DARK JUNGLE THEATER (2015-2016): MOVIE HOST SHOW

dark jungle theaterHere at Balladeer’s Blog my fascination with Movie Host shows of the past and present is pretty well established. I’ve written about such programs from the 1950s onward. Not long ago I covered “the Mexican MST3K” – A Platicar a su Casa, which has been translated into English as Let’s Talk at HomeDo Your Talking at Home and similar titles.

The Movie Host show being examined this time around is Dark Jungle Theater, which lasted for 2 seasons consisting of 26 episodes from March 15th, 2015 to January 8th, 2016. Dark Jungle Theater was hosted by Omaka Omegah as Princess Omaka, an African aristocrat who hosted and offered commentary on many jungle-themed movies and serials of the past.

princess omakaThis program was created, written and produced by Joel Stephens, famous for his many Movie Host programs that combine assorted old movies, cartoons and serials with the tradition of attractive female hosts introducing and commenting upon such superannuated programming. Similar Movie Host shows from Stephens include Frightmare Theater, Six Gun Theater, Mobster Theater, Your Afternoon Movie and others.

princess omaka againGetting back to Dark Jungle Theater, here is an overview:

SEASON ONE: Princess Omaka hosted 13 jungle-themed flicks with 12 of them preceded by 1 episode each from the old Republic serial Panther Girl of the Kongo (1955).

EPISODE 1 – Panther Girl of the Kongo, Chapter One: The Claw Monster – Phyllis Coates, famous for playing Lois Lane, was the titular Panther Girl, Jean Evans, who swung from vines, rode elephants and communicated with the animals in Tarzan style. This chapter finds her facing a giant crayfish monster. B-Movie regular Myron Healey co-stars.

              tarz green goMovie: Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938) – Herman Brix (Bruce Bennett) starred as Tarzan in a hunt through the Guatemalan jungle for the Green Goddess, a totem inside which a top secret formula was concealed. 

EPISODE 2 – Panther Girl of the Kongo, Chapter Two: Jungle Ambush – The Panther Girl continues facing giant crayfish and the mad scientist creator, who wants to drive people away from that part of the jungle so he can have a diamond mine to himself.

              Movie: The Bride of the Gorilla (1951) – Raymond Burr, Lon Chaney Jr, Barbara Payton, Tom Conway and Woody Strode star in this Bad Movie classic about a jungle plantation owner who marries a beautiful woman before getting cursed to transform into a gorilla.

EPISODE 3 – PGOTK Chapter Three: The Killer Beast – The serial continues in this production which featured actors of color like Morris Buchanan, Roy Glenn, Archie Savage and DeForest Covan.

              nabongaMovie: Nabonga (1944) – Starring Buster Crabbe, Julie London and Ray “Crash” Corrigan in the gorilla costume as Nabongo. A man trails the embezzler who framed his father to the African jungle. The embezzler’s daughter still has the stolen funds, which she and her gorilla guardian Nabonga insist on keeping. 

EPISODE 4 – PGOTK Chapter Four: Sands of Doom

              Movie: Queen of the Amazons (1947) – Patricia Morison, Amira Moustafa, Cay Forester and Robert Lowery star, along with actors of color Darby Jones and Hassan Khayyam. Jean Preston courageously leads an expedition into the jungles of India and Africa in search of her missing fiance who has been claimed by an Amazon Queen.       

EPISODE 5 – PGOTK Chapter Five: Test of Terror.   

              law of the jungleMovie: Law of the Jungle (1942) – Arline Judge stars as a singer in a club in British Rhodesia who gets mixed up with foreign spies trying to incite an uprising. She is aided against the spies by a guide played by John King. Mantan Moreland and Blue Washington also star.    

EPISODE 6 – PGOTK Chapter Six: High Peril

              Movie: Africa Screams (1949) – Comedy team Abbott and Costello co-star with lion tamer Clyde Beatty and big game hunter Frank “Bring ’em Back Alive” Buck. Bill Walker and Martin Wilkins also appear. Bud and Lou wind up searching for diamonds in Africa.     

