Archive for the Adventure-Action Category


Posted in Adventure-Action, Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Tarzan, Video Captures on October 14, 2011 by Bill Courtney
A new category here. I have thousands of screen captures I have made and figure I will share a few of them once in a while in a post that focuses on captures only. Minimal writing involved. many of the captures were made to accompany video files I have uploaded to bittorrent sites like Cinemageddon or The Horror Charnel. I make dozens and dozens of captures and may only use eight or ten for the file presentation. Meaning I have more left over than I know what to do with. Many posts here feature original screen captures, though not all. So I want to go back and supply some images to posts that did not get original video captures the first time around or just for a movie that needs one. the first film for this new category will be Tarzan and His Mate, given a less than hearty review here a few posts back. Expect a better review one day, but for now please enjoy some of these video captures from one of the best Tarzan films of all time.



Posted in Adventure-Action, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Patrick McGoohan, Rock Hudson, Secret Agents and Spies on October 12, 2011 by Bill Courtney
1968/Director: John Sturges/Writers: Alistair MacLean (novel), Douglas Heyes (screenplay)
Cast: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown, Tony Bill, Lloyd Nolan, Alf Kjellin, Gerald S. O’Loughlin   
My dad was stationed on Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio Texas in the late 60’s. One of the little perks of being the son of a military dad was having the ID card that got me onto the base and then inot some cool places, like the bowling alley, the BX (base exchange), the cafeterias and of course the various bland looking movie houses. With my ID card it cost me all of 35 cents to see assorted spaghetti westerns, horror and sci-fi films, comedies and once in a while a real movie. Such was the case with Ice Station Zebra, a film I saw all alone in the base theater at about the age of eleven. Shot in stunning 70mm  with a dramatic score (restored in full with intermission music on the version I have) it was awesome to behold on the big screen and if I remember right I saw it about three times in a week.

The film is based, somewhat loosely I understand, on the 1963 spy thriller of the same name by Alastair MacLain. His earlier The Guns of Navarone was made into a successful movie with Gregory Peck and David Niven and MGM hoped to turn this new novel into another box office winner. The film in fact did well and earned a couple Oscar nominations for special effects and cinematography but lost out to 2001: A Space Odyssey. It also revived the career of Rock Hudson as an action star after he had become somewhat typecast in his pillow talk movies with actresses like Doris Day. Charlton Heston was originally slated to play Hudson’s role as Captain Ferraday but declined saying the script was too weak. While Heston would have shone in the role Rock does just fine as the capable Captain of the USS Tigerfish as it heads towards the North Pole on both a rescue and top secret mission that involves British spies, Russian defectors, U.S Marines and not one single female character in the entire film.

