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Lord of the Jungle

Lord of the Jungle(1955)

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Lord of the Jungle (1955)

When the series began in 1949 Johnny Sheffield could play 'Bomba the Jungle Boy' as a young teen, but six years later at age 24 he had simply outgrown the role. The last Bomba feature Lord of the Jungle (1955) ends the series without a formal finish. The final storyline is more complex than normal, introducing overt ecological and perhaps political ideas. When destructive 'rogue elephant herd' destroys entire villages Bomba finds himself opposing outsiders Wayne Morris, Paul Picerni and William Phipps, who elect to restore order by wiping out the whole herd, all 100 elephants. They ignore Bomba's suggestion that, because elephants are naturally docile and harmless, they need only kill the renegade leader bull elephant Raju. Bomba takes time out from protecting the animals of Laghaso Station to advise young Mona (Nancy Hale), the niece of series regular Commissioner Barnes (Leonard Mudie) on her problems with her fiancé back home. The Bomba movies employed a number of black actors, often in roles given a measure of respect. This final chapter gives Bomba a native family as friends, with Joel Fluellen as the father Molu, and the admired actress Juanita Moore as his wife.

By Glenn Erickson

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