EPISODE 7 – PGOTK Chapter Seven: Double Trap.

              white pongoMovie: White Pongo (1945) – A jungle expedition searches for a white-furred gorilla called White Pongo (Ray “Crash” Corrigan in another costume), and that gorilla winds up fighting another primate over Pamela Bragdon (Maris Wrixon). Joel Fluellen plays a character named Mumbo Jumbo in typical Hollywood racism.     

EPISODE 8 – PGOTK Chapter Eight: Crater of Flame.

              Movie: Tarzan’s Revenge (1938) – Glenn Morris, Eleanor Holm, THE Hedda Hopper and Blue Washington star. Tarzan rescues a woman from jungle beasts, quicksand and Muslim slavers who want to add her to their master’s harem.

EPISODE 9 – PGOTK Chapter Nine: River of Death.

              terror of the bloodhuntersMovie: Terror of the Bloodhunters (1962) – Bad movie legend Jerry Warren wrote and directed this film about a man (Robert Clarke) who escapes from prison and flees into the jungles of South America, where he faces assorted menaces. Dorothy Haney and Steve Conti costar. 

EPISODE 10 – PGOTK Chapter Ten: Blasted Evidence.

              Movie: The White Gorilla (1945) – Ray “Crash” Corrigan starred as Steve Collins AND the White Gorilla. Lorraine Miller and Will Herman costar in this mishmash of footage from other films which is passed off as the story of a white gorilla who is ostracized because of his color, so he rampages against other gorillas as well as humans. 

EPISODE 11 – PGOTK Chapter Eleven: Double Danger.

              perils of the jungleMovie: Perils of the Jungle (1953) – Lion tamer Clyde Beatty starred as himself in this jungle adventure in which he hunts for black-maned lions, saves Phyllis Coates as a struggling circus owner AND clashes with a man stealing gold from an African tribe. Joel Fluellen, Roy Glenn and Shelby Bacon also appear. 

EPISODE 12 – PGOTK Chapter Twelve: House of Doom (final chapter).

              Movie: The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) – Bruce Bennett and Dale Walsh are the male and female leads in a tale of Tarzan searching for a man whose plane crashed in the jungles of South America.

EPISODE 13 – Movie: King Solomon’s Mines (1937) – Paul Robeson plays Umbopa and Cedric Hardwicke portrays Allan Quatermain in this adaptation of the H. Rider Haggard novel. Quatermain and his guide Umbopa set off on a quest to restore the African to his rightful throne and find the father of a beautiful woman. The latter disappeared while searching for the mines of King Solomon.     

djtSEASON TWO: Princess Omaka once again hosted 13 jungle-themed flicks with 12 of them preceded by 1 episode each from the old Republic serial Jungle Drums of Africa (1953). 

EPISODE 1 – Jungle Drums of Africa Chapter One: Jungle Ambush – Clayton “Lone Ranger” Moore and Phyllis “Lois Lane” Coates star as an American uranium mining rep and a female medical missionary who try to keep a bounteous uranium deposit out of the hands of the Soviets.

              Movie: Jungle Bride (1933) – Anita Page, Charles Starrett and Kenneth Thomson star in this melodrama about a woman who wants to clear her brother of a murder charge by having her fiance accompany her on a manhunt for the real killer in the South American jungles. Also with Roy Glenn and Bill Walker.  

EPISODE 2 – Jungle Drums of Africa Chapter Two: Savage Strategy – The serial continues with this story that also starred actors of color like Bill Walker, Roy Glenn, Joel Fluellen, Davis Roberts and DeForest Covan.

              she gods of shark reefMovie: She Gods of Shark Reef (1958) – The legendary Roger Corman was behind this flick about two men fleeing a murder charge who wind up on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The island is inhabited by beautiful female pearl divers who have compiled an enormous collection of the precious items. Starring Bill Cord, Don Durant, Ed Nelson, Lisa Montell, Jeanne Gerson, Carol Lindsay and Beverly Rivera.   

EPISODE 3 – JDOA Chapter Three: The Beast Fiend.   