The story begins in Scotland where Submarine Captain Ferraday (Hudson) is given the mission of taking the USS Tigerfish up under the polar ice caps to rescue the scientific team stationed at Ice Station Zebra following a reported series of explosions there. An overland, or over icepack, route is ruled out and Ferraday is none to pleased to receive orders that his command is second to a British spy named “Mr. Jones”, played by Patrick MacGoohan who took some time off from his The Prisoner TV series to do the film. Jones is brilliant but slightly jumpy and sleeps with a gun under his pillow and drinks plenty of “medicinal” whiskey to balance himself out. The rescue mission is actually a cover for retrieving a capsule that was ejected to Earth from a satellite. The capsule contains something that both the Americans and Russians are racing to the North Pole to get first. The Tigerfish later receive by helicopter two unexpected visitors. One is a constantly smiling and helpful Russian defector named Boris Vaslov (Ernest Borgnine) and the other is tough and disciplined Marine Captain Anders (Jim Brown).
Sabotage becomes a concern on the Tigerfish after a torpedo tube that is being used to launch a torpedo through the ice becomes filled with sea water and floods the torpedo room when it is opened, killing one sailor. Of course we know this guys is totally dead since right before they open the hatch he is talking about his wonderful future and the girl he wants to marry. Never talk about that stuff before a dangerous mission. Suspicions bounce from Mr. Jones to Vaslov and even to Anders.
The scenes of the Tigerfish under the ice look spectacular for the time really. Finally a thin enough layer of ice is found and the Tigerfish surfaces only to find Ice Station Zebra in smoldering ruins with scientific team all near death from exposure. In no time both Vaslov and Jones are looking for something and Ferraday wants to know what it is. We find out soon enough that Vaslov (and how can anyone trust a smiling overly helpful Russian, defector or not, during the Cold War period) is the saboteur after he waylays Jones with a crowbar. Jones mistakingly. shoots Anders when he wakes up groggy and sees the two mean fighting. It is soon learned that the capsule that landed at Zebra contained a Russian made camera with highly advanced American film inside, and soon the Russians, led by the serious and determined Colonel Ovstravsky (Alf Kjellin) arrive they and the Americans have a stand off over who goes home with the goods. In the end Ferraday detonates the canisters as it is hoisted upwards by a weather balloon, thereby symbolizing a draw between the two super powers. I have never read except in reviews and understand MacLean had a tenser and less optimistic ending.
A great movie for people who like Cold War thrillers and submarine dramas. The Arctic sets looked wonderful, and all the more wonderful since they are in fact studio sets. I love old movies sets and if this film is ever remade they will probably film it on location somewhere and while it will look more realistic it will lose that magic, perfect appearance that sets often provided a scene. There of course are some problems such as the fact that while we hear wind effects no one’s hear is even blowing, the lack of frozen condensation when people exhale and I read that keeping the parka laden actors free of perspiration was a difficult task. Really happy I found this one and highly recommend you give it a shot.


Posted in Adventure-Action, Animation, Jonny Quest, Matinee on September 25, 2011 by Bill Courtney





Posted in Adventure-Action, Animation, Jonny Quest, Video Clip on September 25, 2011 by Bill Courtney
By the time Jonny Quest hIt the prime time TV slot on Fridays nights back in 1964 Hanna-Barbera had already had a few animated TV shows, including The Flintstones and The Jetsons. But Jonny Quest was a different type of animated show and while perhaps not as successful in the long run as its more comedic counterparts the 26 original episodes that were produced have become the stuff of legend. The series was developed and designed by comic book and comic strip artist Doug Wildey whose confident pen and ink style resembled that of Milton Caniff (terry and the Pirates, Steven Canyon). Those drawing elements are seen in the drawings of the characters and backgrounds for Jonny Quest and the style was a bit of a leap for the time period and the drawings still stand on their own in this day and age as far as I, and the many Jonny Quest fans out there attest to, am concerned.

The James Bond film Dr. No, as the story goes, inspired Joe Barbera to try an adventure cartoon with more realistically rendered characters. Wildey is given most of the credit now with how the show finally looked as well as the development of the shows characters. The main characters were Dr. Benton Quest who is always involved in some sort of top secret adventure or another. He always takes his young son Jonny along despite potential dangers. Jonny’s mom died under circumstances I am not clear on yet but it is is possible some sort of intrigue was involved. To make sure Jonny is safe and sound Dr. Quest has employed Race Bannon (a character based on an earlier comic strip called Steve Bannon by Wildey) as a bodyguard and mentor of sorts. In the series’ second episode we are introduced to the Hindu boy Haji though we are never really told who he is and why the Quest group have him hanging around.  This may be explained in a later episode and if anybody out there knows where Haji comes from please let me know. The last regular member of the group is Jonny’s dog Bandit, and like many boys in the 60’s I had a little dog named Bandit myself, after the TV show dog. Bandit supplies the comic relief for the show as well as sometimes helping Jonny out of a bind or helping him get into one. Some recurring characters include the sexy Jezebel Jade who is a sort of Mata Hari femme fatale who has some possible romantic connection to Race Bannon though for the most part it is always implied. The evil mastermind of various plots Dr. Zin shows up now and then as Dr. Quest’s nemesis and arch rival.

