In The Adventures Of A Jungle Boy, following a plane crash which kills his family, a young boy finds a new home in the wilds of the East African jungle, helped in his adventures by a pet Cheeta and a doctor who is researching the area.
Filmed on location actually in Africa, this Tarzan cash in was quite a high profile series in the early days of international television. Carr Hartley, who played Jungle Boy, had apparently grown up handling dangerous animals and was a natural in the animal scenes. He would later end up running his own African game reserve.
Most of the plots in the thirteen part series were very Tarzan like and featured JB tangling with hunters, helping missionaries, saving babies and battling with bandits. The chimp involved in the series was called Ninga and most of the guest cast were English and included the likes of Peter Dynely, Patrick Holt, Conrad Phillips, Glynn Davies and even Leonard (The Good Old Days) Sachs.
Original 1957 Publicity material…
“Take a 13-year-old white boy and a cheetah, the fast living creature on four legs, and turn them loose in the African bush. Let them play together, and become involved in the day-to-day problems of survival in the Jungle.
The very idea is fantastic! Many people would never believe that it could happen. Yet this is what had to happen before Jungle Boy could be brought to television audiences. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about this series of 13 half-hour films is the fact that all the animal shots are genuine.
Only one boy in the entire world could have starred in Jungle Boy – Michael Carr Hartley. The star of this series had to be a teenage white boy, with acting ability and outstanding personality. He must know East Africa, its people and its customs. But above all, he must know how to gain the confidence and respect of the animals – from pythons to elephants – and work with them without fear.
Michael has these outstanding qualifications. The other star is ‘Cheetah’, the devoted friend of Jungle Boy. Without them both, this amazing series could not possibly have been made. Michael is the son of a famous animal-handler. He learned from babyhood to gain the confidence of all wild creatures. Viewers will look in vain for ‘tricks’ as Michael plays safely with animals normally considered dangerous. There are no such ‘tricks’ because Michael enjoys the complete trust of his animal friends.
Jungle Boy is quite unspoiled by any ‘trick’ shots. All its scenes are real and have been filmed on the spot in East Africa. There has never a series like it before. It is doubtful whether there will ever be a series like it again. A bold claim but once you have seen ‘Adventures of a Jungle Boy’ you will know it to be true.”
UK / ABC – Gross Krasne – Republic Pictures / 13×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 10 January – 4 April 1959 and made in black and white
Executive Producers: Jack j. Gross, Philip N. Krasne / Producer and Director: George Breakston
MICHAEL CARR HARTLEY as Jungle Boy
RONALD ADAM as Dr Laurence
1. MEET JUNGLE BOY
2. ADOPTION STORY
3. THE DOCTOR MAN
4. CHILD BY THE RIVER
5. BOY AND THE REVEREND
6. JOURNEY UP RIVER
7. YOUNG LOVE
8. DOCTOR’S DILEMMA
9. JUNGLE BOY AND THE DIAMONDS
10. THE BURIAL GROUND
11. THE WAYS OF A WITCH DOCTOR
13. RUNAWAY BOY