              Movie: The Gorilla (1939) – Bela Lugosi, Anita Louise and the Ritz Brothers starred in this flick about a real gorilla and a serial killer called the Gorilla on the loose in a mansion. A Bad Movie classic because of how relentlessly unfunny the Ritz Brothers are to most modern viewers.

EPISODE 4 – JDOA Chapter Four: Voodoo Vengeance.

              pr omMovie: A second showing of the film Perils of the Jungle (1953) – Lion tamer Clyde Beatty starred as himself in this jungle adventure in which he hunts for black-maned lions, saves Phyllis Coates as a struggling circus owner AND clashes with a man stealing gold from an African tribe. Joel Fluellen, Roy Glenn and Shelby Bacon also appear. 

EPISODE 5 – JDOA Chapter Five: The Lion Pit.

              Movie: The Savage Girl (1932) – Rochelle Hudson and Walter Byron were the male and female leads in this movie about a long-lost white woman who became a jungle queen in a leopard fur bikini. An expedition in search of animals for a circus tries to abduct the woman, who is protected by a gorilla. 

EPISODE 6 – JDOA Chapter Six: Underground Tornado.

              island captivesMovie: Island Captives (1937) – A woman whose father was murdered winds up stranded on an uncharted South Pacific island with the son of the man who killed her father. The pair join forces against a smuggling ring whose headquarters is on the island. Comment: The premise of a man and woman stuck on an island having to kick criminal butt should have been the basis for an early Die Hard sequel with Bruce Willis and Bonnie Bedelia. (“We’ll take a cruise to the South Pacific for Christmas, we’ll have a few laughs.”)   

EPISODE 7 – JDOA Chapter Seven: Cavern of Doom

              Movie: Jungle Siren (1942) – Buster Crabbe and Ann Corio star in this movie about yet another jungle queen, with this one helping an American soldier fight Nazis in the jungle.   

EPISODE 8 – JDOA Chapter Eight: The Water Trap.

              beyond bengalMovie: Beyond Bengal (1934) – Harry Schenk and his porters go into the Malayan jungle to shoot just about everything that moves AND to get mauled by assorted jungle beasts. Weird, weird movie. 

EPISODE 9 – JDOA Chapter Nine: Trail to Destruction

              Movie: Tarzan and the Trappers (1960) – Gordon Scott and Eve Brent star in this failed pilot for a new Tarzan television series (three episodes were edited into this “movie”). Cheta and Boy are along for the ride as the Lord of the Jungle battles a bloodthirsty hunter and his brother.   

EPISODE 10 – JDOA Chapter Ten: The Flaming Ring.

              Movie: Horrors of Spider Island (1960) – In this West German film a planeload of show girls and their pimp-ish boss crash land on an island where a mad scientist created a large mutant spider whose bite turns the boss into a man-spider.   

EPISODE 11 – JDOA Chapter Eleven: Bridge of Death.

trz rev              Movie: Second showing of Tarzan’s Revenge (1938) – Glenn Morris, Eleanor Holm, THE Hedda Hopper and Blue Washington star. Tarzan rescues a woman from jungle beasts, quicksand and Muslim slavers who want to add her to their master’s harem.   

EPISODE 12 – JDOA Chapter Twelve: The Avenging River. (Final chapter.) 

              Movie: Tiger Fangs (1943) – Big game hunter Frank “Bring ’em Back Alive” Buck stars as himself with Duncan Renaldo and June Duprez in supporting roles as the romantic leads. Frank and company battle Nazis and the Imperial Japanese in Malaya to prevent the Axis nations from seizing vital rubber supplies. 

EPISODE 13 – Movie: Tarzan the Fearless (1933) – Buster Crabbe IS Tarzan, with Julie Bishop as the female lead in this edited down, feature film version of the 1933 serial of the same title. Sadly, this was the last episode of Dark Jungle Theater.   

FOR MY REVIEW OF LARAINE NEWMAN’S CANNED FILM FESTIVAL CLICK HERE

8 Comments

Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television, Movie Hosts

8 responses to “DARK JUNGLE THEATER (2015-2016): MOVIE HOST SHOW

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