A couple notable aspects of the show outside its graphic design was that the adventures always took place in some new exotic local and the use of violence, to the point that in each episode cartoon characters actually died. Of the course the people who died were either bad guys or nameless “natives” but characters in cartoons dying off was not something audiences were used to back in 1964. The vibe between Race and Jade at times was a little smoldering too, especially in the episode called Double Danger where something appears wrong with Race and there is even a kissing scene. Wow! The show inspired a couple animated movies and later some TV series later but I have not seen any of them and cannot comment. There is much talk about a live action movie being negotiated but I am not sure where any of that of that is going. But the 26 original episodes are classics and have been released on DVD with some extras. In this post I present a couple of those extras and in my next post I will give you a matinee feature of the Double Danger episode I just introduced. Also in this post I am giving a list of all the 26 episodes with titles and brief description. I did not compile these and got the list from this page at Animated Views. Lots of good stuff on the net and some of the best related to the original and classic shows can be found at this Classic Jonny Quest fan site. And yes, I am old enough to remember seeing the original episodes on an old b/w TV. There are some perks to being over fifty.







1)    Mystery Of The Lizard Men – A mystery involving missing ships brings the group to the Sargasso Sea to face laser guns and “lizard men”.

2)    Arctic Splashdown – A deflected missile lands in the frozen wasteland, and the race is on to recover it.

3)    The Curse Of Anubis – An Arab chieftain lures the Quest team to Egypt to use them in a plot to unite his people and become their leader. Before the story ends, a mummy will walk again.

4)    Pursuit Of The Po-Ho – Dr. Quest goes into the jungle to save a friend kidnapped by natives, and finds himself captured.

5)    Riddle Of The Gold – This tale has a trip to India and the first appearance of Quest nemesis Dr. Zin, in a story involving a process to create gold.

6)    Treasure Of The Temple – An ancient Mayan city holds the promise of a lost treasure.

7)    Calcutta Adventure – This flashback episode is the “origin” of how Hadji joined the Quest team.

8)    The Robot Spy – In perhaps the series’ most popular episode, Dr. Zin uses an arachnid-like robot to gain the secret of Dr. Quest’s new ray gun.

9)    Double Danger – Dr. Zin and Dr. Quest compete to find a rare plant in Thailand. Race’s old flame, Jezebel Jade, also arrives on the scene to help determine that Race is not who he appears be. This was actually the first episode produced, which explains its weaker animation. One can tell that the Hanna-Barbera animators initially struggled with the more realistic drawing style. Despite improving greatly over the next few episodes, this awkwardness would show up again years later in Super Friends.

10)    Shadow Of The Condor – A forced landing in the Andes leads to a meeting with a baron who flew in World War I , and his mute servant. A conflict is decided in an air duel.

11)    Skull And Double-Crossbones – Modern-day pirates overpower a Quest expedition and force Jonny to dive for treasure.

12)    The Dreadful Doll – Voodoo and a secret submarine base figure into this mystery.

13)    A Small Matter Of Pygmies – Another forced landing, this time in a jungle, finds the group chased by pygmies.

14)    The Dragons Of Ashida – An insane zoologist and his giant reptiles trap the Quest team on a small island.

15)    Turu The Terrible – A search for a special metal leads instead to the discovery of a flying dinosaur controlled by a wheelchair-bound schemer.
16)    The Fraudulent Volcano – Dr. Quest unintentionally comes into conflict with Dr. Zin, who is using a volcano as a testing ground for a new weapon.

17)    The Werewolf Of The Timberland – French-Canadians and a wolfman figure in this mystery of smuggled gold.

18)    Pirates From Below – Criminals attempt to steal another of Dr. Quest’s inventions.

19)    Attack Of The Tree People – The boys and Bandit survive a boat fire and come ashore an island, then require the assistance of apes to thwart some would-be kidnappers.

20)    The Invisible Monster – A colleague of Dr. Quest disappears after accidentally creating an energy creature.

21)    The Devil’s Tower – You just cannot beat an episode with a mile-high mountain, Nazis, and aborigines who speak German.

22)    The Quetong Missile Mystery – Poisoned swamp fish, a General Fong, and a secret missile enter into this story.

