THREE Jungle Jim films have been shown today Saturday 6th December 2014. The thing that struck me was just how good the film quality was and also the production values were much better that I had thought they might be – in fact they were good !!
First film on was Jungle Moon Men 1955.
Although really a Jungle Jim film in this later one Johnny Weissmuller actually plays himself as just Johnny.
The reason for this was that the last three films were produced concurrently with the “Jungle Jim” TV series also starring Johnny Weissmuller – who else could it possibly be – by Columbia’s Screen Gems and that TV series had the rights to “Jungle Jim.” (The “Weissmuller” jungle character was otherwise indistinguishable from Jungle Jim, and the final three films are commonly referred to as “Jungle Jim pictures” though that is not technically accurate.)
The plot is the usual greedy white bad men seeking a fortune in diamonds in the jungle. The Moon Men of the films title are a jungle tribe who use as their weapons poisonous blow pipes and are quite scary but they come good right at the end. Quite an enjoyable film it was too.
Then came Jungle Manhunt from 1951.
This film had Bob Warfield a former American Football star – married to Jane Russell – along with Johnny and Sheila Ryan who had been briefly married to Cowboy star Allan “Rocky” Lane.
Jungle Manhunt is a 1951 adventure film In the story, football player Bob Miller (played by real-life footballer Bob Waterfield) gets lost in the jungle and is searched for by a female reporter who teams up with Jungle Jim.
Above with Johnny with Sheila Ryan
They subsequently stumble upon a crazed doctor who has been kidnapping villagers to work in a radioactive mine, where he has discovered a way of making diamonds out of mineral rocks
and the last of the THREE today was Jungle Man-Eaters 1955.
This also starred Karin Booth and was 68 minutes of action where we see among other things Jungle Jim dive off a pier into the sea and swim out to a cargo ship anchored off shore – which is up to no good of course.
Swimming back from the ship he upturns a boat carrying two of the men who are attempting to hunt him down – and there follows some quite impressive underwater scenes.
The Jungle Jim films were mainly made at Corriganville which was named after its owner Ray “Crash” Corrigan former actor and stuntman.
What was the Robin Hood Lake here has been recently renamed Jungle Jim Lake, and has a Stunt Rock from which Johnny Weissmuller dived into the water. To allow for underwater photography, a camera house complete with window was built at one end. This camera house hidden under a bridge was a contribution of Sam Katzman of Columbia Pictures. It was undoubtedly cheaper than building a swimming tank on a sound stage. All the underwater sequences were shot here. The lake may have existed as early as 1938, and the Rock’s first recorded use was in 1943.
The first photo is Stunt Rock as seen in 1991; the second is a side view of Stunt Rock. The third photo was taken standing on Stunt Rock, and you can see what remains of the camera housing from which the underwater scenes of the Jungle Jim films were taken. And the fourth photo shows a space between a tree and a huge rock which was often used to simulate the entrance to a valley.
There was also a fake cave entrance built on the property, frequently used in the Jungle Jim films. It was first noticed in the filming of the serial Jungle Girl.
The Fake Cave seen June 1999. The right side had originally been built up with plaster and cement, but disintegrated over the years. This is all that remains today. It appeared in Jungle Manhunt and Killer Ape, but not in Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land as the sign in the park states.
Next on the list of frequently used sites was Baldwin’s Lake at the Arboretum in Arcadia. Here stood the Commissioner’s quarters and the famous bent palm from which Weissmuller spearfishes in Mark of the Gorilla. Johnny Sheffield often swam here as well, not only in the RKO Tarzan films, but in several of the Bomba movies as well, and he describes the water as “raunchy.”
All interior shots were done on one of Katzman’s sound stages on the Gower Street lot.
Of the remaining locations, the following can be noted. The coastal settlement in The Lost Tribe, was lensed at Portuguese Bend. The rocky terrain seen in Mark of the Gorilla suggests Bronson Canyon , and the mountain and desert scenes in Fury of the Congo were photographed at the famous Vasquez Rocks, known for the slanted rock formations. The long shot views of the rapids in Jungle Manhunt were probably shot at Kernville, since that is the closest source of white water to
Jungle Jim Pool
The signs at the regional park call this area the Jungle Jim pool. Jungle Jim is the main character in a series of action films (1948-1955) which starred Johnny Weissmuller. Scenes for these films were shot at the Corrigan ranch and in and around this pool.
The artificial pool is concrete lined. The concrete room with windows housed the cameras for underwater filming (seen above). Above the pool is the Jungle Jim Dive Rock. This platform was constructed for easy and attractive looking dives into the pool.
Above: Underwater Camera Location.
Information at the pool states that it was used for a variety of films including the Jungle Jim series, Creature from the Black Lagoon , and The African Queen , perhaps for some of the shots of Humphrey Bogart in the water. The now dry pond was used for boat rides at the amusement park (see below).
Jungle Jim Pool, circa 1960
Jungle Jim Pool, with underwater camera wells [circa 2008]
Jungle Jim Pool [circa 2008]