1 9 5 2 – 1 9 5 4 (USA)
Adults shook their heads at this one, but kids thought it was neat and made Ramar of the Jungle one of the leading children’s adventure shows of the 1950s.
Dr Tom Reynolds (Jon Hall) was the son of missionaries who returned to the jungle as head of a medical-research expedition. There he stayed, tending to the natives as if they were little children and fighting off at least one real bad guy every episode (poachers, crooks who wanted to steal the opals right off the natives’ idol, etc.).
Ramar, as any under-12-year-old could tell you, meant “White Medicine Man” or “Great White Doctor” or something like that. Ray Montgomery played his companion, Professor Howard Ogden.
The plots and dialogue were pretty primitive but the series was all good, clean fun, with lots of exciting animal shots.
Jon Hall, who knew his juvenile audience, insisted on historical and geographical accuracy (episodes were set in both Africa and India) and no sex. “Kids get smarter every day,” he said. “You can’t fool them even our African dialects are genuine. As for sex, who needs it at their age?”
The series was produced on a rock-bottom budget and, together with the merchandising of pith helmets, games, and other Ramar paraphernalia, made a lot of money for former B-movie actor Hall.
Some of the Ramar TV films were also strung together and released theatrically in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Dr Tom Reynolds (Ramar)
Professor Howard Ogden