23)    The House Of Seven Gargoyles – Gravity reversal, a dwarf, a submarine, and a glacier— this is a shopping list for a typically exciting Jonny Quest episode.

24)    Terror Island – Dr. Quest is kidnapped in Hong Kong, and Race must ask Jade for help in locating him.

25)    Monster In The Monastery – Jonny meets monks in Nepal threatened by Abominable Snowmen.

26)    The Sea Haunt – A sea monster seems to have a taste for treasure.the Smith Conan comics for marvel I will get working on that.


Posted in Adventure-Action, Matinee, Science Fiction-Fantasy on September 22, 2011 by Bill Courtney

Adventure! Mystery! Excitement!

A world beyond imagination! Adventure beyond belief!




Posted in Adventure-Action, Bomba, Ford Beebe, Johnny Sheffield, Johnny Weissmuller, Kings and Queens of the Jungle, Lita Baron, Monogram Pictures, Tarzan on September 14, 2011 by Bill Courtney


949/Director: Ford Beebe/Writers: Ford Beebe, Roy Rockwood
Cast: Johnny Sheffield, Allene Roberts, Lita Baron, Charles Irwin, Harry Lewis
When it comes down to the end of the day and I am not sure what to pop into the DVD player there are few genres that I know will appeal to me like good old school jungle adventure. The only type of movie that comes close are sword and sandal/peplum films. I know they will be low budget and cheesy as hell but I also know I am going to get something out of the movie even after multiple viewings. This may be in part due the fact that I grew up on these movies as a kid on Saturday afternoon TV shows. I am sure I have seen all of the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films a half a dozen times or more in life. Only recently I have I begun to seriously consider other actors –like Lex Barker and Gordon Scott- as viable Tarzans even, and I am just referring to films made before, lets say, 1970 only. After that jungle movies just lost their appeal to me. Some of this, I think, is due to the fact that later jungle films all become shot outside studios, on location so to say, though all the jungles began to look like somewhere in the US more than Africa by then. I loved the old studio jungle sets and matte paintings and even how stock footage was mixed into the shots. Only recently did I get the Jungle Jim series and have seen most of them and have begun posting them here. A little harder to track down are the Bomba the Jungle Boys films starring Boy from the Tarzan films himself, Johnny Sheffield. I do have three of the films finally; Bomba on Panther Island, The Lost Volcano and Bomba and the Lost city, numbers 2, 3 and 4 respectively in the dozen film series put out by Monogram Pictures.

By the time the next to last  Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan film, Tarzan and the Huntress,  came out in 1947 Sheffield just was not boyish enough to be boy any longer and he left the movie series to complete high school. Actually I am not sure if he left or was asked to leave by producer Sol Lessor, but in any case the then RKO produced Weissmuller Tarzan films were about over and Weissmuller would go on to do the Jungle Jim films for Columbia Pictures. A young and buff Sheffield was soon snatched up in 1949 by Monogram producer Walter Mirisch to play Bomba the Jungle which was to be loosely based on the paperback series by Roy Rockwood – a pen name used by Stratemeyer Syndicate and used by several writers I assume- but seemed to be more an extension of the Tarzan series and of Sheffield’s boy role. Like any good jungle movie the hero was white, had been lost in the jungle as a baby and raised by animals, learns English somehow but speaks haltingly with few prepositions or articles and has become a legend among the superstitious natives in the African jungle. Bomba is young and full of innocent curiosity, not as cynical as Tarzan yet. Sheffield is in great shape and his Bomba prefers a spear to a knife. Like Tarzan he is curious about white men (‘other’ white men of course. Even in the Jungle Jim series Jim is always referring to ‘white men’ as something other than himself, as though he were closer to local natives he routinely beats the shit out of) and more trusting but uncompromising in his respect for the laws and ways of the jungle he grew up in. And like any good jungle movie the film is loaded with bad bwanas who want to exploit the jungle and its inhabitants in pursuit of lost treasures or untapped resources.

