1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 6 (USA)
26 x 30 minute episodes
Sheena had something for everyone. For kids, it was full of jungle excitement, with wild animals and brave heroes battling the bad guys; for adults, it was so trite it was absolutely hilarious (a cliché-ridden parody on Tarzan) and for boys just entering adolescence – well, Sheena, with her voluptuous figure and skimpy leotard, was something else entirely.
The setting was Kenya, where statuesque Sheena (Irish McCalla) played White Goddess and protector to the beasts and natives. Since she couldn’t manage the Tarzan yell, she carried a hunting horn to ward off danger.
Her pet chimpanzee was named Chim, and Bob (Christian Drake) was her trader friend.
Robbers and interlopers turned up regularly, often capturing Bob, who was always rescued by Sheena.
The series – based on the popular comic strip created by S. M. Iger and Will Eisner in the late 1930s – was shot in Mexico, where some of Sheena’s tree-swinging stunts were actually performed by men in wigs.
Irish McCalla made a few B-movies in the late 1950s and early 1960s and then became a successful painter.
The series was revived in 2000 with Gena Lee Nolin in the title role. The show was even sillier than the original and ratings were as skimpy as Sheena’s outfit. Production was shut down halfway through the second season. A 1984 film version starred Charlie’s Angels star, Tanya Roberts.