to make use of a time machine however Chapman wanted it to be more mysterious.
Chapman seemed excited about the series and the future prospects of what it could be. He talked about filming all over the world and revealed that the story would conclude in a twist as George in different incarnations and at different times in history would attract Jake for a reason which he left unrevealed.
A copy is held at the Library of Congress.
Chris Young as Jake Finley
Graham Chapman as Sir George/The Queen
Nancy Lenehan as Jean Finley
Lane Smith as Mike Finley
Fay Masterson as Sarah Finley
Peter Cook as King Arthur
Written by Graham Chapman, David Sherlock and Andy Schatzberg
Directed by Hal Ashby
- Photos originally from Starlog Magazine 136