And so is the case in Bomba on Panther Island where our loin cloth clad young hero must not only  track down a murderous black panther that kills his pet monkey at the beginning of the show but must deal with unscrupulous bwanas who want to exploit the jungle to build a plantation. Actually the bwanas in this is not really too evil. Robert Maitland (Harry Lewis) just wants to set up the plantation as a way for him and his sister Judy (Allene Roberts) to have a sort of future. Judy pines for the big city lights of America and spends her time grumbling about how boring Africa is. The other white guy is some old geezer named Andy (Charles Irwin) who has all sorts of wisdom since he is old and is always slamming Harry with some of that old guy insight. Also hanging out at the plantation is the sultry and flirtatious French house girl Losana (played by Lita Baron who was in the first Jungle Jim and that was reviewed here and I made some comments about her dance sequence rivaling Tandra Quinn’s  dance as Tarantella in Mesa of Lost Women as one of the worst ever in b-movie history) who starts making moves on shy Bomba from the get go. A sort of romance triangle develops between Bomba and the two girls who compete for his attention but Bomba ain’t having none of it as he would rather watch wrestling matches between water buffalos and crocodiles in his free time. And I am serious, there is some stock footage of a fight between a water buffalo and a crocodile in this one. All the while poor Robert Maitland is having a heck of time getting the superstitious natives to finish any of their work and they blame the recent spat of panther attacks on his desecration of sacred forest land for his blasted plantation. If it wasn’t for ol’ Andy sounding like Will Rodgers every other scene Robert would probably chuck the whole thing and head back the big city with July.

And it should come as no surprise that in the end Bomba gets revenge upon the panther for killing his monkey –and a few natives- and no one has sex though the two gals are pretty much primed for a ménage à trios with Bomba. In the end Robert about has had it with it all but suddenly July changes her mind abut the jungle life and Andy waxes philosophically and he decides to stay and deal with the army ants and man eating panthers and find a suitable life for himself and his sister in the middle of a sweltering living hell. Bomba strolls off with his spear to ore adventures. Fans of jungle films who have never seen a Bomba movie will be in for a real treat with this one and people who hate the genre will not be converted. If you are going spend the whole 70 or minutes looking for ‘racist’ stereotypes’ and deriding the film as something beneath you then probably this is not for you. But if you like white guys (and sometimes gals) raised by chimps and speaking in monosyllables and not fearing to tread to places that send natives scurrying the opposite direction then Bomba on Panther Island is for you.


Posted in Adventure-Action, Johnny Weissmuller, Jungle Jim, Kings and Queens of the Jungle, Lita Baron, Sam Katzman, Tarzan on September 4, 2011 by Bill Courtney
I have almost all of the Jungle Jim series, or sixteen movies, with Johnny Weissmuller expect for one episode which right now I forget the title of. The films are basically God awful on the most basic level and yet charming and lots of fun on another. You cannot really deny the cheesiness of the productions or Weissmuller’s sour expression in most scenes. Nor can you ignore Weissmuller’s obvious lack of acting skills as he misses dialog cues and tends to stand around and stare blankly at what is going on around him. That is not to say that what is happening around our bemused hero requires all that much concentration on our part and the stories are often the same plot done over from episode to episode. People who hate bad movies will want to steer clear of the entire series but if you’re like me and love to lay back and watch a film full of stock footage and Neanderthal level dialog then you will want to try to check some of these out. The films do plod along more than Weissmuller’s Tarzan films, even the latter Tarzan films like Tarzan and the Mermaids. As far as I know Tarzan and Jungle Jim were the only roles Weissmuller ever played.
This series of posts will introduce three of the films at a time with a bit of a review, screen captures and poster art and any trivia I can dig up online, but that is not much really. There is a little information but it is sorely wanting. Maybe my humble effort here can generate a little interest in the series amongst B-movie mavens. If you have never seen a Jungle Jim feature the best way to describe one is that Weissmuller’s Tarzan got a little older and fatter and was offered a job as a tour guide or game warden or something. Jim still has animal buddies that include a couple chimps, a little mutt and a crow named Caw Caw. More info on the other animals later since there are some changes that occur over the series. In fact Caw Caw does not even last that long and by the 4th or 5th Jungle Jim movie (can’t remember exactly) Caw Caw only appears a stuffed bird mounted and wobbling on Jim’s shoulder. The dog –whose name escapes me at the moment but I will be watching the films over before I do the review and provide you with all that priceless information- just vanishes from the stories without explanation and soon there is only Tamba the chimp whose behavior makes Cheetah look down right saintly. Seems as if the chimp’s name changes too in the series but I forget the second chimp’s name. Kimba maybe. If that is not confusing enough Jungle Jim actually changes his name in the last few episodes from Jungle Jim to -are you ready for this- Johnny Weissmuller! Man was I confused. This change was due to some legal issues and ownership of the name after the films became a television series starring Weissmuller. The Jungle Jim series was also produced, as the latter Tarzan films, by Sam Katzamn and we will explore Katzman at a later date.
Before taking at look at our first three Jungle Jim films there are a few recurring themes or situations in each film and I will expound on some of these in later posts:

  • As in the Tarzan films the threat almost always come from evil, white men out to exploit either the natural resources or the secret treasures of a local or lost tribe. The men, often called Bwanas, seem to always have Pith helmets and slim little, Clark Gable style mustaches.
  • At the end of most Jungle Jim films Tamba alone or with another animal does some stupid action that has Jim and the rest of the cast bursting out in riotous laughter. Typically the gags are so hokey the more reasonable response would be to hurl a rock up along side the monkey’s head.
  • There is never any romantic interests for poor, lonely Jim. Maybe he does not make that much as a tour guide. Or maybe it is his gruff, standoffish personality. Typically when he first meets a woman in the series he exudes nothing but a chauvinistic attitude as if a woman has no business in the jungle doing manly things like him.
  • Animals from everywhere in the world outside Africa appear on the continent. This includes orangutans, water buffalo from southeast Asia, tigers, North American raccoons, toucans from South America and on and on.
  • The series is totally inaccurate and all but flat racist -by today’s standards- in the way ‘natives’ are represented, and in particular the way black Africans are represented. Most of the natives appear to be more Polynesian than anything else. They are all basically white. Any tribe that is advanced is white in any case. All lost civilizations with an advanced almost Roman or Grecian cultures are white. Any tribes that are cannibals or head hunters and who can speak no English are black. Even a tribe of pygmies are shown to be white and speaking broken English. Yes, a tribe of white pygmies.
  •  Even if the people in the film wear uniforms and Fez hates from Morocco and have guns they are referred to as ‘natives’. It would seen then that unless you’re from North America or Northern Europe you are a “native”.
  • All strange tribes where the people look white can speak English but they exclude all articles and prepositions in their sentences. 
  • The real threat to wild life is Jim himself and he kills at least four or five endangered species in each episode, always with a knife except for one time where he uses a gun.
  • Jim will swim in almost every episode. Of course Weissmuller was an Olympic swimming champ and this was his ticket to stardom. To see Weissmuller sans shirt and swimming reminds us of a time when flaunting man boobs was not something that guaranteed revulsion on the part of the opposite sex. The good ol’days


1948/Director: William Berke/Writer: Caroll Young
Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Virginia Grey, George Reeves, Lita Baron
The first Jungle Jim feature has out hero Jim Bradley helping the studious Dr. Hilary Parker (Virginia Grey) with a trek into the remote jungles of darkest Africa to the hidden temple of Zimbalu on a quest for a cure for polio, which still ravaged the world in 1948. We know Dr. Parker is the studious type because she wears big, think librarian type glasses and is always typing away at something. Jim kills his first animal of the film series, a leopard, at about four minutes into the movie and the carnage never lets up for the next fifteen episodes. He kills his next animal, a crocodile, at about 20 minutes in the movie, rescuing the bookwormish Dr. Parker of course. In a turn he actually uses a pistol here. Jim takes a break and does not kill another animal until about fifty minutes into the show and what the hell kind of an animal it is I have no clue. Some crypto-zoological nightmare! I think it is supposed to be a crocodile but when it surfaces it looks like some sort of alien mutant that uses it tail like it is an octopus tentacle. It is one thing to relocate animals from other continents to Africa but another to create entirely new species. I tried to get a screen capture of it below. Maybe the filmmakers just did not want Jim to kill off two crocs in one show.
There is as usual no sparks between Jim and Hilary but he does give her a nod when he is impressed with her swan dive. Along the way we meet the jungle girl Zia (Lita Baron) who does a dance that is so awkward and embarrassing to witness that it makes Tarantella’s missteps in Mesa of Lost Women look like some high form of Russian ballet. Who needs a choreographer when you have Tamba the chimp to teach the dance routines I guess. The evil photographer Bruce Edwards is played by none other than a pre-Superman Georges Reeves. He plays a pretty decent bad guy and is the stereo-typed greedy white guy that appears in almost all jungle movies where there is a good white guy like Tarzan, Jungle Jim or Bomba the Jungle Boy. The people running the temple Zimbalu temple are grunting savages who all but have bones running through their noses and so are of a darker skin tone than our more sophisticated heroes and villains. Of course they have no idea what a camera is and think it is magic allowing our villain to manipulate them by capturing their souls or something.
It does not seem that Weissmuller –who was Hungarian and not a native English speaker- is able to do much more speaking than he did as Tarzan and he tends to be monosyllabic –with some improvement in the areas of articles, prepositions and verb tenses from the Tarzan days- and he appears dazed most of the time. I get a big kick out of the opening credits of the early Jungle Jim films where Weissmuller glances back over his shoulder in what is supposed to be alertness but comes off more like the look of someone who just got caught shoplifting. The opening credits for this film are a little different but still show a confused Jungle Jim staggering out of the jungle which was actually the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi California. Of course at the end Jim winds up killing most of the natives with his bare hands and throws a few into the sacrificial fire. He is set loose my Caw Caw and in most episodes he is freed from the captivity of the bad guys by one of his animal buddies. In later shows we have to witness some sort of gag pulled by Tamba or Kimba and some other animal but the first couple episodes lacked this sort of trademark ending that most of the films have.


1949/Director: William Berke/Writer: Arthur Hoerl
Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Myrna Dell, Elena Verdugo, Joseph Vitale, Ralph Dunn, George J. Lewis, Nelson Leigh
The second Jungle Jim feature shows a bit more promise than did the first one as film number one was a test film actually. Sam Katzman had made clear in his contract with Weissmuller that the former Tarzan star’s first Jungle Jim film would have to turn a profit or the deal was off. Luckily for Weissmuller and posterities bad film lovers the first film was enough of a success with the Saturday matinee kiddie crowd that a follow up was made. The Lost Tribe takes off in a direction that most subsequent Jungle Jim’s would follow and that was Jim saving a secret or lost tribe of white people from greedy white guys out to loot it of some treasure or exploitable commodity. The people of the lost city of Dzamm look more like the survivors of Atlantis than any tribe that has ever existed in Africa or any other continent. Jim also wastes little time in killing off wildlife in this film. At about five minutes he rescues Skipper the mutt from a crocodile using nothing more than a knife he keeps strapped to his side. After killing a croc with a pistol in the first film Jim relinquishes guns for the rest of the series and relies on a knife the way Tarzan did only Jim kills a lot more animals. In fact this croc looks like the same rubber one Weissmuller killed off in many a Tarzan film. At about twenty five minutes into the feature Jim rescues a man in a gorilla suit with a real baby chimp hanging from his back from a lion. The action is viewed by a couple orangutans that seem to have gotten lost from the island of Borneo. At about thirty three minutes Jim attacks and kills a shark! At fifty five minutes he whoops another shark’s tail fin but does not kill it. In fact it looks like the same footage used over from the first shark scene. As well as lost orangutans there is a North American raccoon at the beginning of the film playing with Skipper and a huge Southeast Asian water buffalo at another point and a toucan flew all the way from Panama to be a scene.
Jim gets himself tied on a cargo ship up and beaten by the evil white guys not once but twice! Caw Caw the crow must have felt it was a real waste of time to free him the first time. A bad guy plays one of those games where he throws knives at the native girl –dressed in a Hawaiian style skirt that many African tribal girls wear in the Jim films- and gets closer and closer each time and so Jim feels compelled to break his promise not to show outsiders the lost city. Not to worry since at the end a big hand to hand combat sequence breaks out and the gorilla that Jim rescued earlier in the film shows up with some of her friends and helps to beat the tar out of the bad bwanas.
The film is shot a little better than the first feature and is still packed with loads of grainy, mismatched stock footage, like a scene of stampeding monkeys that shows up in a few Jim films I think. Weissmuller seems to be settling in to his new role now but the poor guy simply can’t act. In one scene he misses his dialog cue and almost begins talking too soon but stops and waits for the other actor –Nelson Leigh as the king of Dzamm, Zoron – to finish his line first then continues in what must have been an awkward moment. B-movie director William Berke –who would do many of the Jungle Jim films- seems a little more relaxed this time around as well and some shots are not really that bad. Some of the fight scenes on the ship have an obvious double for Weissmuller is slow and sluggish most of the time but in those days usually a fight ended after one good solid blow to the jaw. The tone for all the following Jungle Jim movies seems to have been set in these first two films with some minor variations. From film to film the plot will always be about the same though the next film does feature a another special ingredient of the old jungle adventures: the white Jungle girl, and that film is called Captive Girl. Lets have a peek at that one now.


1950/Director: William Berke/Writer: Caroll Young
Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, Anita Lhoest, Rick Vallin, John Dehner
The third Jungle Jim film kicks the camp into high gear from the get go with a shot of The Wild Girl of lake Bokonji standing over what is obviously a man made pond at the well maintained Ray Corrigan Ranch where much of the Jungle Jim wild Africa scenes were shot. Joan Martindale, aka the Wild Girl or the White witch by the tribe of bad guys, is played by swimming champion Anita Lhoest in what would be her only film role. Also in the film is another swimming champ and star of many b-films as well as the Flash Gordon serial Buster Crabbe as the bad guy. Of course Crabbe is after is after yet more hidden treasure of a yet another lost tribe. All of these lost tribes seem to be within walking distance of where ever Jungle Jim Bradley calls home. Hakim is the evil witch doctor and is a white actor (John Dehner) with something like shoe polish all over his face. The treasure is at the bottom of the Lagoon of the Dead next to the witch doctor’s village and Hakim is also responsible for the death’s of Joan’s parents after they were lost in the jungles years before. Skipper the mutt and Caw Caw the crow are back as is Tamba the annoying chimp. Weissmuller tried his hand at some longer stretches of dialog here and there and does a bit better than in the first two films.
Some of the natives again look Polynesian and communicate by conga drums. Caw Caw in most scenes is now a stuffed bird on Jim’s shoulder. The Wild Girl is accompanied by her companion a rare African Tiger! We witness stock footage of a tiger fighting a Southeast Asian water buffalo. We also are treated at the end of the film to that monkey stampede stock footage I talked about last movie. We also treated, if you want to call it that, to repeated shots of the Wild Girl peering out over the pond, the same scene from the beginning. Jim kills a croc at about twenty one minutes into the movie and that is the only animal killed in this film though he does fight a tiger. This film is also the first of the series where the ending has something to with Tamba the chimp –and later Kimba- doing something really stupid and everybody busts out laughing. Most of the future films would end like this. The jungle girls has lived since childhood in the wilds of untamed Africa but manages to get her hair bleached regularly and keep herself in mascara and lipstick.
Buster Crabbe is pretty decent as the bad guy but by this third episode you have basically seen every Jungle Jim movie that will ever be made in terms of basic story line. Some parts are pretty fun, like watching the Wild Girl trying to speak English with Jim and not being able to tell whose English is worse. Lots of scenes of Tamba hugging Skipper and watching some stock footage of animal fights, like one between a tiger and a black panther. Jim’s buddy in this film wear a turban and looks like a fortune teller in a sideshow. If you are watching the films from first to last you may want to give up now but I encourage you to hang in there and finish them all as they do actually get more unbelievable as they go along.